UA No Longer Matching T-Con Mint Fares

Old Oct 30, 18, 12:02 am
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UA No Longer Matching T-Con Mint Fares

Noticed this a few days ago and thought it might just be a brief anomaly while UA was loading fares, but apparently not.

UA is no longer matching B6 Mint fares on the premium t-cons. They are not even publishing a P fare. Cheapest OW fares on the premium t-con routes are now over $1000.

DL is still offering discount fares , AA has matched UA.

Will be interesting to see how this plays out. For me, the cheap P fares almost made up for the decimation of confirmable upgrade space on ps flights.

Last edited by Kacee; Oct 30, 18 at 12:12 am
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Old Oct 30, 18, 12:17 am
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I do see what you mean in general if I look out to early 2019. With that said, it also looks like a lot of the B6 $600 fares are expired too. Their cheapest seems to be closer to $900 now. I do still see some AA $1200 r/t fares for Saturday returns. Will be interesting how much of this holds and if the airlines can successfully fill those seats closer in with more corporate dollars at the higher prices.
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Old Oct 30, 18, 12:34 am
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Originally Posted by adambadam View Post
I do see what you mean in general if I look out to early 2019. With that said, it also looks like a lot of the B6 $600 fares are expired too. Their cheapest seems to be closer to $900 now.
? I see the discount Mint fares all over the place.

B6 publishes a $594 fare for SFO-JFK (Saturday departure, 21 day AP). UA's cheapest published fare SFO-EWR is $1094 (Saturday departure, 21 day AP).
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Old Oct 30, 18, 1:40 am
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Given that this is patently uncompetitive and that they're missing all but the YA- series fares (basically the change to the fare table is that VA- and HA- got deleted), I'm going to go out on a limb and say this is still in error. It took them days to fix that time when even FUA got pulled from SFO-LIH, and who knows whether anyone has reported this to the relevant people yet.

If it sticks, it should make upgrades easy.
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Old Oct 30, 18, 6:39 am
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This is actually not an anomaly and I noticed as early as August that the prices for flights from SFO to EWR have gone up considerably. I keep thinking I must have missed the thread on Flyertalk, but maybe there never was one.

I have not noticed any related increase in upgrade availability either, by the way, so the market seems to be supporting this change, and every flight I have been on has been full up front as usual..

Tim

Last edited by TimInSF; Oct 30, 18 at 9:36 am Reason: clarity
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Old Oct 30, 18, 7:05 am
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I donít think P fares are gone completely - but they certainly have gotten harder to find. I am also noticing an error (I think) on the website - I have seen P-fare bucket available, but .bomb is saying Z is the lowest available fare.
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Old Oct 30, 18, 7:15 am
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I am still seeing competitive fares out of BOS.
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Old Oct 30, 18, 7:47 am
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I noticed the change last Friday. I was saw $550 P fares on Thursday then it disappeared on Friday and hasn't come back. Dates I'm looking at in 2019 still show P bucket available but website is only pricing Z fares for $1,100.
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Old Oct 30, 18, 8:34 am
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Now that Gemini is fully up to speed, I wonder if United is more confident in experimenting with premium cabin pricing in certain markets, or at least dialing back the amount of F/C inventory it releases for advance purchase, deep discount fares.

Originally Posted by Kacee View Post
For me, the cheap P fares almost made up for the decimation of confirmable upgrade space on ps flights.
I suspect this is probably the main reason for the dearth of advance R/now PZ space on the TCONs.

Maybe the pendulum is starting to shift away from selling lots of cheap F in advance to a more moderate strategy?

Last edited by EWR764; Oct 30, 18 at 9:38 am
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Old Oct 30, 18, 9:35 am
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UA is just making it easier for you to requal for 1K, after the devaluing of P, by making it easier for you to buy Z instead!

That said, I think this is another nail in the "overambitious rev control" coffin. TCon just gets added into the same category as TPAC, where competitive fares are difficult to find right now, over the winter.

On the bright side, because UA's fares were so nuts, I was able to book a BR flight on one of their Hello Kitty jets, on a client's dime, because it was actually the cheapest J fare.
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Old Oct 30, 18, 9:49 am
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I suspect the lack of P fares is not an error, given that PN matches Z on these routes now. For UA to aim for fewer overall sales but higher average fares would be an interesting strategy. For corp travelers who can buy C/D fares, the change may be a positive if loads are lower, increasing availability. For premiers with instruments (or lots of excess RDM), the change is positive if these instruments clear more often. However, for corp travelers who book on price, travelers who pay out of pocket, and elites without instruments, the change is a negative. I used to buy P fares OOP on these routes. I won't buy Z and up fares because the value for price isn't there.

However, for UA, they'd probably prefer to keep their highest-paying and most frequent-flying customers happy over lower elites and low spenders, so I see the virtue of the strategy, if we're witnessing the first stages of it being rolled out.

The $1M question is what will TOD pricing on these routes look like now, and how far in advance will instrument supported upgrades clear? It's also noteworthy that the number of RPUs systemwide is likely to drop quite a bit in about 15 months from now, so that will increase the upgrade clearing rate, but at the same time each 1K and GS will have fewer instruments meaning they may have more opportunities to upgrade than they have instruments to burn.

Originally Posted by hirohito888 View Post
I noticed the change last Friday. I was saw $550 P fares on Thursday then it disappeared on Friday and hasn't come back. Dates I'm looking at in 2019 still show P bucket available but website is only pricing Z fares for $1,100.
The fare filing system and fare bucket inventory control system are operated independently, as far as I can tell. Fare buckets available but not for sale also happen around major travel holidays too.

One question I don't know the answer to though is: if PZ inventory follows P, but no P fares are filed, will inventory management eventually open up PZ on an empty J PS cabin even if no P fare can be purchased? (for example, getting to a hypothetical ZN9 PN9 P6 PZ2). Or will the lack of filing a P fare keep PZ zeroed? PZ0 will mean all but GS will have to wait until T24 for instruments to be cleared, which would be a big minus.

Last edited by prometa; Oct 30, 18 at 9:59 am
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Old Oct 30, 18, 10:05 am
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Even if there's no P fare on the nonstop flights, there may be a use for P inventory for connections (e.g., EWR-LAX/SFO-Asia/Australia or LAX/SFO-Europe/TLV/India), so hopefully P will continue to exist. I suppose they could sneak all of the P inventory into married segment availability for those connections, though.
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Old Oct 30, 18, 10:08 am
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PRASM is all that matters.

The legacies all have traffic through NYC to & from Europe in various premium cabins, all of which books into a premium TCON. B6 does not. Add to that: 1. Economy on screech, 2. Corporate contracts willing to pay for premium cabin, 3. contract with legacy makes flying legacy easier, and you get the structure you have.
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Old Oct 30, 18, 10:10 am
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lol UA must have read this thread, because the P fares are now back, with 21 and 30 day AP.
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Old Oct 30, 18, 10:48 am
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Originally Posted by Kacee View Post
lol UA must have read this thread, because the P fares are now back, with 21 and 30 day AP.
Thanks for the update. Now to book the flight I was looking at last week.
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