Economy

Frequent flyers set for summer seat bonanza as airlines struggle to fill flights

SmartCompany /

As spending sags and tourist numbers drop, airlines have been forced to turn to their frequent flyer programs to keep their planes full and stimulate activity in the leisure sector.

Merry Christmas, frequent flyers – the airlines are here to make your summer that much better.

As spending sags and tourist numbers drop, airlines have been forced to turn to their frequent flyer programs to keep their planes full and stimulate activity in the leisure sector.

In an unprecedented move, Qantas has doubled its frequent flyer seat allocation over the summer months. In the two-and-a-half months between now and February, the airline is offering 1.5 million local frequent flyer seats. By way of comparison, the airline usually releases around three million seats during an entire year.

Qantas is not the only airline turning to frequent flyers to boost passenger numbers. Jetstar is also releasing hundreds of thousands of extra seats on local and international routes over the holidays and other airlines are reportedly following suit, although they have not advertised the fact.

The new seats will come as a pleasant surprise for frequent flyers, who often find it near impossible to get frequent flyer seats during peak holiday periods.

Frequent flyer experts says Qantas typically increases frequent flyer seat allocations during the quieter months of February and March, although there is usually a big catch – the seats are usually on the very early and very late flights favoured by business travellers.

“The problem is that it’s often on flights that the leisure traveller doesn’t really want,” one consultant says.

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