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Branded fares: a philosophical shift to preserve premium product pricing for large US airlines

The Basic Economy trend sweeping the US airline market is fostering speculation about the exact results that American, Delta and United hope to achieve by introducing new tiered pricing structures into the market place. On the surface, the pricing structures are tools for those airlines to compete more effectively with ULCCs in the market. But more strategically, new pricing segmentation provides the large three US global airlines an avenue to execute their revenue management more effectively, preventing pricing dilution of their more higher end offerings.

Even the rivals that American, Delta and United are targeting with their bare bones product offerings believe that ultimately their new pricing schemes could create pricing stability in the US market – which appears on a fragile path to recovery. The logic for that conclusion rests on the ability of the Big 3 for product upsales that drive up pricing for all fares in the market.

One challenge the large US airlines face in the expansion and roll out of their new tiered pricing structures is ensuring the correct product attributes are communicated correctly through distribution channels outside their respective websites. Proper execution is key in order for American, Delta and United to realise the billions in potential revenue that they believe exists from the overhaul of their pricing structures.

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