Understanding marine and offshore fares in today's market
Understanding marine and offshore fares in today's market
If you work in the marine or offshore industry, you have probably heard of, or travelled using a marine or offshore fare. The evolution of these specialist fares has been quite remarkable. The concept originated in Greece for the shipping industry, as airlines identified the need for specialist fares for crews to meet their specific needs. But how have they changed? Why are these fares still relevant?
Why are marine and offshore fares still relevant in today’s market?
The well-documented downturn in the shipping and offshore industries has resulted in many companies switching to cheapest economy fares and using stricter crew change timelines in order to reduce travel costs that much further. The standard policy has moved to the ‘cheapest ticket on the day’, which is often non-refundable and offers limited baggage allowance.
With the recent trend of unbundled airfares, this offers yet another element to consider. Food, baggage and even pre-allocated seats are all an additional costs to these fares. If they aren’t requested at the time of booking, they can add considerable expense to the overall trip cost. As many seafarers and offshore workers do not have corporate cards and can be employed on a project basis, expenses can be difficult to manage. The question organisations might consider is at what level should their employee have to cover costs whilst travelling on behalf of the company?
As the ‘cheapest ticket on the day’ continues to unbundle the amenities organisations should cover on behalf of their travellers, inclusive airfares like marine and offshore fares start to look more viable.
What percentage of your travellers are currently flying on marine and offshore fares?
In addition to unbundled airfares, notable travel trends include increased online and mobile booking functionality as well as traveller personalisation. Ensuring specialist fares are accessible in an online format will help keep them relevant in our current market. The fares themselves also help to identify the traveller to the airline as someone in the marine or offshore industry. Once identified as a frequent traveller or someone travelling for business, their overall trip experience is more likely to be tailored to their specific needs.
The unbundling of airline fares often means that for the traveller, where baggage and flexibility is critical, marine and offshore fares may well be better value overall, despite the slightly higher initial price the fares are sold under. Time and cost savings will come into play as business volumes grow, crew rosters become more dynamic leading to increased ticket changes, and companies are re-focused on employee retention.
If you have new travellers within your business, or perhaps need to explain the concept of marine and offshore fares to your colleagues, we have included a back to basics guide on the fares at the end of this piece.
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How does ATPI Marine and Energy manage marine and offshore fares?
By partnering with airlines to ensure the fares are a viable solution to our clients.
A number of airlines including British Airways, Air France and KLM were pioneers of specialist reduced fares for the industry in the late 1970’s and really grasped the specific needs of the market, playing a key part in its development and facilitating access of crews from Asia and Eastern Europe.
Over the years many other carriers have recognised the opportunity provided by the shipping, marine and energy industry. Only a small number of agents are entrusted with these fares by the airlines, specialists such as ATPI Marine and Energy must justify their inclusion in these programmes on a regular basis.
For 40 years we have helped airlines to recognise the value of the marine and offshore crews to their business. As one of the largest travel management companies servicing the sector, we offer the widest range of marine and offshore fares. Our contracts are inclusive of both global and regional airlines, to guarantee our specialist fare coverage is the broadest in the industry. And since fare conditions are key, we work closely with airlines on ticketing time limits, refunds and cancellations.
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We use a fare viewer system that finds the cheapest fares available globally, directing sales towards other offices where cheaper fares exist. Our technology allows for online bookings to be made using marine and offshore fare content as well, which highlights clearly what is ‘included’ in direct comparison with the regular published fares. These fares and bookings also integrate with ATPI CrewLinkTM, our solution that helps you manage your total travel workflow in one platform.
Back to basics
Marine and offshore fares e-guide
Marine and offshore fares
Let’s go back to the basics and review what marine and offshore fares are and their benefits to the traveller and organisations that use them.
WHAT are marine and offshore fares?
Marine and offshore fares are specialist contracts that airlines offer via select travel management companies (TMCs) to help service the shipping and offshore sector. They offer flexibility and many other benefits at significant discounts. The fares are usually fully refundable and changeable, allowing for the modifications that often occur in both fast-paced industries, without additional fees. Besides the flexibility of the fares, they also generally offer an increased baggage allowance for the travellers.
WHO do marine and offshore fares benefit?
Designed specifically for the shipping, oil and gas sector, these fares offer benefits to both marine and offshore companies and the travellers utilising them.
- Overall reduced cost in fares if travellers itineraries frequently change
- Savings opportunities range from 20-70% off fares
- Baggage allowance is greater than most published fares accommodating for crew being away for several weeks or even months
- Travellers still accrue points on their frequent flier memberships
- Usually travel on a high quality carrier with the usual benefits
- At times, the fares can extend to select family members of the eligible traveller
WHEN can I use the specialist fares?
The requirements for the fares vary slightly for each airline, which is why it is the TMC’s responsibility to determine traveller’s eligibility. In regard to marine fares, the qualification is dependent on the traveller’s job role for each trip and the size of the ship. If the traveller is going to a ship where their work is tied directly to the overall functionality of the ship, generally they will qualify. A seaman’s book will usually be required. Checking this eligibility, automating letters of permission where required and advising any other necessary documentation is an integral part of ATPI Marine and Energy’s booking process. This ensures airlines are comfortable that the fares are going to the right people and corporations know they are getting the best deals in the market.
WHERE can you travel on a marine or offshore fare?
You can fly on the specialist fares all around the world.