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What? Air travel so cheap that airlines pay fares

July 25, 2017 Headline News No Comments Email Email

How cheap will air travel become? The chief executive of one low-cost carrier believes flying is destined to become so cheap that airlines will end up paying travellers to fly with them.

Chief executive and founder of WOW Air, Skúli Mogensen, considers that flight pricing is becoming so competitive, airlines eventually will hand out free trips just to get passengers aboard their planes.

Mogensen told Britain’s Daily Telegraph: “In the future we could pay you to fly with us – if you come to us and trust us with your booking, we can see that your airfare is reduced to zero and even reward you for it.”

The secret of the cheaper-than-cheap flights is that the flights would be used as bait, in a similar manner to operators who offer “free” resort stays to consumers – who then spend plenty on airfares.  Mogensen believes that as airlines make more money from tie-ins with car hire and hotel bookings, the flights themselves could be given away free to lure customers in.

Here’s a telling sentence about the development from London’s Sun newspaper, which will rile a few agents: “By rewarding loyal customers with free flights, they would then become a one-stop shop for travel, like the old fashioned travel agencies.”

WOW Air is an Icelandic low-cost carrier headquartered in Reykjavík and based at Keflavík International Airport. It favours purple, for livery, décor and uniforms. Founded in 2011 it first flew in 2012.

WOW’s sole owner is Titan, an investment company owned by Mogensen. In 2012, WOW acquired Iceland Express’s operations and network to several destinations in Europe and North America.

WOW Air has sold transatlantic flights in the UK (via Reykjavík) for as little as GBP 150 (AUD 246). It is not giving flights away yet or paying customers to fly with it, but you never know.

Rival Scandinavian low-cost airline Norwegian has reportedly started handing out free return flights or upgrades to its most frequent flyers, but plenty of carriers already do similar for frequent flyers who amass enough points.

Written by Peter Needham

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