Bundles of unbundling

The airlines have been quite vocal about the “value” they can provide to customers by unbundling services and making them available a la carte throughout the travel experience. It is better for the customer to pay only for what they use, right?? And then, not surprisingly, came the new bundles. Rather than the old bundles which included checked bags and meals the new bundles include things like priority boarding, wifi and extra miles. Here are the options I was offered recently on a Delta flight:


Putting aside the silly names, the Ascend and Lift bundles save $3-5 off the regular price of combining those two items. And my guess is that Delta is selling a bit more of both, making extra money along the way. After all, bundles are a great value and everyone loves to buy them, right??

American Airlines has a slightly different take on bundles, offering bonus miles, waived change fees, one checked bag and even a free drink on board via their Choice Fares options. Some of those are more likely to appeal to elite customers (anyone with a CC or Medallion status is getting priority boarding already from Delta so that bundling is clearly targeted elsewhere). Even with a slightly different andle, they are definitely focused on the bundles.

Are you buying bundles these days? Should you be?

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Seth Miller

I'm Seth, also known as the Wandering Aramean. I was bit by the travel bug 30 years ago and there's no sign of a cure. I fly ~200,000 miles annually; these are my stories. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.


  1. I think the bottom line is this: the core issue is not bundled or not, but rather choice. Having the choice to unbundle is good for customers. Also having the choice to bundle is even better.

  2. That lift bundle is a joke. Buying skypesos at 2.4 cents a pop is pretty dumb unless you need a tiny bit more for a reward, but they position it as “here’s your chance of a lifetime to get 1000 miles extra for just $24.”

  3. I was trying to go back to the post on travel bloggers from yesterday but cannot find it… am I IT-challenged or is there a reason you took down the post?

  4. The next bundle they come up with should be the PB&J where you get priority boarding and cracker Jacks at the gate 🙂

  5. I think bundling is a good idea because it gives travelers choice. That said, I’ve never purchased one myself. I’d love to be a fly on the wall in the boardroom of a major airline when they review the revenue generated from these programs.

  6. Are these available on the non-airline sites? If not, they may serve to encourage non-elites to use the airline’s own site just to be able to see whats available. Airlines do want to sell through their own sites.

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