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Question: How many of you care only about low fares?

Question: How many of you care only about low fares?

Old Jun 18, 07, 11:38 am
  #1  
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Question: How many of you care only about low fares?

I saw this quote in another thread:

I still hold to my assertion that we have the air travel system we wanted, cheap flights mean lousy service.

When I read it, my first reaction was the punchline to an old Lone Ranger joke. The Lone Ranger and Tonto are surrounded by hostile Indians. The Lone Ranger turns to Tonto and says, "Well, old friend, it looks like we won't make it through this one." Tonto says, "What do you mean, 'we,' white man?"

I certainly never wanted a commercial air travel system that was driven by cheap fares. I don't pick my carriers based on fare. Yes, frequent flier programs have muddied the picture somewhat but, even in the present system where distinguishing between carriers based on service requires measurements involving gnat's eyelashes, there are carriers that I simply would not fly, regardless of how low their fares. I simply don't believe that most frequent fliers and business travelers, the bread-and-butter of the airline industry, are preoccupied with saving a couple of bucks in exchange for an uncomfortable and unpleasant travel experience.

"We" have not gotten the air transport system "we've" asked for -- it is the casual, infrequent flier who has demanded low fares and, in my opinion, is responsible for tight seat pitch, over-stretched fleets, poor customer service, out-sourced call centers, elimination of meals, etc. They are the ones willing to put up with this when it's only on a once-a-year trip to visit grandma. We-who-must-fly-often don't want any of it. I'm certainly willing to pay a reasonable premium for a better experience and, in fact, I do: I fly UA, which tends to charge more but offers a product that I find (or, at least until a year or two ago, found) more comfortable.

So, FTers -- how many of you chase the lowest fare irrespective of carrier? How many, like me, value quality of experience above fare savings?
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Old Jun 18, 07, 12:19 pm
  #2  
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If I only cared about low fares, I'd be on AirTran and Frontier and USAirways a lot more. (In fact I'm never on them.)

For me fares are one aspect of the choose-a-carrier calculus. Along with schedule, service quality, connecting airports, and frequent-flyer miles. Different factors bob to the top of the most-important list at different times. If I flew the lowest fare available on every itin I book I'd have no FF status, but if I insisted on Skyteam every time I'd have no job and no money.

I don't mind paying more than the lowest fare to feed another need (avoiding USAirways or ORD; avoiding a half-day layover or three-plane trip; avoiding a long RJ segment). What I do mind is paying more and getting less in the way of service and amenities, which is increasingly the story on NW, for example.

The airline industry's communal race to the bottom is in my mind a huge strategic mistake -- akin to every restaurant chain on earth cutting out cutlery and waiter service because McDonald's is successful. There is a market for air travel products based on other factors beside the lowest price -- most of us prove it every day. I just don't like enduring terrible prison-plane service and then being told I (the customer) "asked for it."
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Old Jun 18, 07, 12:24 pm
  #3  
 
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It depends...

I'm a FT student working quasi-FT. I don't have the disposable income that some of you do. I do look for low fares but the cheapest flight isn't always my choice for several reasons:
a) I like to fly out of HPN-it's a hell of a lot more convenient than JFK/EWR/LGA so I'm willing to pay a few $ more for the convenience (plus it often evens out in gas/tolls/time
b) being in school, I sometimes have to fly at certain times
c) I love Skyteam. I'll choose them when I can, even at a slightly higher premium.

That said, I'm short and of an average size--I fit fine in coach and since I sleep most flights, I don't care about business/first. I'm comfortable in coach. I'd rather spend the money on something else. Then again, I prefer hostels to fancy hotels as well.

As for whether I'm an FF or infrequent....I consider myself a fairly frequent flyer. Again, not as often as some people here, but certainly I fly regularly. Flown 118K+ miles that I can remember/record in six years, define that as you like

I'm also a fan of bus and train travel when appropriate. I travelled around Australia by bus so perhaps all that time on Greyhound made coach more 'roomy'
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Old Jun 18, 07, 1:44 pm
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For work I just want reasonable fares.. since I fly AA I want reasonable fares on AA

for pleasure I prefer AA and will give them the benefit of the doubt to a limit

however a low fare will get me to go somewhere I would never have gone before.. it will get me to go on any airline.. however AA low fares have a greater chance of me going.. need those eqms..

so I'd say I"m a low fare guy.. service is going to suck anyway.. so the fares might as well be low.. these things are like taxes.. once they get you to accept this level of service (or accept this type of tax or toll) they are not going to improve the service even if they can increase the fare.. or in the tax or toll example.. once you start paying a certain type of tax.. you will keep paying it as way long after the reason for it is paid for..

