Amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, some airlines are calling for less-restrictive fare options, which would allow passengers to purchase tickets without fear of cancelling their flight.
Earlier this month, JetBlue CEO Robin Hayes said in a Washington Post webinar that going forward, carriers will need less-restrictive fare options to help convince passengers that they can buy a flight without worrying that they would be unable to fly due to illness or another matter.
“I think airlines are going to have to think about how they monetize their fare structure, how they create products that give people the ability to change flights more easily than perhaps they felt in the past they could,” Hayes said. “It’s not ever going to be really acceptable for someone who is unwell to feel that they’ve been made to fly.”
While Hayes is calling for more transparency between airlines and customers, the live event industry is still pushing the agenda for non-transferable tickets. Earlier this year, the rockers of Pearl Jam announced that all of their upcoming tour tickets would only be available via Ticketmaster’s encrypted ticketing technology SafeTix – which means all tickets would be non-transferrable. Similarly, The Black Keys opted for non-transferrable tickets during a gig in Los Angeles, leaving hundreds of fans locked out of their show.
Congressman Bill Pascrell (D-NJ) has long advocated for more transparency in the ticketing industry and has heightened his stance amid the current pandemic.
“American consumers deserve fairness. Period. Measures to increase transparency and flexibility for consumers should be welcomed,” Pascrell told TicketNews in a statement. “This pandemic has wreaked havoc and devastated people’s budgets. Americans are worried about putting food on their table and a roof over their head. Corporations should not bully consumers into keeping their money during these hard times, especially since they do not know when an event will happen or if they may fall ill to attend.”
Pascrell and colleague Katie Porter (D-CA) have been vocal about Ticketmaster’s practices since the coronavirus brought live events to a screeching halt and left millions of ticket holders in limbo awaiting refunds. The pair addressed Ticketmaster and parent company Live Nation urging for changes to its initial policy prohibiting refunds for postponed events. After Live Nation implemented a new policy allowing consumers to request refunds within a 30-day window of event rescheduling, the representatives issued a statement to the entertainment giant insisting a more proactive approach was needed.