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Is Flying Alaska Airlines Getting Expensive?

Is Flying Alaska Airlines Getting Expensive?

Old Feb 14, 2018, 4:25 pm
  #46  
 
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Another data point. SFO-FLL in August, AS wants $418 for coach. UA $139 and B6 $155. Even UA in F is $488. B6 - $699 for mint. Not sure what AS is thinking. Iím hoping they are still working on their pricing after all comes under the one system.
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Old Feb 14, 2018, 5:06 pm
  #47  
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Originally Posted by SF1K
Another data point. SFO-FLL in August, AS wants $418 for coach. UA $139 and B6 $155. Even UA in F is $488. B6 - $699 for mint. Not sure what AS is thinking. Iím hoping they are still working on their pricing after all comes under the one system.
Huh? I see lots of $186 fares for SFO-FLL in August. On no day of the month do I see the cheapest fare for that day being over $400.
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Old Feb 14, 2018, 11:02 pm
  #48  
 
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Originally Posted by VegasGambler
Huh? I see lots of $186 fares for SFO-FLL in August. On no day of the month do I see the cheapest fare for that day being over $400.
Just looked at 8/6 and lowest fare on non-stop is coming up at $418. $215 but thatís a 1-stop and adds significant time. All the other competitors in market are less on the non-stop. Please tell me if Iím not finding what you are. Thanks!
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Old Feb 14, 2018, 11:23 pm
  #49  
 
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Originally Posted by SF1K


Just looked at 8/6 and lowest fare on non-stop is coming up at $418. $215 but thatís a 1-stop and adds significant time. All the other competitors in market are less on the non-stop. Please tell me if Iím not finding what you are. Thanks!
The nonstop is $418 every day the first couple weeks of August and if you can't leave SFO in the morning, you are SOL as there are no other options. F fare of $1749 is also ridiculous.
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Old Feb 14, 2018, 11:36 pm
  #50  
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Originally Posted by SF1K


Just looked at 8/6 and lowest fare on non-stop is coming up at $418. $215 but that’s a 1-stop and adds significant time. All the other competitors in market are less on the non-stop. Please tell me if I’m not finding what you are. Thanks!

Oh, I didn't realize that you were only considering non-stops. Indeed, this is expensive. A quick search on ITA shows that for the month of August, AS's cheapest nonstop is, indeed, $418. UA's is $139 and JetBlue's is $155.

Funnily enough, in the month of March, AS/VX actually is the cheapest at $129. JetBlue and United's cheapest flights of the month are both $139. Admittedly, this is close, but still... AS/VX is the cheapest.

I think that this is not a case of AS being more expensive, but, rather, it's a case of them not releasing any cheaper fare buckets until the dates get closer. The $418 fares are in the M bucket, which is the 5th-highest economy bucket. The $129 fares are R, which is 14th (out of 15)

I'm not sure why they do this. It might make sense if they were the only ones to fly the route, but it seems like, considering the competition, they are probably just throwing away money by following this policy (since most customers are not going to look into it this closely... they are just going to see $418 vs $139 and pick the one that's $139)

Alaska currently has a cheap fare ($139 or less) available for June 11 (not sure why just that date) and most dates up to May 17. So I guess about 3 months out is when they start releasing the cheaper inventory? At least for this route...
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Old Feb 15, 2018, 5:56 am
  #51  
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If you look further out in the schedule to Dec 9th and beyond, you will see inventory in the fare buckets below M with inventory available in the G bucket where there are $200 G fares. People noticed the exact same thing on the SFO-MSP route in another thread (only M bucket and higher available through most of the schedule). I suspect these are just instances of AS still digesting VX and updating inventory systems for these routes that were former VX routes. I would fully expect to see lower bucket inventory available again on these routes in the not too distant future.
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Old Feb 15, 2018, 8:27 am
  #52  
 
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But the MSP route is OO operated and has always been AS. Nonetheless, this M bucket thing is interesting. There are a few more days that keep popping up with below M fares of the MSP route, so maybe this is just an AS revenue thing. Thank goodness for the low fare guarantee and Google Flights alerts.
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Old Feb 15, 2018, 8:49 am
  #53  
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Originally Posted by DrAlex
But the MSP route is OO operated and has always been AS. Nonetheless, this M bucket thing is interesting. There are a few more days that keep popping up with below M fares of the MSP route, so maybe this is just an AS revenue thing. Thank goodness for the low fare guarantee and Google Flights alerts.
Oops, forgot that SFO-MSP was not VX. At any rate, I see inventory available in buckets below M starting for flights on and after Jan 3rd on this route after the lower buckets are zeroed out from May 20th onward (except for June 6th).
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Old Feb 15, 2018, 10:19 am
  #54  
 
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Originally Posted by LBJ
Oops, forgot that SFO-MSP was not VX. At any rate, I see inventory available in buckets below M starting for flights on and after Jan 3rd on this route after the lower buckets are zeroed out from May 20th onward (except for June 6th).
And except for June 29th, and July 2nd, and September 1st, and October 14th. On MSP-SFO, it's June 12th and July 7th. Interestingly, all these flight have at least 6 seats occupied on the seat map (some have much more). So, maybe this is a SABRE issue and not a route disappearing issue? Color me confused.
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Old Feb 15, 2018, 11:31 am
  #55  
 
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Honestly if alaska didn't have the low price guarantee refunds, i would never even buy on it, given how they don't release the lower fare buckets till the 2-3 month mark (i always buy cash flights far in advance since it helps complement my award travel planning which definitely needs to be booked in far in advance).