so keep the fares low and me going places
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Old Jun 18, 07, 2:11 pm
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Originally Posted by TrojanHorse View Post
For work I just want reasonable fares.. since I fly AA I want reasonable fares on AA

for pleasure I prefer AA and will give them the benefit of the doubt to a limit

...
however AA low fares have a greater chance of me going.. need those eqms..
...
Switch UA for AA and that pretty much describes me.
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Old Jun 18, 07, 2:13 pm
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Iíll quickly agree with BearX220ís verbiage about fares being one aspect of a number of factors I consider. Some additional points Iíll make are:
- When on vacation, for short sub 2hr flights Iíll probably focus more on price (but not sacrifice on connections, timeliness, and safety) than on a cross continental or overseas flight.
- Iím surprised there have not been more carriers offering ďeconomy plusĒ seating
- Iíve found the three charters/discount carriers that Iíve used to fly to Europe to have been very decent compared to my flights on Air Canada and Northwest.
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Old Jun 18, 07, 2:21 pm
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I fly more than 60,000 to 70,000 miles per year, primarily for pleasure. Just about all of my travel is on AA because in general they fly direct to where I want to go from EWR/LGA/JFK and I will go when the fare is reasonable or low because I really don't need to go to South Beach or Chicago per se.

Also do classic MRs on Saturdays, typically in the fall, winter, and spring when there is somewhat less demand, fares are cheaper, and the once a year Ma and Pa Kettle and their eight children crowd are not taking their summer vacations. Will often then pay to UPG at $30 per 500 miles or use stickers when available. While these may not be destinations that I would typically visit (or in some instances just see the city's airport) it can be a good adventure. I often spend most of the day sitting in a F class seat, comfortable and reading or listening to music and often striking up a good conversatio with an enjoyable FA. It beats a day at work or spending my Saturday scrubbing my tiolet.
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Old Jun 18, 07, 2:25 pm
  #8  
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Originally Posted by PTravel View Post
it is the casual, infrequent flier who has demanded low fares
I think you are discounting the ability of large corporations to demand low fares. I would guess business travelers on lowest cost policies drive the market much more than once-a-year flyers.

While I will pay more for leisure travel to fly a better airline/less connections/etc. my employer will only allow me so much leeway. I canít say I blame them. I wouldnít want companies that I own stock in spending money on making a business traveler slightly more comfortable on a domestic flight. I want that money invested in the business!
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Old Jun 18, 07, 3:15 pm
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Originally Posted by PTravel View Post
I don't pick my carriers based on fare ..... there are carriers that I simply would not fly, regardless of how low their fares.
seconded. On flights up to 2-max 3h I usually fly economy on "quality" airlines (if you can still use that word today with a good conscience, definitely not LCCs like Southwest, Ryanair etc), beyond that First on US domestic, Business in the rest of the world - both for business and pleasure.
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Old Jun 18, 07, 3:24 pm
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Airline, schedule, seats, etc all play into the numbers before I look at fares.

For Hotels it's often the same thing.

I'll willingly pay more for getting some of those at preferred venders, times, etc.

Personal or Business, I'm very rarely at the absloute lowest available fare, because I choose not to be.
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Old Jun 18, 07, 6:27 pm
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I am self employed and always go for the lowest possible fare for both my own business travel and that of my employees. I cannot justify giving up a portion of my profits on the airline commodity..especially on domestic carriers.

For myself I'm even cheaper I basically found FT out of my search for the lowest possible fare and use the hints and great fares I find on the milage run forum for my leisure travel.

I have been flying for 45 years, I've flown in all classes and on most of the worlds airlines. To me airline travel is like buying gas for my vehicles, a necessity but a fungible product that I insist on paying the lowest price for.

I personally derive far more pleasure from paying the lowest possible price for a trip than I do from where I sit in the plane.
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Old Jun 18, 07, 7:31 pm
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I'm self-employed, too, but while I try to avoid paying high fares, that's not my only consideration.

On a short-haul flight of 2-3 hours, I can put up with anything.

If two airlines are within $100-200 of each other on a long-haul flight, though, I'll choose between them on the basis of service. Twelve hours in coach is bad enough, but it's even worse with a cramped seat, bad food, too little in the way of beverage service, and FAs who act as if the pax are a nuisance. If one airline offers better service on a certain route than another, that's what I'll take.
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Old Jun 18, 07, 7:56 pm
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I chase low price to a certain point. If the routing is incompatible with my schedule, or I do not feel safe on the airline, low price is of no use to me.

That said, I disagree with the assertion that low price equals to low quality of service. The airline industry has a high barrier to entry, and thus competitions cannot arise overnight even if someone has a great idea to try. Since foreign airlines are able to out-compete US airlines both on price and service, I suspect new business models will come about to provide American customers with a choice to counter the trend toward LCCs. The principles of free market does indeed work, it's just that in the not-so-fluid airline industry, it'll take a while.
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Old Jun 18, 07, 8:18 pm
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I never said I was comfortable. Haha
At least once every 3 months I do jfk-sin,bkk or mnl and back. 15+ hours in Y usually on CX but sometimes CI or SQ depending on price and a 4 hour flight from SLC, BZN or LAS to JFK at the biginning and end I'm far to big for the seats and these old bones really hate it.

For me it works fine but I'd never recommend it for others
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Old Jun 18, 07, 8:19 pm
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Originally Posted by bhmlurker View Post
I chase low price to a certain point. If the routing is incompatible with my schedule, or I do not feel safe on the airline, low price is of no use to me.
I'm probably reading too much into your statement, but are you implying that there is an airline whose super-low fares require them to compromise on safety?
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