What kind of measures makes an airline flight possible at a reasonable cost? During the beginnings of the flight industry, airline flight was very expensive and very much limited to business travel but deregulation and various changes resulted in dramatic change.
Deregulation of the United States airline industry in 1978 made competition between airlines possible and revolutionized the flight industry. Before deregulation was adopted, the airline industry had little or no competition and uniformity was the norm.
New Airline and Lower Prices
Cheap flights were impossible because price variations were not allowed; prices were regulated and uniform. The routes that different airlines flew were also regulated and limited. True competition didn’t develop until deregulation became the new policy.
Once the restrictions on price and routes were removed some new airlines attempted to earn a place in the flight industry. These new airlines and their innovations proved very effective and earned rapid success.
Cheap Flights – Economy Class Only
The new low-cost airlines made a dramatic move. They eliminated the first-class seating and business class seating in many planes and served only one class – economy class. This customer had been largely ignored.
Lower airfares and cheap Flights, however, made attracting the economy-class a necessity to the newly developing flight industry. The low-cost airlines quickly developed a consumer base and began to compete with the more traditional airlines.
As the new airlines attracted more customers, the older airlines took notice. If these companies did not adapt and try to attract new customers they would soon falter and be overtaken by the new low-cost airlines.
The cheap flights attracted an economy-class traveler that had, until deregulation changed the industry, been largely ignored. The success of the upstart bargain-price airlines brought attention to this new market of customer.
Appealing to the Economy-Class Traveler
The economy class traveler was willing to travel without amenities such as movies and alcoholic drinks. The economy class traveler was content to arrive at his or her flight destination promptly and safely.
Lowering Expenses in Air Travel
The amenities and luxuries of first-class and business class travel were an expense that could be eliminated in accommodating this customer. The priority of such flights was to maintain the safety and security of travel at a minimum expense.
Cheaper air travel was made possible by deregulation and the ingenuity of the low-cost airline companies. The resultant cheap flights afforded the opportunity of air travel to a new market.
Cost-cutting and Cheap Flights
The bargain-price airlines employed a combination of cost-cutting strategies to make affordable airline ticketing possible. One of the strategies was to provide only one seating class – economy class.
The extra cost and expense of special seating and arrangements for first-class and business class seating were eliminated. The elimination of this special seating helped to lower airline operating costs.
While the cost per passenger was reduced by cheaper flights, the low-cost airlines compensated for lower cost by increasing the number of passengers. With cheap flights but more passengers, the airlines could still make a profit.
Also direct flight between airports eliminated baggage transfers between flights and led to lower operating costs. With direct flights the “turn-around” time was also quicker. Planes could quickly turn-around and return with a new load of passengers.