Alitalia launches a lower carry-on fare

In September, Alitalia is launching a new lower, year-round, carry-on fare called ‘Light’.

Light will be offered to those with no checked bags and who book on-line. It will be offered on domestic routes in Italy as well as to certain European, UK and North African destinations. It is reported to be 25 percent less than regular fares. Light will provide on-board catering and mileage accrual.

With the proliferation of passengers travelling almost exclusively with carry-on suitcases to avoid paying baggage fees, which in North America generated $1.6 billion in revenue in the first three months of 2015, this is a refreshing change in pricing models. Alitalia has had a difficult few years, so this is an aggressive way to position their competitive advantage vs a the popular pricing model employed of offering less service in lieu of a price increase.

Some of the discount airlines have operated on the myth of being cheaper than legacy airlines, but while their ticket may have been astonishingly low to start, they made up for it with other charges. One airline went to the extreme of weighting purses and backpacks – anything over 5k was changed on a per k basis. Another airline decided to charge for overhead baggage space in the passenger compartment.

This is an offer the industry and travellers will be watching.