At any given time I'm price-tracking (via google flights) dozens of flights and the pattern is obvious - alaska flights are the most expensive till ~3 months out, when they suddenly start matching or undercutting similar routes. This is for mostly any flight route from seattle (where i'm based on), be it up and down the west coast or transcon. The only things they don't under cut are Spirit Airline prices (who fly Seattle to LAX/LAS, but then its spirit), and their flights to the state of alaska (e.g. jetblue/delta are often cheaper), which i suspect is because alaska knows they have a loyal membership up there.
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Old Feb 15, 2018, 1:03 pm
  #56  
 
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I mostly fly for work, and my company requires that we choose the "lowest logical fare (LLF)." The way it works is I go into our travel agency website and choose the flights I'd like. Then on the next screen it shows me all the cheaper flights, flagging which ones are in and out of policy. I'm almost always able to find an Alaska option in the LLF category, even though my first choice of flight is often out of policy.

tl;dr version, some Alaska tickets are expensive, some are not.
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Old Feb 15, 2018, 1:04 pm
  #57  
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Originally Posted by nomiiiii
Honestly if alaska didn't have the low price guarantee refunds, i would never even buy on it, given how they don't release the lower fare buckets till the 2-3 month mark (i always buy cash flights far in advance since it helps complement my award travel planning which definitely needs to be booked in far in advance).

At any given time I'm price-tracking (via google flights) dozens of flights and the pattern is obvious - alaska flights are the most expensive till ~3 months out, when they suddenly start matching or undercutting similar routes. This is for mostly any flight route from seattle (where i'm based on), be it up and down the west coast or transcon. The only things they don't under cut are Spirit Airline prices (who fly Seattle to LAX/LAS, but then its spirit), and their flights to the state of alaska (e.g. jetblue/delta are often cheaper), which i suspect is because alaska knows they have a loyal membership up there.
90% of airline passengers buy within 3 months of their flight date, according to AA, which is why they did a 90 day draindown of SABRE when they did their US/AA integration.

It's not unreasonable to assume that people who plan WAAAAAY out (vacations and so on) are somewhat price-insensitive...
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Old Feb 15, 2018, 2:30 pm
  #58  
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Originally Posted by eponymous_coward
90% of airline passengers buy within 3 months of their flight date, according to AA, which is why they did a 90 day draindown of SABRE when they did their US/AA integration.

It's not unreasonable to assume that people who plan WAAAAAY out (vacations and so on) are somewhat price-insensitive...
I don't know if I agree with the 2nd part. When I tell people how I generally do last-minute leisure travel (probably 90% of my travel is booked within a week of leaving) the first question everyone always asks me is, isn't it expensive to book that late? There is a conception out there that flights start out as cheap and get more and more expensive as the dates draw closer, and they are being rewarded for "planning ahead". So I think that very price-sensitive people who don't travel much try to book very far out.

On the other hand, business travel is rarely booked that early (at least for places that I've worked, possibly with the exception of conventions and conferences). But business travelers are probably the least price sensitive since they are not paying.
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Old Feb 15, 2018, 2:34 pm
  #59  
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Originally Posted by VegasGambler
I don't know if I agree with the 2nd part. When I tell people how I generally do last-minute leisure travel (probably 90% of my travel is booked within a week of leaving) the first question everyone always asks me is, isn't it expensive to book that late? There is a conception out there that flights start out as cheap and get more and more expensive as the dates draw closer, and they are being rewarded for "planning ahead". So I think that very price-sensitive people who don't travel much try to book very far out.
... and they often find bad prices because most travel isn't planned too far out. NK, WN and B6 don't even do 335 day schedules in the US- WN just opened up their schedule today through October 1. That's something like 20-30% of the US market where you can't book a flight today for Christmas (so that reduces competition, meaning prices are likely to be higher because it's not like you can buy a WN ticket for SFO-LAS for Christmas yet).

And if you have a vacation budget, well, you find flights that either fit your budget ("Hey, honey, is $500 one way to Hawaii OK?") or not and you don't buy them. If the price fits your budget you're likely to be fairly price-insensitive in that you want the certainty of "hey, I can book the flight now and it's in budget". There's also not a lot of point of selling a seat for chump change 11 months out that you can't sell at T-72 hours especially if competitors (AS is exposed to WN over a lot of their route portfolio) aren't even selling those (or setting their prices) yet.

This is why they pay revenue management folks money, I guess- maximizing airline revenue.

Last edited by eponymous_coward; Feb 15, 2018 at 2:42 pm
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Old Feb 15, 2018, 3:21 pm
  #60  
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Originally Posted by eponymous_coward
... and they often find bad prices because most travel isn't planned too far out.
Oh, yeah, they are wrong. But it's commonly believed that you save money by booking 6 months out. I'm not sure if this used to be true or not (I remember 30+ yrs ago, my mom would book our annual summer vacation at least 6 months out -- no clue if she was actually saving money or getting ripped off. This was back in the travel agent days)

My point is that people who book that far out often ARE price sensitive. So if they see an AS flight for $418 and the same UA flight for $139 they are going to buy the $139 one (even people who aren't particularly price sensitive would probably buy the $139 one)
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