Systematic price drop inside T-24 hours

Old Feb 10, 21, 11:41 am
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Systematic price drop inside T-24 hours

I was booking a short-notice LAX-OAK trip this week and I noticed a fare oddity that's new to me. The current-day fares were 1/3 lower than the fares for the following 2 days. I have never seen Tuesday fares lower than Wednesday fares.

That was weird enough. Overnight and the next morning the oddity repeated. The formerly high fares dropped, first on the early flights and then on later flights. The fares for the following 2 days remained high.

I suspect Southwest is running a revenue experiment in this market. If only they would re-run that 55 points per dollar award pricing experiment from years ago!
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Old Feb 11, 21, 3:19 am
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I've never been a fan of Southwest jacking up the prices to an absurd degree in the 1-2 weeks before departure, so I hope that's changing.
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Old Feb 11, 21, 7:54 am
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Originally Posted by m907 View Post
I've never been a fan of Southwest jacking up the prices to an absurd degree in the 1-2 weeks before departure, so I hope that's changing.
No one is a fan, but that used to work its magic on Business travel. Now that the Business travel is not yet back, they might try something different, until they can adjust the system to what it was in 2019. Of course Revenue Management Systems are lost at the moment, as historic s are worth nothing due to the Pandemic.
You will not sell the flight the same way you sold them two year ago, as your demand has completely morphed/changed. Now the booking pace is soooo short due to travelers being afraid of restrictions, like with the International come back PCR Test Mandate. Just look at the UK, that was selling summer 2021 vacations like hot cakes, just to have the government tell the entire group of nations (Great Britan & NI) to stop planning for the summer, as they will not be allowed either to go out or to even come back with heavy penalties or hotel quarantines. How can one Price and Revenue Manage for that if you are EasyJet or Ryanair ...

​​​​​​https://www.cnn.com/travel/article/u...021/index.html

One thing is for sure, WN is and has always been the BEST with complimentary changes and cancellations without fees. that gives you peace of mind and now all legacies have ended up copying WN policies.
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Old Feb 11, 21, 2:44 pm
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Originally Posted by carlitos View Post

One thing is for sure, WN is and has always been the BEST with complimentary changes and cancellations without fees. that gives you peace of mind and now all legacies have ended up copying WN policies.
If only all the legacies would copy WN policies regarding checked baggage.
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Old Feb 11, 21, 2:53 pm
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With plenty of empty seats, one can expect good deals close-in. However, empty seats also means fewer frequencies.
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Old Feb 11, 21, 7:23 pm
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Originally Posted by carlitos View Post
One thing is for sure, WN is and has always been the BEST with complimentary changes and cancellations without fees. that gives you peace of mind and now all legacies have ended up copying WN policies.
Southwest allows changes for free, but never allowed standby travel where the legacies did. I often could have jumped on an earlier flight after a meeting, but didn't since I had to pay the full walk up fare difference.
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Old Feb 12, 21, 3:38 am
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Originally Posted by m907 View Post
I've never been a fan of Southwest jacking up the prices to an absurd degree in the 1-2 weeks before departure, so I hope that's changing.
A lot of this is driven by the advance purchase requirements of the various fares (at 21, 14, 10, 7, and 3 days out). The legacy airlines do the same thing. For awhile right after Covid hit, they were publishing heavily discounted fares with no advance purchase requirements just to try to fill seats. But they have since reverted to the cheaper fares requiring purchase further out, so that even lightly loaded flights will not have cheap fares available for close-in purchase. The cheapest published fares on LAX-OAK that have no advance purchase requirement are $164 WGA, $202 Anytime, and $232 BS which can be found on ExpertFlyer. That said, there seems to be some sort of discount unpublished fare on this route with no advance purchase requirement as there is a flight today for $108 Anytime, and $168 BS, so perhaps that is what OP is seeing.
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Last edited by xliioper; Feb 13, 21 at 10:06 am
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Old Feb 13, 21, 5:58 am
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Originally Posted by xliioper View Post
A lot of this is driven by the advance purchase requirements of the various fares (at 21, 14, 10, 7, and 3 days out). The legacy airlines do the same thing. For awhile right after Covid hit, they were publishing heavily discounted fares with no advance purchase requirements just to try to fill seats. But they have since reverted to the cheaper fares requiring purchase further out, so that even lightly loaded flights will not have cheap fares available for close-in purchase. The cheapest published fares on LAX-OAK that have no advance purchase requirement are $164 WGA, $202 Anytime, and $232 BS which can be found on ExpertFlyer. That said, there seems to be some sort of discount unpublished fare on this route with no advance purchase requirement as there is a flight today for $108 Anytime, and $168 BS.
I know they all do it, but Southwest goes up to 10x the normal fare, whereas the others are more like 2-4x.
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Old Feb 14, 21, 1:36 pm
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Originally Posted by m907 View Post
I know they all do it, but Southwest goes up to 10x the normal fare, whereas the others are more like 2-4x.
Your post got me thinking. The lower sub 24 hours fare could be an attempt to increase the number of customers who buy up to change their flight time on the day of travel.

