BA First pricing sudden price hike

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Old Jul 11, 19, 1:16 am
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BA First pricing sudden price hike

I've been looking at booking a flight with BA to PHX from LHR leaving on Thurs 16/1/20 and returning 20/1/20. I normally fly CW but first was only £200 each way more expensive and with free immediate seat booking ( I'm only Blue on Executive Club), saving nearly £200.
Prices for some time have been around £1,100(GBP) outbound and £900 return.

Yesterday the outbound flight went up to a staggering £8,100. I checked the seat allocations and only two seats out of 8 have been allocated in first (it's a Dreamliner), which has been the case for some time.

It is still possible to book a return First for £2,000 via LAX on a 747.

As a final note when using the low price checker on BA.com it says there are no flight available to PHX in First for less that 7 nights stay.

Does anyone understand BA's rationale here or is it a glitch maybe related to the IT problems a few days ago?

My first post and I thank you in advance for reading it.

Regards
Alan
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Old Jul 11, 19, 1:20 am
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Perhaps a number of F flexible tickets were sold.
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Old Jul 11, 19, 1:23 am
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Originally Posted by alanred13 View Post
I've been looking at booking a flight with BA to PHX from LHR leaving on Thurs 16/1/20 and returning 20/1/20. I normally fly CW but first was only £200 each way more expensive and with free immediate seat booking ( I'm only Blue on Executive Club), saving nearly £200.
Prices for some time have been around £1,100(GBP) outbound and £900 return.

Yesterday the outbound flight went up to a staggering £8,100. I checked the seat allocations and only two seats out of 8 have been allocated in first (it's a Dreamliner), which has been the case for some time.

It is still possible to book a return First for £2,000 via LAX on a 747.

As a final note when using the low price checker on BA.com it says there are no flight available to PHX in First for less that 7 nights stay.

Does anyone understand BA's rationale here or is it a glitch maybe related to the IT problems a few days ago?

My first post and I thank you in advance for reading it.

Regards
Alan
Or perhaps seats gone from a certain fare bucket? I had a similar experience earlier this year when I was about to book a trip in F to SFO. Checking the prices in the morning for the preferred dates and it was around 4K euro. When arriving at my travel agent in the afternoon, price had multiplied by over 2 to around 9K. Turned out that taking the return flight one day later, the price became again 4K.
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Old Jul 11, 19, 1:26 am
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I missed this... when did PHX lose the Jumbo in favour of the Dreamliner? Or is it just for winter 19/20?
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Old Jul 11, 19, 1:28 am
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Originally Posted by richardwft View Post
Perhaps a number of F flexible tickets were sold.
There have just been two seats allocated (1A and 1K) throughout the period I've been watching, so no apparent change in loading.
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Old Jul 11, 19, 1:31 am
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Hi.

It is the dreamliner in winter 19/20 then goes to a 777 300 from summer 2020 and from t5

Regards

Tbs
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Old Jul 11, 19, 1:31 am
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Originally Posted by 747_not_777 View Post
I missed this... when did PHX lose the Jumbo in favour of the Dreamliner? Or is it just for winter 19/20?
It's quite recent. When I first looked it was a 747, it was about a month ago that the Dreamliner appeared. I'm guessing that most passengers that fly First would try to avoid a 747 as I assume that have a much older hard product than say a Dreamliner or A380. Interestingly the cheap(£2,000) fare via LAX is on a 747, I though that route was A380's.
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Old Jul 11, 19, 1:38 am
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Originally Posted by alanred13 View Post
There have just been two seats allocated (1A and 1K) throughout the period I've been watching, so no apparent change in loading.
No point in overthinking this. I even wonder whether 1A and 1K are sold, because they would be blocked to a blue member.

BA has simply looked at the loading, decided that it was more likely to sell 1× fully flex F at £8k to someone for whom money is not a concern (or maybe £4k from Prague but whatever) than it is to sell 4× cheap A fares. So an empty cabin with only expensive tickets sold looks preferable - and thus BA has set the price accordingly. A big part of that is that there is not the same level of "shading" in price that you find in economy, or even Club - so that when prices in F jump, they can jump in a big way.
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Old Jul 11, 19, 2:06 am
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Originally Posted by alanred13 View Post
There have just been two seats allocated (1A and 1K) throughout the period I've been watching, so no apparent change in loading.
Just because two seats are shown as taken/blocked in the seat map does not mean that only 2 seats have been sold (or, as someone has stated above, does not necessarily mean that even these seats have actually been selected by passengers).

You (and the bulk of FT contributors) may be the type to immediately select a seat once you've booked a ticket, but many travellers aren't so eager and often don't select a seat at the time of purchase.
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Old Jul 11, 19, 2:20 am
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The seat map gives no information about how many tickets have been sold.
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Old Jul 11, 19, 2:31 am
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Expert flyer shows your outbound as F5A0 which is where your price change has come from. I would guess 4 seats have been sold with BA being willing to oversell by 1 this far out.
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Old Jul 11, 19, 2:37 am
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Welcome to FlyerTalk alanred13 (I see you registered in June, so the standard issue warning about only being allowed 5 posts in your first 24 hours should not apply here )

I suspect Cymro has essentially nailed it here, and that BA revenue management have decided they will get more money from selling (possibly fewer) F bucket fares than filling the cabin with A class ones. Looking at the current availability for the outbound BA289 on Jan 16th 2020, we see:

F5 A0

Meaning BA are willing to sell up to 5 tickets in the higher F bucket, but none in the A bucket, which will correspond to the cheaper fares you were looking at. This may be because they've sold all they were prepared to sell in A, or simply the dark arts of revenue management changing what they make available based on what they think they can sell.

If you look at the Friday 17th, you see:

F6 A1

So they'll still sell you one fairly cheapish First class ticket if that travel date is any use to you, although it is 1300 rather than the 1100 you were seeing before.

Finally as others have pointed out, the seat map does not directly relate to tickets sold, although in the First cabin there is probably a stronger correlation as F tickets come with free seat selection, so more people will probably select at time of purchase. However, even with free selection, some simply won't care. Indeed, the fact they are only selling 5 more F tickets suggests they have sold tickets to some people who are yet to select a seat.

For the specific outbound you were looking at on the 16th, seat 1A is currently allocated and all the others are unallocated. It is even possible that the passenger in 1A bought the last A bucket ticket yesterday and that's why it's no longer available.

(EDIT: And rapidex puts it so much more succinctly!)
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Old Jul 11, 19, 2:38 am
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Originally Posted by rapidex View Post
Expert flyer shows your outbound as F5A0 which is where your price change has come from. I would guess 4 seats have been sold with BA being willing to oversell by 1 this far out.
When you try and book it says there are 5 seats available at this price, so a maximum of 3 have been sold. (8 seat cabin)
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Old Jul 11, 19, 2:42 am
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Originally Posted by alanred13 View Post
When you try and book it says there are 5 seats available at this price, so a maximum of 3 have been sold. (8 seat cabin)
BA oversell First by 1 in certain circumstances as rapidex notes, so it could be 4 tickets sold. We don't have the info to be absolutely sure either way.
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Old Jul 11, 19, 2:54 am
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Originally Posted by rapidex View Post
Expert flyer shows your outbound as F5A0
I've not used ExperFlyer before. Just signed up for the free version. Do you need Pro in order to get the F5A0 information?

Thanks all for the insights.
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