Airline companies would like to retain their existing customers even while they make efforts to get more. If there is a growing aviation market with more new passengers taking to flight booking, this exercise becomes rather easy. However, in case the market is not growing, there has to be product innovation as well as differentiation in order to get more customers from a finite pool of flyers. In both situations, the offer of cheap flight tickets is deemed to be the most convincing and successful strategy. While poaching on the other airline customer base by well considered product and service differentiation strategy is one side of the coin, the other side is to retain your own customers without letting them amenable to poaching from the competitors.
It is in the latter respect that the airlines offer the frequent flyer programs. Meant for the benefit of the customers who have chosen to fly on that particular airline repeatedly and for a long time, these are in nature of rewards being offered to these passengers who are loyal to the airline. These programs come with certain associated privileges and benefits which can take any of the following forms:
- Free flying miles
- Discounted or free shopping
- Discounts on flight booking for future for a specified time
- Allowing upgrading of class of travel
- Special holiday packages
- Discounts on other products such as cab rentals and hotels booking
- Special on-ground privileges such as priority check-in, lounge access, more baggage allowance and other.
For the people who like flying on one airline, these programs are a means of getting cheap flight tickets in direct or indirect ways. For many others, though, who do not mind changing their carrier preferences, these programs do not hold much of importance and these passengers prefer on-spot cheap tickets being offered by carriers.