Bundling travel services can often be the best value when compared to buying individual services in an a la carte sort of way. Buying airfare then adding on a rental car and/or hotel package is a good example of saving travel funds via bundling.
Unbundling, on the other hand, is where fees for everything from checked luggage to exit row seats on airlines came from, generating millions in non-fare income. In a bit of a turn in a different direction, some travel service providers are introducing new bundles that can add up to savings for frequent travelers.
This week United Airlines announced a $499 offer that gives air travelers annual subscriptions that guarantee more legroom and no-charge checked bags. Exclusive to those booking through United.com:
- The Economy Plus subscription starts at $499 and includes seats typically paid for as an upgrade for flights in the continental United States. Make that $599 to include all North and Central America flights and $699 is the price for Global access.
- The Baggage subscription starts at $349.00 giving you and up to eight companions traveling on the same reservation up to two bags checked per flight for free. The program does not waive oversize/overweight bag charges.
- The United Club subscription gives access to more than 45 United Club locations complete with complimentary snacks, beverages and Wi-Fi. The cost: 65,000 miles or $500 per person.
The world of cruise travel saw an unbundling of sorts with the advent of specialty restaurants, charging passengers an extra fee for a fine dining experience. The nature of a cruise vacation still swings towards more inclusive travel than, say, a land vacation. But optional extra charges can add up fast, even doubling the total price of a cruise vacation
In a similar move to United’s subscription plans, Royal Caribbean International has a variety of dining packages on various cruise ships. On Allure of the Seas, for example, passengers can choose from the following packages:
- Central Park Dining Package, at $70 per guest (regularly priced at $90), includes Giovanni’s Table Italian Trattoria, 150 Central Park fine-dining restaurant and Chops Grille steakhouse.
- Chef’s Dining Package, at $130 per guest, includes the five-course, gourmet Chef’s Table and wine pairing, 150 Central Park and Chops Grille
- Choice Dining Package, at $80 per guest, includes Chops Grille, Giovanni’s Table, Izumi and Samba Grill Brazilian steakhouse
Bundled dining packages are also offered by sister-line Celebrity Cruises in a Specialty Dining package with three, four or five dinners.