How airlines could turn into flying casinos – without gambling

What fees are coming next for the airline travel? Photo: Allegiant.

What fees are coming next for the airline travel? Photo: Allegiant.

Last week, Andrew Levy, president and COO of Allegiant, told us that he predicts major airlines like United, Delta and American will at some point charge for carry-on bags, as his carrier does. So what else does he predict for the future?

Basically, Levy guesses airlines will continue to tweak ancillary offerings so they charge different prices to different people. At some level, carriers already do this with the extras they sell. And airlines certainly do it with the price of tickets — almost everyone on a plane is paying a different fare.

But perhaps it’s time to get ready for price discrimination 2.0 on board the airplane.

“With the technology on the plane flight attendants are going to be able to differentiate costumers,” Levy said. “It’s kind of like a casino here in Las Vegas. They treat you a certain way depending on how much you play. I think the airline industry is moving more in that direction. We’ll be a little more targeted on a customers by customer basis.

As for what airlines might be able to sell in the future? The restroom is off-limits as a money maker, but everything else? It’s all fair game, Levy said.

“You are limited by your imagination by some degree,” Levy said. “People will buy the things they value.”

Here’s an interesting fact about Allegiant. Its flight attendants earn a commission on whatever they sell. That includes food, drinks and even better seats that are empty. “They are getting a piece of the revenue,” he said.

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