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"One ticket left at this price" with none of the seats taken?

"One ticket left at this price" with none of the seats taken?

Old Feb 20, 20, 9:18 pm
  #1  
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"One ticket left at this price" with none of the seats assigned?

I'm booking a trip from WA to CA for May to attend a conference. I checked the price of my itinerary on delta.com last week. Routing A and C were cheaper than the rest, and I remember seeing that none of the seats in First were taken.

Just today, Routing A and C is displaying as "One ticket left at this price" even though none of the seats are taken/ assigned. I found it strange that there is "one left" even though "none" of the seats are showing as assigned. Could there be bookings with no assigned seats?

Last edited by hikouki; Feb 20, 20 at 9:33 pm
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Old Feb 20, 20, 9:39 pm
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Originally Posted by hikouki View Post
Could there be bookings with no assigned seats?
Basic Economy, for one
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Old Feb 20, 20, 9:49 pm
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Fare class availability can come and go, depending on their changing outlook of demand.
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Old Feb 20, 20, 9:50 pm
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Fare bucket availability doesn’t have to correlate with number of sold seats — perhaps they expect many business travelers closer to the flight, so they withhold a lot of inventory from lower fare classes. And yes, people can be ticketed on the flight without an assigned seat — although in reality, I don’t think this happens very much outside of BE, which won’t matter for first.
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Old Feb 21, 20, 12:04 am
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Originally Posted by hikouki View Post
I'm booking a trip from WA to CA for May to attend a conference. I checked the price of my itinerary on delta.com last week. Routing A and C were cheaper than the rest, and I remember seeing that none of the seats in First were taken.

Just today, Routing A and C is displaying as "One ticket left at this price" even though none of the seats are taken/ assigned. I found it strange that there is "one left" even though "none" of the seats are showing as assigned. Could there be bookings with no assigned seats?
One available at this price doesn't mean they won't make more available later. In recent history I bought a ticket in first for a trip that showed the one left at this price message. Sure enough, the price went up right after I bought. The price went right back down to the price I got once it had been 2 days after I bought my ticket, and again there was only "one ticket left at this price."
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Old Feb 21, 20, 12:06 am
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FYI, sometimes the next price is just $5 more. If you want to find out what the next price is, simply change your search to 2 passengers. If it turns out to be a trivial increase, then you needn't worry much about the "1 left" warning
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Old Feb 21, 20, 12:33 am
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For each flight, an airline decides how much inventory to make available in various “fare buckets” based on how full the flight is, how close to departure it is, and other factors (like whether they feel they need to reserve seats for an over sale or IROPS situation).

”one seat left at this price” means “one seat is left in this fare bucket right now”, at the price displayed. It means it is only currently possible to book one seat at the price shown, but it doesn’t mean that more seats aren’t available at a higher price. Also, it doesn’t mean things can’t change - seats are often held temporarily during the booking process to avoid selling out while someone is checking out, for example; this can cause prices to temporarily spike until the availability is released (explaining some of the behavior people often wrongly attribute to “clearing cookies” or “using private mode”).

Availability changes minute by minute, as do fares, so if you don’t like the current situation, you can always hope more seats are released in the future for a low fare bucket...
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Old Feb 21, 20, 4:22 am
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I always check inventory the day after I buy any ticket as often the price has gone down or 2 seats are now available at the lower fare bucket as DL allows free cancellations until midnight the following day.
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Old Feb 21, 20, 4:46 am
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Originally Posted by dlflyer00 View Post
And yes, people can be ticketed on the flight without an assigned seat — although in reality, I don’t think this happens very much outside of BE, which won’t matter for first.
Actually BE/main cabin sales do matter for many F fares now.

A lot of F fares now require dual inventory checks - so a Z fare may only be available if a V fare is also available at the same time in main.

Well, if there is only one economy ticket left i the dual inventory check that some fare rules now require on DL, this could also inhibit additional F availability in the low buckets.

