Delta attempts to take on Spirit
Delta Air Lines has never been one company to sit idly when it comes to inventing new ways to make money. From the looks of it, Delta may just have figured out how to take on its low-cost rivals in certain markets. Well, sort of.
Two months ago, Delta introduced a new airfare category called “basic economy.” The new category was rolled out in and currently testing on flights from Detroit to Orlando, Fort Myers, Fort Lauderdale and Tampa. These routes share a common feature--low-cost carrier Spirit Airlines already has a strong grip on budget travelers.
Spirit, which loosely borrows from Ryanair advertising strategy (think:provocative), has a reputation for offering very low fares ($9 Fare Club, anyone?) but charges for everything extra, including carry-on bags!
Delta executives were clearly paying attention. So now, "It's all about providing options," Delta spokesman Paul Skrbec said.
What exactly is a “basic economy” fare? Here’s what you need to know: Delta's basic economy fare does not allow any changes to the itinerary, even for a change fee. It also does not allow passengers to get seat assignments in advance. Instead, seats are auto-assigned at check-in.
Delta, being the notorious leader in introducing “new ways” to make money, the question now is when, not if, it will expand the basic economy fares to other markets.
A sample of Delta fares for flights from Detroit to Fort Lauderdale for July showed economy fares for $248.60 and basic economy fares for $229.60. Spirit, on the other hand, offers one-way fares ranging from $20.00 to $41.31 for the entire month of July.
Clearly, Spirit has nothing to worry about in terms of fares. For Delta, however, the advantage is already obvious--by adding another fare category, it has already found a new way to make money.