BMI today announced it’s to drop it’s Business Class product on the following routes
- London Heathrow – Glasgow
- London Heathrow – Edinburgh
- London Heathrow – Dublin
- London Heathrow – Belfast
and instead to introduce a “Flexible Economy” product instead.
For long time readers, you’ve guessed correct – BMI have once again to been to the Strategy Boutique and picked out the cheapest shiniest thing that looks like a good idea at the time.
So what’s Flexible Economy going to be like? According to BMI…
- Fully flexible ticket – no charges for changes
- 30 minute check-in
- Business lounge access at both ends of your route
- Priority seating at the front of the plane
- Complimentary food and drink served on-board throughout the day
- Lower rate Air Passenger Duty.
Err. Apart from the lower APD rate, that’s basic BMI Business fares as they stand now, except with densification up the front, and the lower APD rate applied for EU travel.
Naturally, this gets worse. A lot worse
- Two fares will be available for short-haul flights – Economy and Flexible Economy
- Flexible Economy will offer complimentary catering, whilst Economy will offer a paid-for service
- There will be no complimentary catering in Economy for Diamond Club Blue Plus, Silver or Gold card members (so that benefit is in the pan)
- Blue Plus is eliminated as of 28/01/10
So two big issues spring up – both a hit on loyalty, in terms of free catering going and the effort of loyalty for hitting 3000 miles or so.
I’m sorry to be cruel, but this is smacking of desperation by BMI in an effect to reduce costs. The reduction in APD allows for the trashing of a Business Class service – along with the service items needed whilst keeping the costs to the passenger high. Telling the Elite members where to also go in terms of benefits really isn’t acceptable even in these dark times. In many respects, the race to the bottom seems to be have won by BMI after BA’s cutbacks in service.
Especially after the Dublin Fiasco last week when the services were cut from 6 to 4 a day, it’s a very quick way to kill routes and remove customers.
There is an active discussion on FlyerTalk with the reoccurring theme of disappointment and annoyance of frequent flyers.
More Commentary later.