There was an interesting opinion pages piece on the New York Times yesterday “Frequent Fliers, Prepare to Pay More” about airlines goal of offering customized airfares for fliers that LoyaltyLobby reader alerted me. This article is interesting and worth reading. You can access it here.
The goal for the airlines is to recognize the individual traveler before the choice of prizes and possible packages are offered. They will try to implement this via online travel agencies like Expedia etc. too.
The airlines are trying to put lipstick on a pig, but this is ALL about ancillary revenue and price discrimination. Airline may determine that their frequent fliers are willing to pay higher prices than price shoppers and only show them higher priced options.
Why give elite members the lower price, when they may have complimentary access to lounges, preferential seating, expedited checking, expanded free baggage allowance, priority security lines, they collect miles and may get bonus miles based on their status and so on? Non-frequent fliers may have to pay for all or some of the components.
It is interesting to see, how this IATA development is going to play out. You really should have a look at the NY Times Opinion Piece and think about it.