Fare perception

 
Old Jan 2, 05, 10:55 pm
  #1  
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Fare perception

I always wondered why NW and the majors show their fares a certain way, and so called LCC's another way.

For example, a DTW-BWI fare on NWA.COM is listed at $168.40 (which is $137.67 base fare, $30.73 in taxes). This works out to $68.83 base fare each way, which is a very good fare.

Now, if you were to shop a similar fare at say Southwest.com, you get a very different presentation. Issues of non-stops and connecting in MDW aside, it shows the fares as (oddly enough), $68.84 each way.

From a general view, it appears to the untrained fare shopper that the S/W fare is cheaper, but in actuality its higher (because of taxes).

My question is, why doesn't NWA display fares in such a manner? I know that certain fares have to have part of the tax included, and that NWA has a different fare structure, but why not make the fares look better to potential shoppers, who might balk at $168 roundtrip but suddenly think that $68 each way is a deal.
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Old Jan 2, 05, 11:17 pm
  #2  
 
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i prefer the totaly price that i'll pay. i find it disappointing and a bit misleading when you add it all up in the end the SW way of doing this.
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Old Jan 2, 05, 11:33 pm
  #3  
 
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My immediate response is, "Thank goodness NW & other majors don't use the "teasing / gottcha" price method." To me, providing the 'all in' price is Much more appealing than misleading, waste my time "bargain" pricing methods.

I detest "bait & switch" price schemes & that's what I personally consider the misleading pricing tactic of advertising a price that has little tiny print stating "plus taxes & fees"

A fare is only very good when the Total is very good.
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Old Jan 2, 05, 11:33 pm
  #4  
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I too prefer the NW way to fare display, I'm just curious as to why they do that. For example, when you buy a car, they only show you the base price, and not a tax inclusive price; it would be in their best interests in some regards to show a pre tax fare, but I respect their decision to show the all inclusive fare.

Originally Posted by NOLAnwGOLD
i prefer the totaly price that i'll pay. i find it disappointing and a bit misleading when you add it all up in the end the SW way of doing this.
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Old Jan 3, 05, 12:00 am
  #5  
 
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Reality: airlines lie about fares

Originally Posted by havaloc
I always wondered why NW and the majors show their fares a certain way, and so called LCC's another way.

For example, a DTW-BWI fare on NWA.COM is listed at $168.40 (which is $137.67 base fare, $30.73 in taxes). This works out to $68.83 base fare each way, which is a very good fare.

Now, if you were to shop a similar fare at say Southwest.com, you get a very different presentation. Issues of non-stops and connecting in MDW aside, it shows the fares as (oddly enough), $68.84 each way.

...

My question is, why doesn't NWA display fares in such a manner? I know that ... NWA has a different fare structure, but why not make the fares look better to potential shoppers, who might balk at $168 roundtrip but suddenly think that $68 each way is a deal.
The simple answer to your question is that Southwest will actually sell you a one-way ticket at a discounted price, whereas Northwest won't.

As I'm sure you know, the traditional carriers normally offer their best discounts in conjunction with round-trip travel and a Saturday night stay. There are exceptions, such as US Airways' GoFares, Air Canada's Tango/Fun/Latitude/Freedom fares, and Delta's forthcoming arrangement. The exceptions came about because of competition from low-fare carriers.

The Department of Transportation regulates the advertisement of fares, including the presentation of fares on Web sites. If Northwest wanted to display one-way DTW-BWI fares, the airline would either have to show $480 (!) or show $77 with a "clear and conspicuous", "prominent and proximate" disclosure of the round-trip purchase requirement. (Sample fares for February 1, 2005, including taxes and fees.)

DOT's Industry Letters expose some of the common tricks that airlines use when presenting fares. The presentation you're suggesting is honest for Southwest but would be dishonest for Northwest.

Paul Marcelin-Sampson
Santa Cruz, California, USA

P.S.: Southwest plays games too. Some of its discounts carry a round-trip purchase requirement.

P.P.S.: Though DOT's Industry Letters suggest a get-tough approach, violations are still rampant. Just ask the Christmas elves at SAS.
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Old Jan 3, 05, 1:31 am
  #6  
 
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I also much prefer the all-in approach. I hate having to go through multiple steps with WN or FL to get a fare quote.

But I think the answer is that NW does advertise its fares using the cheaper method. Just look at www.nwa.com today, and you'll see things like "Europe from $144, taxes fees and restrictions apply." Likewise, AA has all those billboard ads in airports saying "I flew AA to Timbuktu for $20" with an asterisk saying "one-way, exclusive of taxes, YMMV, enjoy the Bistro, etc." And then there are the periodic BA "$99" NYC-LON specials, which always end up being way over $300 with all the crazy UK taxes.

It's just that the majors present their actual search results to customers in the format that makes it most usable (i.e., easiest to book), rather than the format that makes it "look" cheapest.

Try usairways.com if you want to see a whole other system. You can either do a travelocity-style "search for the best fare regardless of date" search (which is actually quite helpful), or you can pick specific flights (not just dates) and see what fare pops up. Trying to get the cheapest flights on your dates requires guess-and-check.
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