If you are working for an airline and haven’t yet secured your seat at the Horizons 2010 conference hosted by Amadeus, then don’t delay. It only happens once every two years, and the event in San Francisco in October promises to be a good one – to read more, here is the event website.

The reason I mention this conference is partly because I will be hosting a panel on ancillary services. At this stage it looks like I’ll have one airline representative and one executive from a TMC on stage, but like all conference agendas, this is subject to change.

Earlier this year I set myself a goal to moderate a conference panel (after criticising another panel) and to do a conference presentation without using any Powerpoint slides. I ticked the second box earlier this year in Cannes, so in October in San Francisco I’ll get to see if I can moderate a panel any better than the one I saw in Huntington Beach at the FFP ARAC Conference.  

I don’t personally know Michael Fabey of Travel Weekly, but he has written an excellent piece that has given me the opportunity to not only praise his article, but to also tie it into this post promoting my own involvement at Horizons!

In all seriousness, the article titled Airlines eye fees for business travelers is well worth a read as he covers an often missed angle in the ancillary revenue story – many in the mainstream press focus on the gouging the little guy on checked bag fees story, but as Fabey writes:

As business travelers return in greater force to the skies, airlines say they plan to further hone their ancillary revenue models to capture even more money from extra fees. The a-la-carte fees became increasingly popular throughout 2009 as airlines needed to recoup revenue that was lost as traffic dropped and the carriers offered deeper discounts to lure passengers. Now that planes are filling up and fares are rising again, airlines are looking to unbundled services as revenue streams. Airline executives say they will focus more on developing fees for services like priority boarding, seating preferences and wireless access to capture more corporate-traveler cash.

He then continues with relevant quotes from senior executives working at a number of US carriers. My own objectives in the panel I am running are much broader than just business travelers, but assuming we run it with a TMC rep on stage, I’m sure the question of how airlines are factoring in the needs of the TMC’s in their ancillary revenue plans will be one of various topics that comes up.

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