AF discrimination based on PoS

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Old Nov 17, 17, 10:45 pm
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Originally Posted by NickB View Post
Yes, and rape and murder are as old as humanity. That still does not make them legitimate activities.
I would tend to consider that POS discrimination within the EU for EU airlines is not allowed by Art 23 of Reg 1008/2008 for itineraries that start in the EU as it discriminates on nationality and residence of the passengers and of place of establishment of resellers. Outside the EU, it is more tricky.
That said, unless the Commission or a national regulatory body actually investigates the matter, it seems to me that it will be complicated for an individual to establish that there is a breach of the Reg.
We see sexual harassment suddenly coming to the fore, so maybe it is time to bring POS too

NickB, please tell if I am wrong as I am no expert.
Several aspects have been discussed above, such as nationality, place of residence, place of establishment of the seller (TA/website). My understanding is that any discrimination based on those are not allowed in EU.

BUT, my understanding is that POS concept (pricing/availability) is based on the point of origin of the ticket. And there is nothing wrong about having difference pries and availability from different countries and airports in EU.
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Old Nov 18, 17, 12:51 am
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POS is really the Point Of Sale, in other words the country where the ticket is being purchased.
WithWith some carriers (AF for instance), you can choose the point of sale you want to use (by going to airfrance.fr, airfrance.ca, airfrance.ch...) and try to game the pricing by finding the country with the cheapest price for a given flight. Usually, the difference is mainly caused by the foreign exchange rate used not being the one of the days (and the gain is usually offset by your bank/credit card fees). In some rare cases, inventory might be different in two countries and that's where you can make substantial gains (I saved once around 1k€ (paid 5k instead of 6) by buying my ticket on AF US website instead of AF France website).
Some other airlines (like KL or DL) are forcing the departure city to be the point of sale.
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Old Nov 18, 17, 2:30 am
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I've just looked on some J pricing airfrance.us vs airfrance.fr on a SFO-CDG-TLV (24th Dec - 3rd Jan).

Here's the US site:



Here's the FR site:



Same itenerary, different fare offerings. On US they'd want for the same trip $7,385 (change for fee, not refundable) while on FR they'd want €10,788 (flexible / refundable), which is about $5,335 difference. That's quite a lot!
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Old Nov 18, 17, 3:43 am
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This really weird, and I get the same numbers.
Not long ago, you mainly needed to access the local AF website to purchase a ticket. Now that is available from many national websites.but not all (I cannot buy your itin on Hong Kong website).
I was assuming that they were forcing the POS to be local. But I was clearly wrong.
I checked EF on your example as they provide availability from several POS including France and USA.
On AF83 with French POS they have J9 C9 D5 I0 Z0
On AF83 with USA POS they have J9 C9 D9 I9 Z9
That explains the result.

This is really crazy if you have to lose time and game the system.Here the difference is gigantic (even if the ticket conditions are very different).
Maybe there is something special with the TATL JV.???
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Old Nov 18, 17, 4:21 am
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I remember our corporate tool allows to "reshop" the ticket (identical ticket, within 24hr of purchase). I was wondering what it meant, now I know - they're checking different PoS to see if there's better pricing.
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Old Nov 18, 17, 6:34 am
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Originally Posted by brunos View Post
We see sexual harassment suddenly coming to the fore, so maybe it is time to bring POS too

Originally Posted by brunos View Post
BUT, my understanding is that POS concept (pricing/availability) is based on the point of origin of the ticket. And there is nothing wrong about having difference pries and availability from different countries and airports in EU.
As others have stated, POS discrimination is based on point of sale of the ticket, not point of origin of the ticket. Thus, for instance, a return CDG-JFK on AF6/AF7 on given dates may be cheaper when bought from AF in France (or from a TA in France) than the very same return ticket on the same AF6/AF7 flights and on the same dates bought from AF in Russia (or a TA in Russia) because AF makes more V inventory available from a French POS than from a Russian POS, so that your ticket bought in France will use a (cheaper) V fare whereas the Russian ticket would be priced in, say, K fare because inventory in lower classes is not available in Russia on the date at which you try to buy the ticket.

Such a practice discriminates on grounds or residence and nationality of the purchaser: even though it is technically possible for a Russian national to buy from a French AF office or from a French TA, in practice, most Russian nationals and residents will buy their tickets in Russia (and vice-versa for French nationals and residents), Such a practice therefore constitutes what lawyers call "indirect" discrimination on grounds of nationality and residence of the passenger. It also constitutes, moreover, "direct" discrimination on grounds of place of establishment of the ticket seller, which is also prohibited by the Reg.

