eBay or AirBay? Rex Airlines introduce new ticket bidding system

A Rex Airlines Boeing 737 lands at Canberra.
Photo Credit: Robert Myers CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

LONDON – Australian carrier Rex Airlines have announced the launch of a novel system of seat upgrading, allowing passengers to enter real-time bids to upgrade to a Business Class seat.

Rex Airlines Bid Up Program

In an Australian first, Rex will introduce real-time bidding for an upgrade to Business Class on its domestic jet services. Passengers booked in the economy cabin will be invited to bid for a Business Class upgrade seven days before departure.

Bidders will be able to adjust their bids whenever they are outbid, thereby giving themselves the best chance of success to secure an upgrade.

“All passengers love an upgrade. This new element of gamification in the bidding process will be a fun and economical way for our economy passengers to experience our amazing business class product and service,” said Michael Venus, Rex’s Director of Media and External Relations.

The initiative is part of a series of passenger enhancements being rolled out ahead of the upcoming launch of the airline’s new loyalty programme.

This will include the introduction of a neighbour-free seating product in the Economy cabin across the airline’s domestic and regional networks, and new or expanded lounges in Adelaide, Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne.

As part of a special introductory offer to launch the Rex Bid Up programme, minimum bidding across the airline’s domestic network will start from as little as $10

eBay or perhaps AirBay?

One thing you certainly can’t accuse Rex Airlines of is sleeping on the job. This year the Aussie regional carrier has undertaken an aggressive expansion program, as the aviation industry scrabbles for its footing after a long hiatus.

Rex has certainly ruffled some feathers along the way, pointing out the shortcomings of rival Qantas and its regional subsidiary Qantaslink at every opportunity. The airlines most recent gambit – a virtual ‘AirBay’ equivalent of the popular auction site eBay is very likely to strike a chord with Aussie air travellers.

Australians are known for their betting spirit – from the First World War days of the Diggers playing Two-Up in the trenches. In the local vernacular, Aussies will bet on two flies crawling up a dunny wall, so the opportunity to score a possible bargain in a real-time bidding system similar to eBay for an upgrade to Business Class may well be a winner.

I may well place a bet on their success myself.

About Rex Airlines

Rex Airlines is Australia’s largest independent regional and domestic airline operating a fleet of 61 Saab 340 and 7 Boeing 737-800NG aircraft to 58 destinations throughout all states in Australia.

In addition to the airline Rex, the Rex Group comprises wholly owned subsidiaries Pel-Air Aviation (air freight, aeromedical and charter operator), the Australian Airline Pilot Academy with campuses in Wagga Wagga and Ballarat.

It also operates propeller maintenance organisation, Australian Aerospace Propeller Maintenance. Rex is also a 50% shareholder of National Jet Express (NJE), a premier Fly-In-Fly-Out (FIFO), charter and freight operator.

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