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Consolidated "Why is this fare so expensive?" Thread [2012]

Consolidated "Why is this fare so expensive?" Thread [2012]

Old Feb 19, 12, 12:17 am
  #91  
 
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Wait IMHO. In December this past year I booked flights for Jan 2012 and K fares were available for every day of the month.

Edit.....just noticed that you are looking for the opposite direction SYD-US that I booked US-SYD. That's really bad price discrimination if these H fares are as low as the SYD-US fares get in January.

Last edited by LAXOGG; Feb 19, 12 at 12:26 am
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Old Feb 19, 12, 1:22 am
  #92  
 
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Originally Posted by Lurker View Post
I fly US-SYD/MEL many times per year. Often book at 335 day limit (or whatever it is exactly).
Out of interest, why do you book at 335 days? For reward flights doing that make perfect sense (already got my SFO-SYD-SFO XC flights booked for Dec 2012), but I would think it would be cheaper to wait until the flights get at least a little closer before booking, no?

As for the H-only, I've seen that once or twice before at the ~330 mark. All flights seem to load at 9 across the board beyond the allowed booking window, and then around 340 days out they drop back in some fare classes (NC/XC/NF/XF being the obvious ones) while the rest normally stay at 9's. Occasionally (with no pattern I've noticed) they drop most of the classes back to zero, and then a week or two later they are back to where you'd expect them to be.
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Old Feb 19, 12, 1:44 am
  #93  
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Originally Posted by ozstamps View Post
UA cancelled our once a day flight early Jan this year EZE-IAD-SYD. As the PA system was not working in coach - I kid you not.
...
Totally UA's choice the cancellation.
A non-functioning PA system is a significant safety issue. To suggest that they don't need it working to operate is pretty ridiculous.

As to the OP's query, the short answer is that there is no good reason for the company to sell cheap seats this far out. They can nearly always unload more cheap seats if they need/want to, but once the cheap ones are booked it is much harder to drive increased revenue from the remaining seats on the plane. Why sell the discounted goods before you even have a chance to sell something closer to the full price version?
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Old Feb 19, 12, 9:42 am
  #94  
 
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Originally Posted by ljwobker View Post
AUGH! The answer to this question is always the same:

"They're charging what people will spend"
IMHO, the airlines are wrong. The problem is that they analyze pricing based on short term revenue results, i.e. what will maximize revenue on a specific flight. What they should be trying to do is maximize revenue per customer per year.

Their analysis does not measure the long term impact of pricing (the actual price and the hassle and uncertainty of the current fare structure) on customer travel because it's difficult to measure and the impact takes place over an extended period of time.

The net result is that wonks in inventory management are patting themselves on the back because they've crammed 200 people in aircraft and are blithely ignorant of the fact that there are 500 people sitting at home, flying to alternate destinations, or driving because in fact the airlines have mis-priced the fares.
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Old Feb 19, 12, 11:03 am
  #95  
 
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Hmmm

How do you propose maximizing revenue per customer per year? Pie in the sky and not really possible.

If those 200 people are consistently producing the best results, year after year, then the inventory people have done the right thing- and those 500 people are people that UA- and every airline- doesn't need.




Originally Posted by 5khours View Post
IMHO, the airlines are wrong. The problem is that they analyze pricing based on short term revenue results, i.e. what will maximize revenue on a specific flight. What they should be trying to do is maximize revenue per customer per year.

Their analysis does not measure the long term impact of pricing (the actual price and the hassle and uncertainty of the current fare structure) on customer travel because it's difficult to measure and the impact takes place over an extended period of time.

The net result is that wonks in inventory management are patting themselves on the back because they've crammed 200 people in aircraft and are blithely ignorant of the fact that there are 500 people sitting at home, flying to alternate destinations, or driving because in fact the airlines have mis-priced the fares.
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Old Feb 19, 12, 11:07 am
  #96  
 
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Originally Posted by docbert View Post
Out of interest, why do you book at 335 days? For reward flights doing that make perfect sense (already got my SFO-SYD-SFO XC flights booked for Dec 2012), but I would think it would be cheaper to wait until the flights get at least a little closer before booking, no?
Agreed for most situations but for high demand times fares go up as the flight date gets closer. I do this for Australia at Xmas and for my US flights at Thanksgiving. Always book at 330 d mark if possible. Additional reason is to ensure UGs on this very high demand route. At time of release there are "always" 2-9 (typically about 4) seats for UG thru LAX and SFO. Watch those dwindle within the first week that seats become available.

