UK consumers will now be able to buy flights when they do their weekly shop. From September, supermarket Lidl will use its 390 UK supermarkets to sell vouchers for Air Berlin flights.
In a UK first, the German low-cost carrier has joined forces with its compatriot Lidl to sell vouchers that can be exchanged for flights from Belfast, Bournemouth, Glasgow, London Stansted and Manchester airports. Passengers can fly domestically or to European destinations including Berlin, Copenhagen, Majorca, Milan and Vienna.
“This is a great demonstration of Lidl’s ability to move into new sectors and yet still be able to pass on value to consumers,” says Dr Jonathan Reynolds, director of the Oxford Institute of Retail Management. “There’s a natural match between a low-cost retailer and a quality low-cost airline.”
Tony Parker, a company director at Lidl, says: “This is a first for retailing in the UK … we are making air travel more accessible.”
But not everyone is as effusive about the move. Outspoken Ryanair chief executive Michael O’Leary says he will categorically not be trying a similar strategy for selling tickets for Ryanair flights. He blasted Air Berlin for following an archaic business model and being overpriced.