Saturday, August 28, 2010

Poll: Is offering a "no kids" section a good idea for airlines?

This morning, I watched an interesting report on to family seating in airplanes. Here is an excerpt from a related article on the web:
Of the 2,000 respondents in the unscientific poll, 70 percent want to sit "as far away as possible from children." And about a quarter of non-parent respondents went one step further saying that they would prefer flights that are free of children.Of parents, 45 percent say they don't want to see a families-only section on planes because they don't want to sit next to "other people's horrors," the website says.

"As a relative new mum myself I can still remember that feeling of dread when you found yourself seated next to a baby on a long flight," says Skyscanner's spokeswoman Mary Porter. "However since regularly flying with my one-year-old, I am much more aware of what a stressful and often embarrassing situation it can be for parents."

She opines if passengers are willing to pay extra for child-free flying, "perhaps the solution is a premium adults-only section, rather than a pre-allocated families section."
Charging different prices to different segments of a market is price discrimination, a potentially profitable strategy (which I have written about before). Even though it can be a profitable strategy, it is not always profitable -- especially if charging different prices to customers puts people off.

With a hot topic issue, this means that there is a tradeoff from extracting extra revenue from premium seating, and offending families (which would potentially push that segment to other airlines). That brings me to the poll question of the week:

Is offering a separate "no kids" premium section of seating on the airplane a good idea?

(a) No. It would cost too much.
(b) No. It would offend families, and reduce revenues.
(c) Yes. It allows price discrimination.

The poll is open for a week, so vote early and often. Get your friends (and families) to vote as well. I'm interested in hearing what you have to say.

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