Originally Posted by docbert View Post
As for the H-only, I've seen that once or twice before at the ~330 mark. All flights seem to load at 9 across the board beyond the allowed booking window, and then around 340 days out they drop back in some fare classes (NC/XC/NF/XF being the obvious ones) while the rest normally stay at 9's. Occasionally (with no pattern I've noticed) they drop most of the classes back to zero, and then a week or two later they are back to where you'd expect them to be.
Interesting - thanks. I am going to monitor this one using Yapta and hope for a > $250 drop.

Thanks all.

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Old Feb 19, 12, 11:10 am
  #97  
 
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Originally Posted by jasondc View Post
How do you propose maximizing revenue per customer per year?
Loyalty programs?
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Old Feb 19, 12, 11:38 am
  #98  
 
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Originally Posted by jasondc View Post
How do you propose maximizing revenue per customer per year? Pie in the sky and not really possible.

If those 200 people are consistently producing the best results, year after year, then the inventory people have done the right thing- and those 500 people are people that UA- and every airline- doesn't need.
IMHO, it's actually doable. AA tried this a while back.... cut fares, simplified fare structure, etc. They quit the experiment before they had a chance to see if it worked. The problem in the old days was with paper tickets, travel agents, no TSA requirement to definitively identify the passenger, etc., things were very hard to measure and AA could not do any controlled testing.

Nowadays, it's much easier since you can exactly track an individual passenger's travel/purchase patterns. All you need to do is select sample groups and run some pretty simple test programs... something like the PassPlus program would be a perfect vehicle.... vary/eliminate the up-front deposit, offer it to different customers at varying (reasonable) cpm rates and then check the data at 6,12, and 24 months.

IMHO, a lot of air travel (both business and leisure) has become highly discretionary, and there is a real cost to the time required to navigate the hassles and uncertainty of the current pricing structure. If the airlines made it simpler, they might find that not only does traffic go up, but that average revenue per seat mile goes up as well.

And BTW - It's not a question of only flying the passengers who produce the best result... by that logic you would only have one passenger and ignore everyone else. The trick is to get everyone who who will produce a profit for the airline including the 500 who are sitting at home.
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Old Feb 19, 12, 12:07 pm
  #99  
 
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Originally Posted by 5khours View Post
IMHO, a lot of air travel (both business and leisure) has become highly discretionary, and there is a real cost to the time required to navigate the hassles and uncertainty of the current pricing structure.
This is true for me. If fares were much more expensive, it would make sense for me to take fewer trips (maybe 1-2 per year) and handle the rest via the Internet. But as of now, flying over makes sense.
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Old Feb 19, 12, 12:18 pm
  #100  
 
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Originally Posted by TomA View Post
This is true for me. If fares were much more expensive, it would make sense for me to take fewer trips (maybe 1-2 per year) and handle the rest via the Internet. But as of now, flying over makes sense.
Case in point, I was flying international 120k miles/year on DL until they jacked up J prices and made UGs very difficult. I cut my flying back to 50k miles and started only buying the cheapest economy tickets. After switching to UA (good hard product, reasonable prices to get into J), I'm flying 200k miles and spending at a higher cpm rate. Nothing else has changed
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Old Feb 19, 12, 12:28 pm
  #101  
 
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Loyalty programs increase rev per customer. Whether they work with revenue management is another issue. They don't.


Originally Posted by TomA View Post
Loyalty programs?
The one problem is this- airlines these days are under pressure to maintain capacity discipline. Airline in the past have gotten into trouble by bulking up with larger fleets, marginal hubs, etc to gain share. That has led to the losses we have seen.

These days, airlines are trying something different. Rather than be out there to serve every customer, they are being more disciplined. They've come to the conclusion that they don't need to go after all the traffic- through cPacity discipline, they only need to go after the best customers. Time will tell in the long run whether this works, but UA and DL have seen great results in the last year...



