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Price Difference between ITA Matrix & ba.com

Price Difference between ITA Matrix & ba.com

Old May 2, 21, 5:33 am
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Price Difference between ITA Matrix & ba.com

I've been looking at the following flight and stumbled across a pricing difference:
Jan 03, LHR-BOS, BA213, Economy (O)
Jan 10, BOS-LHR, BA238, Economy (O)

ba.com states the fare is £1 + taxes, fees & carrier charges of 3338.82, so a total of £339.82.

ITA Matrix doesn't see the £1 fare (cheapest is £23). Even more surprisingly, it lists taxes, fees & carrier surcharges that are higher than the ba.com total (GBP 347.72):
United States APHIS Passenger Fee Passengers (XA) £2.80
United States Customs User Fee (YC) £4.30
United Kingdom Passenger Service Charge Departures (UB) £40.12
United Kingdom Air Passenger Duty APD (GB) £82.00
United States Immigration User Fee (XY) £5.00
Carrier-imposed surcharge (YQ) £170.00
US International Arrival Tax (US) £27.40
United States Passenger Civil Aviation Security Service Fee(AY) £4.00
US Passenger Facility Charge (XF) £3.20

Anybody have any idea where this difference is coming from?
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Old May 2, 21, 5:44 am
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A travel agent booking BA flights without using the direct BA distribution channel (NDC) have to pay a fee of £11 per fare element. So what you are seeing is £1 + £11 + £11 (one fare component for outbound and return)
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Old May 2, 21, 6:09 am
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This has been the situation for a few years now. Some background here:

BA (and IB) to impose GDS booking fee from 01 Nov 2017
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Old May 2, 21, 8:07 am
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Thank you both, that explains the fare.

But how can BA sell a ticket for £339.82 if the taxes alone are £347.72?
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Old May 2, 21, 8:10 am
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Originally Posted by LCY8737 View Post
Thank you both, that explains the fare.

But how can BA sell a ticket for £339.82 if the taxes alone are £347.72?
Except that £170 is carrier surcharge. The real tax component is somewhat less than £338 as your breakdown shows. A base fare of £1 is quite common, and if BA is in a sale position against Virgin, the base fare of £1 will stay the same, but the carrier surcharge will be reduced instead. Occasionally it's lower for revenue than redemptions, but typically just for NYC, MIA, BOS and sometimes ORD.

Your £347 included the £11 incidentally, if you add up the items listed.
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Old May 2, 21, 8:23 am
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Originally Posted by LCY8737 View Post

But how can BA sell a ticket for £339.82 if the taxes alone are £347.72?
I know there are more complicated reasons, but this is essentially why surcharges exist. Far too many people think they are "taxes".
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Old May 2, 21, 11:23 pm
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Thank you all!!!
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Old May 3, 21, 3:05 am
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Originally Posted by craigthemif View Post
I know there are more complicated reasons, but this is essentially why surcharges exist. Far too many people think they are "taxes".
And far too many BA agents call them “taxes” for ease!
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Old May 3, 21, 4:20 am
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Originally Posted by mikeyfly View Post
And far too many BA agents call them “taxes” for ease!
... which of course they are trained not to do. For a laugh you can call them out on it, it’s often met with an embarrassed chuckle.

What usually actually happens at BA’s end here is that they will have a negative base fare (weird, but true) and a standard YQ across the board. This is because they publish the YQ for use with corporate (and similar) fares, and it’s a standard rate with one tariff. However, online tools and portals are often not built to handle negative fares, so they ‘doctor’ it to show £1 base fare with a modified YQ instead.
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Old May 3, 21, 8:45 am
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Originally Posted by LCY8737 View Post
Even more surprisingly, it lists taxes, fees & carrier surcharges that are higher than the ba.com total (GBP 347.72):
United States APHIS Passenger Fee Passengers (XA) £2.80
United States Customs User Fee (YC) £4.30
United Kingdom Passenger Service Charge Departures (UB) £40.12
United Kingdom Air Passenger Duty APD (GB) £82.00
United States Immigration User Fee (XY) £5.00
Carrier-imposed surcharge (YQ) £170.00
US International Arrival Tax (US) £27.40
United States Passenger Civil Aviation Security Service Fee (AY) £4.00
US Passenger Facility Charge (XF) £3.20
I make the total of these items £338.82, the same as ba.com. So this is an instance in which the difference between ba.com and ITA is exactly the GDS fee - no YQ shenanigans on this occasion.

I try to remember to update the list in the wikipost to that thread from time to time, but haven't been back to it for a while. It looks like the GBP amount is still £11 per fare component (£22 on a standard round-trip), so maybe there has been no increase since the beginning of 2020.
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