ExpertFlyer’s Air Travel Trend Summary for 2018

ExpertFlyer Hot Topics — Where the Rubber Meets the Runway

Here at ExpertFlyer not only are we privileged with insider knowledge of important airline industry information that affects how consumers travel by air, we also have great friends in the field who graciously share their valuable expertise with us. For 2018, we want to share some of the important trends that our president, Chris Lopinto, has highlighted for the year.

first class

Airline Cabin Classes

  • Expect an increase in “luxury amenities” for Business & First Class seats, especially on international long-haul routes and some domestic flights.
  • On the other end of the scale, more “Economy Minus” fares, and the restrictive rules that go along with them on domestic rules will also increase. And, of course, the continuing devaluing of frequent flier miles and programs, even for top-tier elites (This is happening where the basic economy fares are being applied to more flights and routes).
  • A new trend in airline cabins is the “densification” of economy classes across the board. This is the process of creating additional rows and in some cases more seats per row on larger planes, much to our discomfort.


General Airline Service

  • Airlines will continue the pricing model of “pay for what you want.”
  • Airlines will provide more routes to smaller cities (Iceland Air, a European Low-Cost Carrier is adding new flights to smaller US cities and others should be expected to follow).
  • Travelers can expect that upgrades will be more readily available for purchase rather than an elite “perk” for their most loyal customers.
  • Expansion of business models (such as Airbnb getting into the “travel business,”) which allows companies to engage with clients for a longer period of time.

mobile tech for travel


  • Continue emphasis on mobile tech and app usage for end to end ease when booking and managing flights.
  • Onboard tech enhancements will continue for airline differentiation and on-board airline entertainment such as TV monitors on headrests will give way to closed-circuit apps to access and enjoy entertainment content from personal mobile devices
  • The increased use of VR technology by travel agents and hotels will become more prominent to give customers a “preview” of what they can expect from specific destinations.


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