Originally Posted by 5khours View Post
IMHO, it's actually doable. AA tried this a while back.... cut fares, simplified fare structure, etc. They quit the experiment before they had a chance to see if it worked. The problem in the old days was with paper tickets, travel agents, no TSA requirement to definitively identify the passenger, etc., things were very hard to measure and AA could not do any controlled testing.

Nowadays, it's much easier since you can exactly track an individual passenger's travel/purchase patterns. All you need to do is select sample groups and run some pretty simple test programs... something like the PassPlus program would be a perfect vehicle.... vary/eliminate the up-front deposit, offer it to different customers at varying (reasonable) cpm rates and then check the data at 6,12, and 24 months.

IMHO, a lot of air travel (both business and leisure) has become highly discretionary, and there is a real cost to the time required to navigate the hassles and uncertainty of the current pricing structure. If the airlines made it simpler, they might find that not only does traffic go up, but that average revenue per seat mile goes up as well.

And BTW - It's not a question of only flying the passengers who produce the best result... by that logic you would only have one passenger and ignore everyone else. The trick is to get everyone who who will produce a profit for the airline including the 500 who are sitting at home.

Last edited by iluv2fly; Feb 19, 12 at 2:32 pm Reason: merge
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Old Feb 19, 12, 1:21 pm
  #102  
 
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Agree

Originally Posted by jasondc View Post
The one problem is this- airlines these days are under pressure to maintain capacity discipline. Airline in the past have gotten into trouble by bulking up with larger fleets, marginal hubs, etc to gain share. That has led to the losses we have seen.

These days, airlines are trying something different. Rather than be out there to serve every customer, they are being more disciplined. They've come to the conclusion that they don't need to go after all the traffic- through cPacity discipline, they only need to go after the best customers. Time will tell in the long run whether this works, but UA and DL have seen great results in the last year...
It's a fascinating and complex subject. Who knows, but IMO the carriers have gone a bit overboard in their focus on yields/capacity. They've had a favorable tailwind for the last couple of years, and they've been buying some short term revenue at the expense of long term customer sat (revenue?). It will be interesting to see what happens, JSMI indicated in an interview that they're going to be doing a lot more in terms of targeted marketing (i.e. price discrimination). IMHO, there is a lot of money to be made that way if they can get away with it politically. (When the railroads tried it 150 years ago, they ended up with the ICC.)
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Old Feb 20, 12, 7:25 pm
  #103  
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The thing with fares is, they change frequently. Subscribe to a service that watches the fares for you if you have to buy your own. Depending on market and competition, fares can drastically get lower as you get closer to the travel date and some planes have lots of seats to sell. Since my business buys my seats, I don't have this worry. For personal flights, it depends on how locked in I am to certain travel dates. I usually book mileage tickets for personal travel and watch the fares as well. I can redeposit the mileage if need be.
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Old Feb 20, 12, 10:58 pm
  #104  
 
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Super confused/pissed, I'm trying to book my wife a flight to NY for a bridal shower in March, United is showing G9,L9 etc...but when I attempt to book a one-way it books into B for 811 R/T slightly less at around 615 and books into Q...I am lost on this one and really don't want to flip for that when all other buckets are open...anyone have any thoughts? Dates are 03/02 - 03/04 also we need to head up there in May and it's the same crap (I'd like to connect through LA or something for a mini MR )
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Old Feb 20, 12, 11:33 pm
  #105  
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Originally Posted by macdonaldj2 View Post
Super confused/pissed, I'm trying to book my wife a flight to NY for a bridal shower in March, United is showing G9,L9 etc...but when I attempt to book a one-way it books into B for 811 R/T slightly less at around 615 and books into Q...I am lost on this one and really don't want to flip for that when all other buckets are open...anyone have any thoughts? Dates are 03/02 - 03/04 also we need to head up there in May and it's the same crap (I'd like to connect through LA or something for a mini MR )
it is considered poor etiquette (and against the forum rules) to multiple post the same question
http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/unite...l#post18053351
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