Now, airlines which are licensed in the EU (i.e. EU carriers) are not allowed to discriminate in this way in relation to access to public air fares for itineraries that depart from the European Union. To the extent that varying the availability of inventory depending on POS does precisely that (i.e. make some fares accessible in some POS and not in others), it seems to me that it is clearly prohibited by the Reg. One issue which is a little grey in the Reg is whether this applies only to POS within the EU or worldwide. Thus, it is IMO reasonably clear that AF is under an obligation to make the same inventory available from French or German or Greek or Latvian etc... POS for its public fares for itineraries departing from the EU. What is less obvious is whether AF would be under the same obligation to make the same inventory available from Russia, Brazil, Hong Kong, USA, etc... POS for those same public fares for itineraries departing from the EU. Art 23 does not explicitly limit discrimination on grounds of nationality and residence of the purchaser to the EU only. However, it does so in relation to ticket resellers and it is arguable that the limitation to intra-EU sales only is implicit.

What is also clear is that AF is entirely free to price a ticket departing from CDG differently than a ticket departing from, say, FRA or JFK or SVO, etc... This, however, would not be discrimination based on POS but rather different pricing for different products.

Last edited by NickB; Nov 18, 17 at 6:42 am Reason: typo
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Old Nov 18, 17, 11:07 pm
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Originally Posted by NickB View Post

Now, airlines which are licensed in the EU (i.e. EU carriers) are not allowed to discriminate in this way in relation to access to public air fares for itineraries that depart from the European Union. To the extent that varying the availability of inventory depending on POS does precisely that (i.e. make some fares accessible in some POS and not in others), it seems to me that it is clearly prohibited by the Reg. One issue which is a little grey in the Reg is whether this applies only to POS within the EU or worldwide. Thus, it is IMO reasonably clear that AF is under an obligation to make the same inventory available from French or German or Greek or Latvian etc... POS for its public fares for itineraries departing from the EU. What is less obvious is whether AF would be under the same obligation to make the same inventory available from Russia, Brazil, Hong Kong, USA, etc... POS for those same public fares for itineraries departing from the EU. Art 23 does not explicitly limit discrimination on grounds of nationality and residence of the purchaser to the EU only. However, it does so in relation to ticket resellers and it is arguable that the limitation to intra-EU sales only is implicit.
That's where i started this thread. From what i read above it seems EU airlines are bound to non-discrimination by PoS. This is why i suggested they use intermediary (remember Panama papers?) to overcome some restrictions for POS not within EU.

As for where to buy I would expect most of non-frequet travellers have no idea that buyng though another PoS will give them different pricing. In this way it is a depective business practice. I guess EU needs some professionals in committees looking after airlines

PS: I know BA is even more aggressive in this. But this is AF forum.
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Old Nov 19, 17, 1:38 am
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Thank you all. I am learning a lot and apologize to Keter for providing wrong information.

I know that POS means Point Of Sale.But it used to be that the POS was was restricted to be the country of origin.
I hate to stress my old age, but I remember buying "cheap" AF F tickets out of Italy. At the time these were paper tickets.
No French TAs (or AF France) could issue the ticket. So you had to purchase it with an Italian TA and get it mailed, or use a big French TA with a correspondent in Italy who would mail the ticket (they hated doing that).
When eTickets were introduced, they still had the confusion between POS and point of origin. Clearly, some airlines do not apply it anymore.

In the search for the cheapest ticket, I wonder if using the local (point of origin) would yield the cheapest fare, or are they counter-examples?
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Old Nov 19, 17, 2:10 am
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I did not see anything offensive here, rather I could be but if so then for sure not on purpose.
We are all to learn here by exchanging our opinions.
What you are referring to is likely to be another discrimination matter - restricting specific fares for sale in only specific countries or via specific agents. This is different from different availability via different point of sales that i wanted to speculate on.
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Old Nov 19, 17, 2:56 am
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Yeah thanks for getting it to my attention too, I'd have expected that there gonna be differences in the taxes, but I wasn't expecting at all there can be such a price difference between the sites. Guess when there's no Z fare available on the US site I should scout other PoS just in case :/
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Old Nov 19, 17, 6:36 pm
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Originally Posted by brunos View Post
Thank you all. I am learning a lot and apologize to Keter for providing wrong information.

