United MileagePlus (Consolidated) - Cheaper Booking Codes shown but Can't Purchase
May 13, 11, 3:28 pm
At United.com in the expert mode I can see S booking codes available, but the cheapest fare shown is a W. Is this S booking code availability real? If it is, can I purchase it at a cheaper than W price?
Below is a collage of what I am seeing. The bottom section is fromExpertFlyer and as I understand it, it is telling me there is an S fare available. Is that a correct interpretation?
You would need to read the full fare rules and make sure you are meeting all the requirements, including day of travel, season, min/max stay, etc.
Beyond that, I actually do not see the SKXCN fare published but I might not be looking in the right place.
May 13, 11, 4:27 pm
The Fare Rules for the S fare says:
"SEASONALITY ---- PERMITTED 08DEC THROUGH 24DEC OR 02JUN THROUGH 22JUL OR 06AUG THROUGH 20AUG ON THE OUTBOUND TRANSPACIFIC SECTOR. SEASON IS BASED ON DATE OF ORIGIN."
Does that mean the fare is or is not allowed. To me the above paragraph is saying the fare is allowed on the mentioned dates. But if "SEASONALITY" is a period when the flight is not permitted then it is saying those dates are the times this fare is not allowed. ????
May 13, 11, 4:40 pm
I'm not an expert at this, but I also see this in the fare rules for the S fare:
"DAY/TIME PERMITTED MON THROUGH THU ON EACH TRANSPACIFIC SECTOR."
What happens if the return is on the Thursday the 16th instead of Friday the 17th?
Also, wouldn't it price out the same as W in any event?
ETA: I see now that there are S/W fares for Fri-Sun also ($63 higher RT), but still the S and W fares are identical.
May 13, 11, 4:41 pm
ITA shows me this trip at this price.
PEK:: /f bc=S
ORD:: /f bc=S
all-in price $1537.40 USD (actually a CNY 3858 SKXCN fare plus a CNY 4062 SKXCN fare plus taxes and fees).
Actually, looking deeper, ITA offers me an all-in price of $1,537.40 -- see fare construction:
BJS UA CHI 587.53SKXCN UA BJS 618.75SKWCN NUC 1206.28 END ROE 6.56562 FARE CNY 7920 EQU USD 1220.00 XT 5.50YC 7.00XY 5.00XA 32.60US 2.50AY 13.90CN 246.40YQ 4.50XF ORD4.50
But united.com offers me the same trip at the same all-in price ($1,499 fare, $38.40 fees, $1,537.40 total) and it happens to book into W.
In fact if I do an ITA search with /f bc=W instead of /f bc=S I get the same prices attached to a WKXTZNCH fare instead. of a SKXCN one:
BJS UA CHI 587.53WKXTZNCH UA BJS 618.75WKWTZNCH NUC 1206.28 END ROE 6.56562 FARE CNY 7920 EQU USD 1220.00 XT 5.50YC 7.00XY 5.00XA 32.60US 2.50AY 13.90CN 246.40YQ 4.50XF ORD4.50
May 13, 11, 8:01 pm
Based only on my personal experience flying to Asia and South America on UA for the past 10 years: when I think I qualify for the available S,L,T fares and the like, I go to a travel agent or consolidator when they are not available on .bomb. Especially for international travel, these booking fare codes are reserved as BULK fares and sometimes only available for special groups (vacation planners, tour groups, consolidators, on-line discounters, etc). You might see the fare buckets showing availability, but the retail outlet you are using (.bomb in this case) does not sell them.
And in my recent experience, these fares are getting to be much more difficult to find through any outlet.
May 14, 11, 1:48 pm
Wow, how did I miss that?
Even your posted screenshot from ExpertFlyer shows that -- yes, there are S and W fares posted -- and both cost $1189.
Makes sense that UA would sell you the higher fare class at the same price point; after all, this one is upgradeable with a SWU :)
Interesting point that stanscan makes that consolidator fares might require S rather than W and that the discounted rates might be different on these two.