Airlines Cash In as Flexible Work Changes Travel Patterns for Airline Customers
As airline travel continues to get more and more expensive, consumers are adopting new strategies for getting to their destinations, including taking flights on charter planes and traveling with friends on the same ticket. That brings companies under pressure from customers who are demanding more flexibility.
Now, companies are finding they can cash in on that trend. They are experimenting with flexible work arrangements that give their employees some degree of choice.
The big three—the United Airlines, Delta Air Lines, and American Airlines—have each partnered with major hotels for the first-ever co-branded partnership between the two airlines. They’re also each offering benefits to employees that include “flexible work schedules,” “flexible scheduling” options, more flexible work hours, and more.
“Many of our customers who do not work at hotels, they still want [to go] to the same hotels, the same restaurants, and the same attractions that they’re used to seeing on the road,” said David Hileman, president of the Americas for American, which is based in Dallas.
The big three, along with Southwest Airlines, are joining other traditional carriers—including regional American, Spirit Airlines, Hawaiian Airlines, and JetBlue—to offer a full range of flexible benefits.
All of the carriers are trying something new, according to Hileman. In the past, they were focused mostly on trying to prevent their customers from overspending on their tickets. The new “flexible work arrangements” could allow passengers to spend their fares in ways they’d never normally be able to do. This could lead to lower charges for customers traveling with all or part of their families.
United has already started to change its practices. Last year, the carrier announced that it had partnered with Hyatt hotels to give its employees the option to work full-time when they travel, including through holidays and weekends. In November, United started offering “flexible work hours” for part-time and full-time employees, similar