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Airlines, ancillary revenues, full service network carriers, pricing strategies
The airline industry has evolved from a system of long-established state owned carriers operating in a regular market to a dynamic, deregulated industry. This development – especially the emerging competition of low-cost carriers – has had a major influence on the price setting behaviour of airlines. Profitability of airlines is limited and pricing systems are reconsidered. To stay competitive, traditional full service carriers consider the implementation of ancillary revenue systems, which are similar to low-cost carriers. This paper investigates challenges of an ancillary revenue pricing approach for full service network carriers. A qualitative means-end approach is used to find attributes, which are important for air passengers, and influence their ticket buying behaviour. In addition, the study provides insight into the perception of an ancillary revenue system in the full service network carrier market. The findings present 18 ticket purchase attributes and 15 behavioural terminal values in hierarchical value maps. Based on these values, it is evident that most passengers appreciate if some services are included in the price and not offered as ancillaries. Benefits of ancillary revenue systems include the individual ticket creation, customisation, improved price-performance ratio, flexibility gains and progressive ideas. The main drawbacks of the system include a complicated and complex booking process, feelings of uncertainty, branding problems, a distortion of competitive behaviours, a system similar to that of low-cost carriers, feelings of paying extra for every service and a perceived decline in service and quality.