Retributive Airlines "Tweak" Each Other, Offer Great Fares To Consumers

Rick Seaney has a great post about the “tweak,” a move used by airlines to piss off competitors by offering discount airfares from their rival’s hubs. The spurned airline will often retaliate by tweaking the offender back in return. Rick Seany explains:

At 10am Airtran filed an airfare between Memphis and Minneapolis (both are Northwest Hubs) for $69 each way — $50 less than the current cheapest price on Northwest (Northwest has the only daily non-stop).

So why do airlines employ the “tweak”?

Airlines watch each other closely. They certainly don’t want to be blindsided by another airline and are fiercely protective of their market share between certain cities. So in this case it is most likely that Airtran doesn’t like something that Northwest “did” to them out of Atlanta (Airtran’s Hub).

The practice is apparently fairly common. If you live near a hub, keep an eye open for competitors trying to tweak the entrenched carrier.

How Do Airlines “Tweak” Each Other? [Rick Seaney]
(Photo: Larsz)


Edit Your Comment

  1. Cowboys_fan says:

    Its called competition

  2. Aladdyn says:

    Cutting a fare by that much would seem to be more than just competition. Interesting to see that the mindset of those in charge of the airlines is similar to that of grade schoolers.

  3. andrewsmash says:

    Nice to know that the motivating force in the airline industry is pettiness.

  4. Jean Naimard says:

    Ahhhh, the frea mahhhkit… With it’s lopsided offerings that screw the bottom percentiles…

    Back in the pre-Staggers act days, there were no such nonsense and flying was still civilized without the Great Unwashed Massesâ„¢.

  5. Auntie M. says:

    I’m worried about that kitty.

  6. Nemesis_Enforcer says:

    @Auntie M.: Dont be we always give some of the legs from Lobsters and crabs we buy to our cat. He cracks them open and eats the nummes a lot faster than we do…

  7. yellojkt says:

    @Cowboys_fan: It’s actually anti-competitive because it is usually a veiled threat to keep of their turf. Ultimately, the fares at both airlines get higher.