Competition between Australia's low-cost carriers is spreading beyond low fares. JetStar, the Qantas low-cost unit, is looking at new sales outlets and ways to attract more business passengers in what is shaping up as a race with Virgin Blue to see who can offer the most for the least.

JetStar is testing internet auctions as a way to sell seats. In an initial trial, it used the eBay website to auction travel vouchers redeemable for tickets. It is studying techniques used by carriers in other parts of the world for last-minute auctions of empty seats. While its focus is mostly on new ways to use the internet, JetStar is looking at "other distribution outlets" and has not ruled out ticket sales through convenience stores or other retailers.

On the heels of Virgin Blue's decision to offer LiveTV, JetStar is also studying in-flight entertainment. It is evaluating systems with an eye towards trials to see how they might affect operations, particularly turnarounds on shorter flights.

To attract business travellers, JetStar is studying other perks, including the chance to buy excess baggage limits and meal vouchers at the time of booking.

Source: Airline Business