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Why is a longer flight through LAX cheaper than a shorter flight through LAX?

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Old Apr 16, 18, 9:34 pm
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Why is a longer flight through LAX cheaper than a shorter flight through LAX?

I'm trying to go PHX>OGG. I watch the various west coast sales and I can't figure out why (and if I have any options) the flight SMF>LAX>OGG would be significantly cheaper than PHX>LAX>OGG or even (same) LAX>OGG. I see this ALL. THE. TIME. Is there anything I can do to make this work? It seems like I can't miss the SMF>LAX leg or they'll cancel the whole flight, correct? If I call the book, would they give me the more direct routes at the same price? Or can I book online and then call to change?

Last edited by jperiod; Apr 16, 18 at 10:26 pm
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Old Apr 16, 18, 9:38 pm
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Originally Posted by jperiod View Post
If I call the book, would they give me the more direct routes at the same price? Or can I book online and then call to change?
No to both. The fare reflects how they view the particular city pair market in question, not related to distance or routing.
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Old Apr 16, 18, 9:40 pm
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United (and others) have to compete with Alaskaís non-stop Sacramento-Maui.
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Old Apr 16, 18, 9:42 pm
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Originally Posted by jperiod View Post
I'm trying to go PHX>OGG. I watch the various west coast sales and I can't figure out why (and if I have any options) the flight SAC>LAX>OGG would be significantly cheaper than PHX>LAX>OGG or even (same) LAX>OGG. I see this ALL. THE. TIME. Is there anything I can do to make this work? It seems like I can't miss the SAC>LAX leg or they'll cancel the whole flight, correct? If I call the book, would they give me the more direct routes at the same price? Or can I book online and then call to change?
How does PHX>SMF + SMF>LAX>OGG compare to PHX>LAX>OGG?
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Old Apr 16, 18, 10:18 pm
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Originally Posted by AlreadyThere View Post
No to both. The fare reflects how they view the particular city pair market in question, not related to distance or routing.
Exactly. Airfare is not priced (by anybody) on a cost-plus basis (i.e., they don't compute fares by calculating the cost of transportation and adding a markup). Trying to make sense out of airfare will drive you batty. The best that you can do is try to have some flexibility so that you can take advantage of the places that where market is currently cheaper.
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Old Apr 16, 18, 10:28 pm
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Originally Posted by fumje View Post
How does PHX>SMF + SMF>LAX>OGG compare to PHX>LAX>OGG?
I meant SMF originally. Thanks for catching that, I edited my OP.
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Old Apr 16, 18, 10:40 pm
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An interesting case of this, non-cost plus pricing. phenomenon is where AAA-BBB-CCC is cheaper than AAA-BBB. And then that leads to Hidden City Ticketing which makes the airlines unhappy. Consolidated "Hidden City Ticketing Questions"

Last edited by WineCountryUA; Apr 17, 18 at 12:15 am Reason: typo
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Old Apr 16, 18, 11:35 pm
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Originally Posted by WineCountryUA View Post
... is where AAA-BBB-CCC is cheaper than BBB-CCC. And then that leads to Hidden City Ticketing which makes the airlines unhappy.
You've got the last part of that backwards. Hidden city ticketing only plays a part when AAA-BBB-CCC is cheaper than AAA-BBB.

A cheaper BBB-CCC doesn't help, as your ticket is going to be canceled the moment you fail to board AAA.
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Old Apr 17, 18, 12:45 am
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So fly to Sacramento along the way and save money.
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Old Apr 17, 18, 5:54 am
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Originally Posted by jperiod View Post
I meant SMF originally. Thanks for catching that, I edited my OP.
i think this was a helpful suggestion, not a correction. Whatís the cheapest PHX>SMF (on any airline)? Add that to the cost of SMF>OGG and if itís significantly less, book two separate tickets.
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Old Apr 17, 18, 6:12 am
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Originally Posted by txaggiemiles View Post


i think this was a helpful suggestion, not a correction. Whatís the cheapest PHX>SMF (on any airline)? Add that to the cost of SMF>OGG and if itís significantly less, book two separate tickets.
And don't forget to leave plenty of time between connections else you face the wrath of Flyetalk telling you that you should have when you book a single trip on multiple PNRs
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Old Apr 17, 18, 7:40 am
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Originally Posted by txaggiemiles View Post


i think this was a helpful suggestion, not a correction. Whatís the cheapest PHX>SMF (on any airline)? Add that to the cost of SMF>OGG and if itís significantly less, book two separate tickets.
Yes, I know I can do this (and it's definitely cheaper than PHX>OGG or PHX>LAX>OGG), but it takes considerably more time and I'd rather take my chances to find something else. Or just pay more.
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Old Apr 17, 18, 8:49 am
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Originally Posted by jperiod View Post
[I could do something inconvenient but] I'd rather ... just pay more.
And there's your answer!
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