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Deceptive pricing on connecting itineraries {workaround to married segment pricing}

Deceptive pricing on connecting itineraries {workaround to married segment pricing}

Old Feb 3, 14, 7:15 am
  #1  
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Deceptive pricing on connecting itineraries {workaround to married segment pricing}

What will UA charge on an itinerary with connecting flights? It depends on how you query the systems. The same exact flights can vary by more than 40% in cost depending on the search parameters used. Consider these examples. Which booking would you choose?






And it isn't limited to that market.






Essentially UA doesn't know how to assemble fares for connecting itineraries. Buyer beware.
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Old Feb 3, 14, 7:21 am
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Whenever I need to take a connection on UA I always price the outright connection vs. the individual flights.
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Old Feb 3, 14, 7:36 am
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And here's what the searches look like to generate those differing results (at least for the PIT-PHX itinerary):

Search 1:



Search 2:



Search 3:




The PIT-BWI and BWI-FLL are similar.
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Old Feb 3, 14, 7:39 am
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This is a pretty well-known effect where the faring system does not apply married segments logic when you do a multi-city search. I always search both ways for that reason. I would NOT like to see this fixed, as it creates an accidental windfall for the customer.
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Old Feb 3, 14, 7:45 am
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I sure as heck wouldn't call it "deceptive". It is exactly as shown. Decrptive pricing is where the bill differs from what is offered. One could call it many things, but surely not deceptive.
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Old Feb 3, 14, 7:45 am
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Originally Posted by sbm12 View Post

Essentially UA doesn't know how to assemble fares for connecting itineraries. Buyer beware.
Actually it does - it's doing it to maximize revenue on connections using married segments, and they have been doing this since the merger. In other cases, they'll split fare on 2 different segments instead of a through fare. Nothing new.
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Old Feb 3, 14, 7:58 am
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Originally Posted by mgcsinc View Post
This is a pretty well-known effect where the faring system does not apply married segments logic when you do a multi-city search. I always search both ways for that reason. I would NOT like to see this fixed, as it creates an accidental windfall for the customer.
Right, I think that the correct "fix" for this behavior would only ever cause prices to go up.
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Old Feb 3, 14, 8:00 am
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Originally Posted by mgcsinc View Post
This is a pretty well-known effect where the faring system does not apply married segments logic when you do a multi-city search. I always search both ways for that reason. I would NOT like to see this fixed, as it creates an accidental windfall for the customer.
Where's the windfall for a customer? UA is actively charging more than it should in most cases. How is that in favor of the consumer?? If they say they are offering the cheapest fare and they are not that is hardly creating a windfall. Moreover, the cheaper fare is as a result of it pricing as a "normal" round-trip fare rather than end-on-end of multiple fares. It is backwards from what logic would suggest.

Originally Posted by PTahCha View Post
Actually it does - it's doing it to maximize revenue on connections using married segments, and they have been doing this since the merger. In other cases, they'll split fare on 2 different segments instead of a through fare. Nothing new.
I would agree if the pricing were different for different flights. I get that. Charge me more if I want the more efficient flight by fewer/shorter connections. But if the exact same itinerary can have multiple different prices that's not at all reasonable. This is the airline screwing passengers.
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Old Feb 3, 14, 8:02 am
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This is the airline screwing passengers.
No kidding, welcome to United, Flyer Friendly....
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Old Feb 3, 14, 8:07 am
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UA is certainly not alone. One can find similar examples on the other carriers. Prudent customers need to be smart customers (or employee one of the few remaining smart travel agents).
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Old Feb 3, 14, 8:21 am
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Originally Posted by sbm12 View Post
Where's the windfall for a customer? UA is actively charging more than it should in most cases. How is that in favor of the consumer?? If they say they are offering the cheapest fare and they are not that is hardly creating a windfall. Moreover, the cheaper fare is as a result of it pricing as a "normal" round-trip fare rather than end-on-end of multiple fares. It is backwards from what logic would suggest.
That's an interesting set of examples. IMHO it shows that UA is not honoring its published Customer Commitment.

http://www.united.com/web/en-US/cont...omerfirst.aspx

Advise about lowest available fares
On our website, at our ticket counters and city ticket offices, or when customers call United Reservations to inquire about a fare or reservation, we will tell customers that the lowest fare we offer may be available through one of our other sales channels, if that is the case.


Since airlines offered the Customer Commitment elements in 1999 to forestall legislative requirements, this looks DOT-complaint worthy to me.

http://www.oig.dot.gov/sites/dot/fil.../av2001020.pdf
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Old Feb 3, 14, 8:24 am
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This is a "known known".
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Old Feb 3, 14, 8:25 am
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Originally Posted by sbm12 View Post
Where's the windfall for a customer? UA is actively charging more than it should in most cases. How is that in favor of the consumer?? If they say they are offering the cheapest fare and they are not that is hardly creating a windfall. Moreover, the cheaper fare is as a result of it pricing as a "normal" round-trip fare rather than end-on-end of multiple fares. It is backwards from what logic would suggest.


I would agree if the pricing were different for different flights. I get that. Charge me more if I want the more efficient flight by fewer/shorter connections. But if the exact same itinerary can have multiple different prices that's not at all reasonable. This is the airline screwing passengers.
Huh? UA is not charging more or less than it "should." The married-segments price might be less or more than the alternative on any given flight, but that's what UA is trying to charge, and that's the correct price. Anything else is a mistake. There's no "should" about it...
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Old Feb 3, 14, 8:26 am
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Perhaps the most shocking thing to me is that there is one blogger who a.) still practices investigative journalism, b.) posts about it on FT! ^
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Old Feb 3, 14, 8:27 am
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It's arguably deceptive if you take into account UA's "guarantee" that you will get its lowest available fare booking on .com:

When it comes to finding the lowest United® fare online, we guarantee you will find it on united.com.

What they don't disclose is that their booking engine will not actually show find you the lowest available fare for a connecting route.
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