Fare discrepancies between AF and KL websites

Old Jun 3, 13, 8:15 am
  #1  
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Fare discrepancies between AF and KL websites

Hello all,

I noticed something strange during the booking process of a ticket between CDG and Europe I recently bought.

At first, the flight I wanted to take was not available at all on the website. So I called Le Club to enquire whether it that was an error or the flight was full. I was answered that it was the latter and was proposed to buy the last seat available on the next flight, in C. I declined and then went immediately to the French AF site where I saw that indeed, that next flight was almost full : for the outbound, the booking engine displayed a message showing that only 1 seat was left and it was in the C fare bucket for about 600 EUR, S being not even proposed. Inbound showed-up with wide availability in “discounted” Economy, the cheapest combined with the outbound C being around 300 EUR.

What went on my mind? I do not know. But I then went to the French KL site where I tried to search for an outbound flight with a stop in AMS close to the initial schedule. To my surprise, I was proposed to fly on the exact same direct AF flight (the second one of course), with the exact same message (“last seat available”) but this time in unrestricted Z at 500 EUR combined with an inbound, in a more discounted fare bucket than on AF site, in Economy at 150 EUR.

So I booked it and it was immediately ticketed on the KL stock with AF flight numbers and possibly saved 250 EUR.

How is that possible? How do AF and KL cross sell their flights? I thought that since some months, if not years now, AF and KL had harmonized their fare structure and prices.
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Old Jun 3, 13, 8:20 am
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I don't think this is unusual at all (in that it's always been thus) and it is why I always check on both Air France and KLM [and 3rd parties] and buy from whichever is the cheapest. The price can also sometimes be lowered by buying from a different country, i.e. Belgium was often cheaper when buying KLM tickets (they didn't have the service fee when it was introduced in NL) but these days I think that difference/loophole has been closed off.

As you say, even the flights that are shown as available can be different.

It certainly pays to shop around.

I guess the explanation is that AF and KL, while related, are still not exactly one and the same, and in some territories/routes they may have different allotments of seats from which they can sell, and you hit a case where KL had a seat left over where AF didn't.
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Old Jun 3, 13, 8:34 am
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Good to know. Thanks irishguy28.
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Old Jun 3, 13, 9:53 am
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Actually I believe that the Belgian KLM website still does not charge the 10 euro booking fee, however the (once free) credit card transaction costs have been added there too.

Another good one to keep an eye on is/was airfrance.ie. No booking fee and no credit card fees.

I find it strange that the prices differ though. Could it be a matter of point-of-sale? So that when buying through KLM it might use a different POS, resulting in a different availability?

By the way I have found airfrance.nl to almost always be more expensive than klm.nl. With some exceptions, as I have also once found a great fare on ITA, which was only bookable through airfrance.nl (KLM.nl had it for a higher price).
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Old Jun 3, 13, 9:58 am
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Well, the thing about the KLM website is that previously, depending on the country you selected, you had a limited set of potential starting places from which you could buy tickets. So for KLM.be you could start in Belgium, or the Netherlands, or France or Luxembourg. I don't think that, in the past, KLM.de would allow you to start in Amsterdam - and KLM.co.uk and .ie certainly wouldn't.

These days, no matter which "country" you start off on the KLM website, you can type in any starting point, but the website then routes you through to that country in the webshop. So you can't buy a ticket originating in AMS and benefit from the Belgian conditions (Or, if you can, I can't find out how to "trick" the system) - all Dutch originating tickets will now be issued by KLM in the Netherlands with the full whack of Dutch extras (credit card fee, service charge, etc).

But, as you say, the airfrance.ie workaround still exists.
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Old Jun 3, 13, 10:15 am
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Originally Posted by Xandrios View Post
I find it strange that the prices differ though. Could it be a matter of point-of-sale? So that when buying through KLM it might use a different POS, resulting in a different availability?
I tried to repriced it in ITA with a French POS and it definitely comes up. So klm.fr might be a French POS.
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Old Jun 3, 13, 10:16 am
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Also, the e-memo shows "FR/KLM EBT" as ticket issuer.
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Old Jun 3, 13, 10:24 am
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Originally Posted by bodory View Post
I tried to repriced it in ITA with a French POS and it definitely comes up. So klm.fr might be a French POS.
It would be unusual if a klm.fr ticket, for a journey starting in France, wasn't issued in France.

These days, KLM issue the ticket in the country where travel starts. It used to be that the ticket was issued in the country you chose when selecting from the various KLM websites (subject to that particular country's website allowing you to select your desired origin).
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