Tuesday, June 27, 2006

I'll never understand airline pricing...

I’ll never understand airline pricing. Just finished booking two trips. One – to California. I said when and where I wanted to go, picked United and the price was almost $1,000. Looking through the options – I saw I could go on USAIR for half as much. Looking closer – the USAIR flights are operated by United. It was the same flight – it’ll be a United plane. Only I’m paying 50% less because I bought the ticket through USAIR instead of United.

The other trip was a one way. One way to Dallas - $709. If I wanted to return, the round trip would be $427. Interesting.
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14 Comments:

Blogger Tim... said....

I flew from Philadelphia to Cincinati and back on USAIR. Both flights were terrifying. Due to a combination of bad weather and pilot error.

The people I was working with claimed never to fly USAIR, nicknaming them US-SCARE. Perhaps this was an isolated incident, but it certainly left its mark on me. It was several years before I flew again.

Cheers

Tim...

Tue Jun 27, 10:47:00 AM EDT  

Anonymous Anonymous said....

Re: Dallas - Buy the round-trip ticket of course. After you get there, toss the return ticket, or tell the airline you can't make it and want the return date to be 'open' and you'll pay the reschedule fee when you re-ticket. At some point you may be able to use the ticket, sometimes even change cities, if you pay the right fees which are steep but cheaper than a ticket.

Tue Jun 27, 10:51:00 AM EDT  

Blogger decuser said....

setlovefree.com, then it'll be only 100 bucks each way :)

Tue Jun 27, 11:37:00 AM EDT  

Anonymous Bryan said....

I used to travel to Oxnard, CA on a regular basis. I usually flew into LA and then drove up the coast. However, one time when pricing flights, I found that Dulles to LAX was $1600 while Dulles to LAX to Oxnard (same flight from Dulles to LAX) was only $1000. That didn't make any sense to me, but I thought I'd try it and save the $600. Of course, when I got to LA, Oxnard was fogged in and I end up stuck on a van from LAX to Oxnard...

Tue Jun 27, 12:34:00 PM EDT  

Anonymous Tom Fox said....

Yeah, same thing here. Going to Phoenix, AZ to see the Grand Canyon with my family, and found it interesting that Delta would charge $450 per person (round-trip) if we flew straight from Cincinnati, which is 2 miles from my home.

However, flying from Louisville, which had a layover in Cincinnati, was $150 per person round-trip. Made no sense that their fuel costs are more but charged me less. No wonder the airline business is in disarray.

By the show of hands, who knew that the Cincinnati airport was actually in Kentucky? Wait, I can't see who has their hands up.... :)

Tue Jun 27, 12:54:00 PM EDT  

Blogger David Aldridge said....

>> By the show of hands, who knew that the Cincinnati airport was actually in Kentucky?

Me, me!

I fly into their quite often on my way to Dayton, OH -- Delta usually take around 60-90 minutes to deliver my luggage to the carousel, which they always blame on being unexpectedly busy. "Unexpectedly still in business", I always think.

In fairness to the name, it is strictly called "Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky Airport", and its airport code of "CVG" is based on "Covington".

Tue Jun 27, 02:04:00 PM EDT  

Blogger Thomas Kyte said....

I knew the Cincinnati airport is way inside of Kentucky.

I know this because I spent 18 days doing a benchmark for the IRS in their "Cincinnati" office - which is in Covington - Kentucky... Across the river from Ohio.

Tue Jun 27, 02:13:00 PM EDT  

Blogger Eric said....

Having worked in the airline industry, the rules are very complex and you need a mainframe to keep track of them. :-)

It depends on when you book your travel (7 days, 14 days in advance, etc.) and who else the airline competes against on that O&D (Origin / Desatination) pair.

The USAir/United deal is a codeshare flight. USAir pays United a fee on every ticket they purchase on one of their flights. Probably the fee is much less than what UAL is charging, so USAir can charge less. If you think airline ticket pricing is bad, go car shopping. Good luck getting the same price from 2 different dealerships on any given day.

On another note, I came up with this nickname after they did the name change:

US Airways = Usually Standing Around In Rage With All Your Stuff.

Cheers...

Eric

Tue Jun 27, 03:17:00 PM EDT  

Anonymous Anonymous said....

Airlines often randomize their prices to some degree. If they were always the same then travelers who travel alot will know which flights to take. This way it requires more work to find the cheapest fare.

They have been doing it for years. They may have increased it since the internet.

Ryan

Tue Jun 27, 03:44:00 PM EDT  

Anonymous Anonymous said....

Not only airlines.. pretty much every industry does that in the US. Shop for mortgages, cars, computer or any other retail items - if you want a good deal you need to do research. This is the natural way in a market economy which is primarily driven by market forces (demand and supply). Throw in a "randomization constant" and some computer glitches here and there and you get the perfect pricing system!

Tue Jun 27, 04:11:00 PM EDT  

Anonymous Anonymous said....

Here is an article I found on 'dynamic airline prices'

if you are interested.

http://faculty.haas.berkeley.edu/hender/ISEcon/Dynamic%20pricing%20in%20the%20airline%20industry.pdf

Tue Jun 27, 04:35:00 PM EDT  

Anonymous Anonymous said....

>> Here is an article I found on 'dynamic airline prices'

I would much rather take the airline, despite the high prices than go through the equations in the articles mentioned above.....

Tue Jun 27, 05:54:00 PM EDT  

Blogger jimk said....

A couple of years ago I had to travel from Portland Oregon to Salt Lake last minute. (and back) I found that I could fly first class for less than coach if I booked at the last minute. It was a short flight - 1.5 hours - and no meal was served. So they probably did it to keep loyalty at no extra cost.

Thu Jun 29, 04:26:00 PM EDT  

Anonymous Airline Ticket Deals said....

Unfortunately an easy to use and understand fare structure will probably never happen. Delta tried it last year with SimpleFares, but they couldn't respond to the market fast enough. The internet has added a lot of flexibility, but the consumer will never have the advantage with the market as it is right now.

Sun Sep 23, 08:04:00 PM EDT  

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