Shocking News: A la Carte Shopping is Good for Consumers

Jay Sorensen

President of the IdeaWorks Company and author of the Amadeus Yearbook of Ancillary Revenue

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The ultimate compliment for the consumer acknowledges the right to choose


I chose a 'shocking' title for this report to garner attention. I also added a sub-headline that is difficult to dispute - even though debates rage about ancillary fees. When dramatic change occurs, there is always a tendency to cling to the past. It would be nice to return to the '60s when travel was glamorous, huge meal trays were used in economy class, and carriers such as Braniff were doing crazy things with flight attendant fashions. There were a handful of fares in every market and these were likely set by a government regulator. With the exception of selecting economy or first class, travel was a one-size-fits-all experience.

The high price of travel supported all the glamour, food, and fashion. But this prevented vast numbers of lower income consumers from enjoying the freedom of travel. Now, the newfound global access to air travel is threatened by ever-increasing fuel costs. That’s why the magic of a la carte arrives at the perfect time. It allows consumers to choose the level of  air service that best meets their needs. Of course, this must be delivered in an open and honest manner, and that’s a lesson still sadly lost on some airlines.

In short, a la carte shopping remains our best solution to keep travel affordable and accessible - for all.

Read the report: Shocking news: a la carte shopping is good for consumers