I know that POS means Point Of Sale.But it used to be that the POS was was restricted to be the country of origin.
I hate to stress my old age, but I remember buying "cheap" AF F tickets out of Italy. At the time these were paper tickets.
No French TAs (or AF France) could issue the ticket. So you had to purchase it with an Italian TA and get it mailed, or use a big French TA with a correspondent in Italy who would mail the ticket (they hated doing that).
When eTickets were introduced, they still had the confusion between POS and point of origin. Clearly, some airlines do not apply it anymore.
Yes, SITI/SOTO* restrictions used to be very common for some fares many years ago. That is largely gone now, except for some domestic tickets. The very SITI/SOTO terminology seems to have completely disappeared from the IATA world and from fare rules.
That is, however, a different issue to POS-based inventory management.

*: SITI: sold inside, ticketed inside/ SOTO: sold outside, ticketed outside
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Old Nov 19, 17, 9:06 pm
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Originally Posted by NickB View Post
Yes, SITI/SOTO* restrictions used to be very common for some fares many years ago. That is largely gone now, except for some domestic tickets. The very SITI/SOTO terminology seems to have completely disappeared from the IATA world and from fare rules.
That is, however, a different issue to POS-based inventory management.

*: SITI: sold inside, ticketed inside/ SOTO: sold outside, ticketed outside
Thanks NickB, this is very helpful.

The way I now understand it is as follows:
1. There is only one overall fare pricing from a given origin (say SFO). Depending on POS, fares just differ by the exchange rate used.
2. Fare bucket availability is POS specific. Some of the fare buckets and possibly fare code (like Ixxxx) can therefore be only available at some POS but not other.
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Old Nov 20, 17, 3:12 am
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Do we know if these POS oddities also apply to awards?

I know the married rule availability problem. For example a MAD-SFO might not be available while MAD-CDG and CDG-SFO are available.
But do we see different available for a single segment if different POS are used?
Or is it linked to the country of the FFP account?
Even then with my family having accounts in different countries, is it possible that different family members see different availability on the same award?
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Old Nov 20, 17, 3:50 am
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Originally Posted by brunos View Post
Thanks NickB, this is very helpful.

The way I now understand it is as follows:
1. There is only one overall fare pricing from a given origin (say SFO). Depending on POS, fares just differ by the exchange rate used.
Mostly yes, at any rate for most European and US carriers. There can be some sales restrictions in some countries usually linked to capital movement restrictions/political instability/etc.. (cf Venezuela) but these are the exceptions and, for the most part, public fares on European or US carriers are available universally.
Asian carriers sometimes behave differently and it is not unusual for some of them to restrict sales to certain locations and channels (CX would be a good example of that: you often have fares which are only available on the CX website of the country of departure and nowhere else but I think that, technically, these are considered private fares rather than public fares). Also, in some countries, some domestic fares are only sold locally (and sometimes only to local residents). Argentina would be an example of that (although this is evolving).

2. Fare bucket availability is POS specific. Some of the fare buckets and possibly fare code (like Ixxxx) can therefore be only available at some POS but not other.
I don't think that the playing around with bucket availability in different country is universal. The 3 big European airlines (AFKL, BA and LH) apparently play that game but I do not know whether the smaller ones do too and whether this is also common among airlines elsewhere. As to "fare codes", a fare code is a fare so this would fall under 1, rather than 2.
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Old Nov 20, 17, 5:36 am
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How much …? The rise of dynamic and personalised pricing

Originally Posted by The Guardian
Those consumers who are suspicious of dynamic pricing may also be confusing it with (the far more controversial) personalised pricing, whereby specific customers are asked to pay different amounts for the same product, tailored to what the retailer thinks they can and will spend – using personal data points that might one day include, for instance, our credit rating. In 2014, the US Department of Transportation approved a system allowing airlines and travel companies to collect passengers’ data to present them with “personalised offerings” based on their address, their marital status, their birthday and their travel history. It’s not hard to imagine that the fares you are offered might be higher than for others if, say, you live in an affluent postcode and your husband’s birthday is coming up.

In 2012, the travel site Orbitz was found to be adjusting its prices for users of Apple Mac computers, after finding that they were prepared to spend up to 30% more on hotel rooms than other customers. That same year, the Wall Street Journal revealed that the Staples website offered products at different prices depending on the user’s proximity to rival stores. In 2014, a study conducted by Northeastern University in Boston found that several major e-commerce sites such as Home Depot and Walmart were manipulating prices based on the browsing history of individual customers. “Most people assume the internet is a neutral environment like the high street, where the price you see is the same as the one everyone else sees,” says Ariel Ezrachi, director of the University of Oxford Centre for Competition Law and Policy. “But on the high street you’re anonymous; online, the seller has information about you, and about your other buying options.”
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