Friday, 13 April 2018

Finnair introduces 'cabin bag' only transAtlantic fare

One of Europe's leading airlines is adopting a 'low-cost' carrier mentality with the introduction of a low-cost hand baggage only fare across the Atlantic. Announced this week, Finland's flag carrier, Finnair has introduced a 'Light' economy class fare, which includes hand baggage only, on its Helsinki-New York route. 

The change is part of a joint effort by Finnair and its Atlantic Joint Business (AJB) partners, British Airways, Iberia and American Airlines, to offer more options and aligned fare types for their customers on selected North Atlantic routes.

The Light fare, which has been available for Finnair’s domestic and European flights since 2015, is the lowest fare option in Finnair’s ticket offering and includes hand baggage only. Checked baggage can also be conveniently purchased in advance on Finnair’s website or at the airport. All other ticket types continue to include checked baggage.

“Our Light fare offers more choice and flexibility for our customers as they have the freedom to select the ticket type that best suits their needs,” says Juha Järvinen, Chief Commercial Officer at Finnair. “In this phase, the Light ticket fare type will be available on Finnair’s Helsinki-New York route, in addition to selected Trans-Atlantic routes operated by our AJB partners.”

The Atlantic Joint Business offers customers additional flight choices, better connections and better pricing on transatlantic routes. Currently, the four airlines operate over 100 daily return flights between Europe and North America.

Finnair Plus Platinum, Gold and Silver members, as well as members of equivalent oneworld loyalty programs in the Emerald or Sapphire tiers, are entitled to one extra piece of checked baggage in addition to the allocation provided by their ticket type. Therefore, these frequent flyers can check one bag free of charge while flying with Light tickets. Finnair Plus Gold and Silver are entitled to a free bag only on flights operated by Finnair.

There are many commentators in the industry that believe The Atlantic Joint Business is less about offering passengers real choice and more about price collusion and fare fixing. "The way this association is working is aligning fares, which is simply price fixing by another name. It is less about passenger choice and more about maximising profits by colluding on price." one told us on Thursday from Hamburg.