How to properly handle a mistake fare (and delays) for consumers and airlines alike, Ethiopian going big in Africa!

Posted on June 21, 2018 by in British Airways (BA)

– British Airways is cancelling a ‘mistake fare’ from London to Tel Aviv and Dubai that was so expensive we never sent out deal alerts to subscribers

British Airways has had fares around $300 Round Trip for both destinations for a few days. Given the competition in Europe this isn’t a great fare to begin with – many Low Cost Carriers (in Europe a carry-on is typically included) run this route for $150 Round Trip.

British Airways nevertheless felt the fare is too low for their own revenue expectations. It’s sad that customers have so little to say when airlines unilaterally change/ cancel tickets. I have long argued – airlines and customers should have a policy that encourages both to rely on fares shown and if mistakes happen pay a penalty.

There is a consumer framework in place in the US that works well (24 hours of free cancellation, penalties for changes after that). However delays are not covered by that.

Here is what could work for consumers and airlines alike:

– 24 free cancellation for both parties

– 5%-10% of ticket value as change fee (for both parties)

– 10%-20% of ticket value as refund penalty (for both parties)

– 1%-100% staggered percentage values as penalties for delays (up to a full refund for super long delays i.e. a full of delay)

Such a framework would a level playing field for both sides that takes into account the incentives of both sides. I much prefer percentage values against fixed amounts as EUR 300 compensation for a EUR 10 ticket is just wrong (and penalizes low cost airline entrepreneurs).

– Ethiopian Airlines is tired of playing small and is going big in Africa

African Star Alliance carrier Ethiopian Airlines plans to launch new airlines in Chad, Guinea, Mozambique and Zambia before the end of 2018.

Details are still a bit hard to come by but Ethiopian has several blueprints how to run this under their own name, via a joint venture like ASKY or as a state run airline in Malawi.

If the airline keeps expending at this pace it will control 90% of African air traffic in a few years.


About the author: Torsten is a serial entrepreneur who started almost a dozen ventures on four continents. Torsten's love for travel has brought him to 130+ countries and travel with most of the world's airlines. You can reach Torsten at [email protected]

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