The year 2015 proved once and for all that 12 months is perfectly enough time for something as major as the way we travel to change dramatically. Namely, 2015 has been quite momentous when travel is in question, introducing quite a few concepts, doing away with some and changing others to the core. So, what exactly happened to travel in 2015 and what kind of effects will this have down the road?
Probably the most momentous change was the decision by the three major U.S. airlines to change their frequent flyer programs. American Airlines, Delta, and United Airlines all changed their decades-long policy of rewarding their frequent flyers with free flights. Instead of rewarding according to the number of miles traveled, they are now rewarding their flyers based on the amount of money they paid for their tickets. This is a trend that flyers in other countries are seeing too, with British Airways tweaking their loyalty program and with Cathay Pacific doing something similar as well.
Another 2015 “invention” that might change the way we fly even more dramatically was introduced by Zodiac Airspace, one of the largest suppliers of aircraft equipment. Namely, they have introduced a paradigm-shifting concept of seating arrangements in the airplanes of the future. They have come up with a seating arrangement where passengers would face one another on the plane, thus allowing for greater comfort and efficiency, according to the head of Advanced Concepts at Zodiac, Tommy Dean. We are not really sure about this one, but who knows?
Business travel has also changed significantly in 2015, with two companies getting in on the business travel industry. The first of these is Uber, which has introduced their Uber for Business platform, allowing companies to set up corporate accounts for their employees. With these accounts, companies have much better insight into the travels made by their employees on the company dime. Airbnb has also tapped into the business travel market, once again enabling the companies to use their services in order to cut down on their business travel costs.
Lufthansa, the leading German airline, introduced a new trend that we are hoping American (and other) airlines will not follow. We are, of course, talking about the added fees for flyers who book flights on their airplanes through third-party websites and services. Unfortunately, knowing how the end users always find themselves on the losing end of every story, it would not surprise us if we see this practice being employed by other airlines too.