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Old Jul 16, 12, 2:30 pm   #1
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
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Difference in fare results when searching ITA vs LX/LH websites?

Hello everyone,

I noticed something strange a few months ago when booking an LX ticket and am seeing the same thing now when searching for NYC-BCN flight on *A. There is no UA direct flight on the dates that I'm considering, so my ITA search has focused on LX, LH, BD, and TP connections. This post is specifically about the LX and LH search results.

Let's work through an example: on ITA, I found EWR-MUC-BCN on LH in S class and BCN-ZRH-EWR in S class for $871. The same flights come up on a Lufthansa.com search in L class for $707. Does anyone know why there is a difference in what ITA sees in their search versus the results that come up from LH? I understand that different fare classes price differently, but I'm wondering why this inventory appears unavailable to outsiders.

In the example that I gave, the LH search results provide an L class fare, which should earn United miles on the LH-operated segments but not the LX-operated segments. Is there a way to force the LH website into a slightly higher booking code (such as T) that would earn United miles on both the LX and LH legs?

Thank you very much!
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Old Jul 16, 12, 3:06 pm   #2
 
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Thumbs down ITA caches leg availabilities

Unfortunately, ITA availabilities are often incorrect as it "adds" flight availabilities rather than quotes O&D availabilities. An example:

EWR-ZRH T9 L9 K9
ZRH-BCN T9 L9 K9


Based on these leg availabilities, ITA would assume EWR-BCN T9 L9 K9. However, these availabilities are based on the two O&Ds EWR-ZRH & ZRH-BCN - not EWR-BCN. It is possible and common that the true O&D availability differs, e.g.:

EWR-ZRH-BCN T9 L9 KC

Most sophisticated airlines use an O&D availability system instead of a leg-based system. Hence, ITA will not display correct availabilities as it caches leg availabilities and adds these to compute the requested O&D availability.

Some airlines (including most American carriers), however, are still stuck in the stone age with simple and basic leg-controlled availability systems. Here, using ITA shouldn't be a problem.

Last edited by regoc; Jul 16, 12 at 3:18 pm..
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Old Jul 16, 12, 3:22 pm   #3
 
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Thanks for the great explanation!

My impression has always been that you need two things for a valid fare: inventory in a given bucket and a valid fare for that bucket, and I understand how the route-based inventory control takes this one step further. An interesting note is that a search on Orbitz showed the more expensive ITA fare during the search and the cheaper LH website fare at the confirmation screen after flights were selected and the itinerary was repriced.

Does anyone know how to force a booking class on the LH or LX websites without jumping up to the next column of the fare display (on the LX site, for example)?

Thanks again!
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Old Jul 16, 12, 4:09 pm   #4
 
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Even with simple non-stop flights on LH I haven often had more expensive results on ITA than what I could actually buy on the LH website. LH website had lower fare classes available.

So there must be something else to it.
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Old Jul 16, 12, 5:13 pm   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by regoc View Post
Most sophisticated airlines use an O&D availability system instead of a leg-based system.
Often referred to on these boards as "married-segments logic".

Quote:
Some airlines (including most American carriers), however, are still stuck in the stone age with simple and basic leg-controlled availability systems. Here, using ITA shouldn't be a problem.
Call me old-fashioned but I much prefer the "stone age" as you call it, as it tends to give consumers more power to build itineraries at lower price. But YMMV, of course.
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Old Jul 16, 12, 5:19 pm   #6
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aindfan View Post
Does anyone know how to force a booking class on the LH or LX websites without jumping up to the next column of the fare display (on the LX site, for example)?
No, unfortunately not. You could call the call center, but they charge you EUR 30.- booking fee.

Its no new phenomena that LX/LH open up lower booking classes if you book directly on their sites. External booking sites like Expedia, Opodo get only the higher fare bucket available (i.ex. T), while LX offers you on the same flights the cheaper fare i.ex. in K-cl...
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Old Jul 16, 12, 7:02 pm   #7
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Air Rarotonga View Post
Its no new phenomena that LX/LH open up lower booking classes if you book directly on their sites. External booking sites like Expedia, Opodo get only the higher fare bucket available (i.ex. T), while LX offers you on the same flights the cheaper fare i.ex. in K-cl...
Thank you for clarifying! I flew on LX at the beginning of this year on a ticket that showed up as S on ITA and T on the LX website - that's what originally got me thinking about this. Too bad T isn't showing up for my searches today, so I guess I will have to decide on the tradeoff of inconvenient flight times (LH in L) versus no mileage accrual (LX in L).

Thanks again!
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Old Jul 17, 12, 12:46 am   #8
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg45 View Post
Even with simple non-stop flights on LH I haven often had more expensive results on ITA than what I could actually buy on the LH website. LH website had lower fare classes available.

So there must be something else to it.
This can be due to the fact that availabilities differ for each point of sale. ITA should, however, diplay the availability for the defined point of sale. Default setting is point of origin.
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Old Jul 17, 12, 5:17 am   #9
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ITA shows availability based on the point of sale in the United States. Often you will see availability in cheaper fare buckets for domestic German connections. Thats usually a hint for me to go buy the ticket in a US OTA's webshop.
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Old Jul 19, 12, 9:11 am   #10
 
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A call to the LX booking center did not yield a T-priceable itinerary, but I did find a way to force the LX legs into T: connect to a flight with T availability only and therefore force the return leg to price into T.

For example, EWR-MUC-BCN on the outbound, and BCN-ZRH-EWR-AAA on the return. EWR-AAA forces the return to price as BCN-AAA in T class. Maybe I'll drive back from city AAA... or accidentally misconnect. Who knows what the weather will be like that day!
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