As you said, customers are unlikely to buy up from $49 to $200, which was the choice I faced for many years. Buying up from $39 to $108 is much easier to accept. That was exactly my situation last week and I paid it (due to having a Companion with me). Chalk up one win for this fare experiment.
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Last edited by nsx; Feb 14, 21 at 1:44 pm
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Old Feb 14, 21, 3:10 pm
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Originally Posted by carlitos View Post
One thing is for sure, WN is and has always been the BEST with complimentary changes and cancellations without fees. that gives you peace of mind and now all legacies have ended up copying WN policies.
Um, it depends on how old you are. I remember that time when, like today, the other major carriers did NOT charge change fees (in the 1980's).
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Old Feb 14, 21, 7:27 pm
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Originally Posted by formeraa View Post
Um, it depends on how old you are. I remember that time when, like today, the other major carriers did NOT charge change fees (in the 1980's).
That is what happens when you become geedy, you end up racking billions, until a pandemic hits and you are force to take it back. Sad they did.

"Southwest allows changes for free, but never allowed standby travel where the legacies did"

Also, I am able to stand by for free (untilt end of 2020, now some minor taxes) on WN as an A-List ... so basically, you can if there are more than one flight each day on your route. I know, as a 1K, I can also do that, but only when flying solo, as I always book my companion on WN !!!
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Old Feb 14, 21, 8:02 pm
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Originally Posted by carlitos View Post
That is what happens when you become geedy, you end up racking billions, until a pandemic hits and you are force to take it back. Sad they did.

"Southwest allows changes for free, but never allowed standby travel where the legacies did"

Also, I am able to stand by for free (untilt end of 2020, now some minor taxes) on WN as an A-List ... so basically, you can if there are more than one flight each day on your route. I know, as a 1K, I can also do that, but only when flying solo, as I always book my companion on WN !!!
What is your recent experience with using standby as an A-List with companion? I had thought the most recent reports were that you have to pay the fare difference for the primary traveler, but your experience sounds like just some extra taxes?

I'm not sure how, but in my experience I've always been trying to get onto a wide open flight, and it was easy and free - we usually even got our boarding passes immediately. I was pretty bummed to hear that date differences will apply in the future...
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Old Feb 20, 21, 4:42 pm
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I was scheduled to fly SMF -> SAN Friday, last flight of the day. Thursday I checked to see what the earlier flight was and there was no availability. Friday I checked again and there was availability in all three fare types (including WGA), the cheapest of which was quite reasonable. I was surprised they would hold back and then release availability like that.
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Old Feb 20, 21, 6:12 pm
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Originally Posted by nsx View Post
Your post got me thinking. The lower sub 24 hours fare could be an attempt to increase the number of customers who buy up to change their flight time on the day of travel.

As you said, customers are unlikely to buy up from $49 to $200, which was the choice I faced for many years. Buying up from $39 to $108 is much easier to accept. That was exactly my situation last week and I paid it (due to having a Companion with me). Chalk up one win for this fare experiment.
Another factor is that people who buy a non-BS ticket inside T-24 lose any boarding priority they had. A-listers can board before B1, but everyone else would need to pay $40 or whatever to board early.

That said, when I've seen these lower fares appear, BS is also discounted approximately equaling what the WGA fare was hours earlier. If you felt the need to board early a last-minute BS purchase with its higher points earning might be the deal for you.
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Old Feb 22, 21, 6:42 am
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Originally Posted by m907 View Post
I know they all do it, but Southwest goes up to 10x the normal fare, whereas the others are more like 2-4x.
Might be true in some cases... but most of the others have marginal cancel options, if any. (unless you buy fully refundable)
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