While the number of people taking personal trips that got put off during the pandemic soared the moment countries started opening up their borders, corporate and other types of business travel has been significantly slower to pick up.
According to a recent survey by Deloitte, there has been a jump from 2022 (and an increase from 2021 before that) but business travel is still at only 80% of what it was in 2019 — initially because of the liability around companies sending workers somewhere during the pandemic and, increasingly over the last two years, cost concerns.
That said, the number of business travelers has been increasing steadily and low-cost carrier Frontier (FRON) – Get Free Report is launching a traveler class specifically tailored toward the more cost-conscious among them.
Several Frontier planes are captured waiting at the gates at an airport.
New travel program offers free baggage, seat selection and cancelations
While the airline has the usual low-cost model of charging a very low fare for the seat and making up for it with fees for anything extra, Frontier’s new BizFare program launched on Feb. 1 offers tickets with a seat at the front of the plane and additional legroom as well as a carry-on bag. Flight dates can also be canceled or changed without additional fees.
This type of ticket can’t be purchased by individual travelers but is tailored toward travel agencies and companies that regularly book flights for their workers. When logging into the corporate account, the one booking the flight will see fares starting at $129 between different cities across the country as well as a few of Frontier’s international destinations.
“For companies with a strong focus on keeping travel expenses down, our BizFare is going to be a great new option to integrate into their overall corporate travel mix,” Frontier CEO Barry Biffle said in a statement.
While many associate business travel with the lie-flat beds available on long-haul flights, this type of more expensive ticket is similar to the business class offered by other airlines on shorter domestic flights. Frontier’s BizNow also includes priority boarding and 10 points for every mile spent with the airline for members of its loyalty program that can be taken advantage of by both the company paying for the ticket and the traveler.
Frontier CEO talks of ‘new network design’ and efforts to reach more business travelers
The new program is a major attempt for Frontier to reach companies that book employee travel as well as encourage those who might have otherwise been hesitant to book with a low-cost airline after reporting softening demand in several past earnings calls.
The initial launch is tailored toward travel agencies registered with the Global Distribution System and those with corporate accounts with Frontier but, depending on how it is received, may potentially be expanded to a wider client base. At the moment, any “extras” such as seat selection or additional baggage need to be purchased either individually or through a “bundle” rather than a higher fare class available at mainstream airlines.
“We believe our new network design will provide more destination options as well as additional frequencies on our most popular routes,” Biffle said further. “We are excited to deliver even more value to business travelers and travel managers.”