This is mainly to avoid F pricing below Y due to varying cabin demand, basically ensuring F is always sold higher than the same available price for Y on that same routing (again, it’s not on all routes - yet - but is applied to many routes already)
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Old Feb 21, 20, 7:47 am
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Originally Posted by btonkid12345 View Post
Actually BE/main cabin sales do matter for many F fares now.

A lot of F fares now require dual inventory checks - so a Z fare may only be available if a V fare is also available at the same time in main.
I'm pretty sure the "x tickets left at this price" display does not follow through the dual inventory check.

That being said, nothing at all unusual about a flight with none sold in F and Z1 inventory.
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Old Feb 21, 20, 7:49 am
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Just to explain this another way, availability for a flight in FC might show (on ExpertFlyer) as J9 C9 D9 I7 Z1, which means they'll sell at least 9 seats in J/C/D fare classes, up to 7 in I and only 1 at a Z fare. Ignoring the dual inventory check mentioned above for simplicity (and I'm not really sure how it factors into the warning), this is what will trigger the "One seat left at this fare". It has nothing really to do with how many seats have already been sold (well, it may be related, but it's more based on how Delta is managing the revenue for the flight), and of course the seat map isn't typically a good indicator of how many seats have been sold, although in domestic first class it usually is fairly reliable. As also mentioned, if you search for 2 passengers, it will only show you the "I" fare, so you can at least see what the price is.

And of course, this can happen with economy fares as well (e.g., Y9 B9 M9 H5 K1, etc.)
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Old Feb 21, 20, 8:13 am
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Originally Posted by findark View Post
I'm pretty sure the "x tickets left at this price" display does not follow through the dual inventory check.
It absolutely does. The x tickets left at this price is one of the few things that DL IT gets correct - probably because it creates revenue by incentivizing purchases.

Originally Posted by ijgordon View Post
Ignoring the dual inventory check mentioned above for simplicity (and I'm not really sure how it factors into the warning)
Because Y seats being sold can cause lower F buckets to run out as well.

If they have 1 seat in main cabin left in the fare class that allows a Z fare in F, then it will restrict it to Z1. If the main cabin had, for example, V2, then the dual inventory check (note there are other checks too, which must be passed) would pass and it could have allowed Z2, if there was more deeply discounted F inventory.

Again, this is because DL doesn’t want to sell F for less than Y, and without a dual inventory check, the algorithm was calculating supply and demand for the different cabins as if they were two different planes, and sometimes led to F sales for less than Y sales (on the same routing, where Y demand was high but F demand was low).
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Old Feb 21, 20, 8:40 am
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Looking at seat maps is a useless way to see how busy a flight is

Not everyone will select a seat at the moment of booking and some people just don't care and will sit where the airline puts them.

What it does mean is that those who do select seats at booking have a better choice than those that don't
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Old Feb 21, 20, 9:33 am
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I should note, someone suggested that the fare allocation might result from a hold on a ticket while someone books it. I can tell you Delta does not do this. I was in the middle of booking (I had picked outbound and return flight and then when it loaded the summary page it told me they could not book my ticket and made me start over at a higher price). I reached out to Delta and they said it wouldn't even hold it for any amount of time if I were already on the summary page, but rather the price can change at any moment up until the point you have a confirmation number.
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Old Feb 21, 20, 10:06 am
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Originally Posted by flyerfirsts View Post
I should note, someone suggested that the fare allocation might result from a hold on a ticket while someone books it. I can tell you Delta does not do this. I was in the middle of booking (I had picked outbound and return flight and then when it loaded the summary page it told me they could not book my ticket and made me start over at a higher price). I reached out to Delta and they said it wouldn't even hold it for any amount of time if I were already on the summary page, but rather the price can change at any moment up until the point you have a confirmation number.
While Delta does not allow holds, any airline that does will validate inventory availability when the hold is requested and account for that hold in their inventory management. Otherwise, someone would be able to game the system if they wanted to book more seats than were available in a particular fare bucket by requesting multiple hold's for the same fare quote.
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