PE costs more than Polaris

Old Jan 6, 19, 8:08 am
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PE costs more than Polaris

Was looking at PE for going to Barcelona in June and Polaris is cheaper than PE!?? Is this correct or an error
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Old Jan 6, 19, 8:46 am
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Probably not an error. The lower fare buckets (R on outbound and A/R on return) of Premium Plus are not available. Yet, a lower business fare bucket (Z) is available on outbound and return.
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Old Jan 6, 19, 11:37 am
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not at all unusual. I have seen plenty where coach was more than business.
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Old Jan 6, 19, 11:59 am
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The PE pricing is ridiculous at the moment including award redemptions, I've seen it everywhere. Some flights asking 120k award miles for PE (one-way). I don't know what they're thinking.
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Old Jan 6, 19, 12:20 pm
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Originally Posted by TA View Post
I don't know what they're thinking.
$$$
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Old Jan 6, 19, 12:33 pm
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It is an anomaly and suggests the algorithm for selling PE is askew.

Last night I confirmed a GPU into Polaris on a flight that was PZ9 RN0 . . . so you could confirm Polaris business but only waitlist for Premium Plus
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Old Jan 6, 19, 12:40 pm
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Glad I can hold off in booking many of my 2019 trips until end of February beginning of March.
Hopefully UA's pricing has "settled down" by then.
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Old Jan 6, 19, 2:04 pm
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While such a fare inversion is silly---no one would purchase the more expensive PE fare over a J fare unless the ticket is significantly more flexible---I suspect that the high prices are not an accident. I would bet that UA is hoping to charge a lot for these seats (that the $$/sq ft will average much more than economy, and maybe even higher than J).

I suspect some business travelers who used to purchase J seats are now going to be required to purchase PE. If the prices are high enough, those "downgrades" can be a win for UA. Who knows... over time, we may see a net migration of seats own from J and into PE.

It's interesting to me that the new PE seats are really just an updated and less comfortable version of the Pan Am business class ("Clipper Class") seats from the 80's (as I experienced when I was a kid and my dad's company flew us to Asia back in the day).

Ever since UA announced PE, I've felt that this could be the first step in the industry going back to the way things were at that time. J will be the new F, PE the new J, but the PE prices will be the same as the current J.
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Old Jan 6, 19, 2:15 pm
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This happened a lot with AC when they rolled out premium economy, and still happens to some extent. The cabins' inventories are managed differently.

Just this morning I was looking at a UA flight that was Z9 P0 Yx Bx M0. Z was a couple dollars more than B. If there had been P space, it would have been cheaper.

On AC, between the three cabins, I've seen situations where prices are completely inverted (Y $1500, PY $1300, J $1200), and every combination of absurdity. Excluding mistake fares, it's usually because of something like J9 P9 O9 A5 R0 Y3 B0.
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Old Jan 6, 19, 2:59 pm
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They only have 3 RBD's for PE, while they have 5 for J and >10 for Y, making PE the hardest to differentiate, basically they're limited to low flex/mid flex/high flex with appropriate discount levels.

On the domestic market, they use differentials to prevent these shenanigans from happening, with premium cabin fares requiring dual inventory to prevent lowest F from ever being cheaper than lowest Y. However, INTL has 3 cabins, so to make sure lowest J is always higher than lowest PE which is always higher than lowest Y, they would need triple inventory fares for J, and I'm not sure that 1) I've ever seen that before 2) that is actually possible 3) this would go well on the INTL market and wouldn't create havoc when mapped to domestic or partner flights.

Wouldn't branded fares offer a solution to this problem? How is LH handling this?
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Old Jan 6, 19, 3:04 pm
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Originally Posted by mozilla View Post
They only have 3 RBD's for PE, while they have 5 for J and >10 for Y, making PE the hardest to differentiate, basically they're limited to low flex/mid flex/high flex with appropriate discount levels.
If their demand model is reasonable, this anomaly should still happen only rarely. I don't think they've got the model anywhere close to properly calibrated for the PE cabin. It's way too optimistic. Though I suppose if they're going to err based on a lack of history, there's a case to be made for pricing too high rather than too low, since they can always discount closer to departure.
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Old Jan 6, 19, 3:14 pm
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It happened on BA too that sometimes the Premium Economy was more expensive than Club World and it was happening even more than 15 years after Premium Economy was installed. It was when there were very cheap Club World fares.
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Old Jan 6, 19, 3:22 pm
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Originally Posted by Kacee View Post
If their demand model is reasonable, this anomaly should still happen only rarely.
How would this work if D-7 and J is empty and PE has 1 seat left, what should the availability look like?

Protect J's premium pricing, cash in on PE but risk going out with J half empty: J9 C4 D0 Z0 P0 O1 A0 R0
Sell your in-demand cabin below value so you can keep selling and start filling the higher cabin, still at a premium vs the lower cabin: J9 C9 D9 Z4 P4 O1 A1 R1
Keep availability balanced with demand and forgo higher pricing on higher cabin (subject of thread): J9 C9 D9 Z9 P0 O1 A0 R0

Or do you mean that the fare pricing isn't optimized enough at this stage and that is where changes should be made?
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Old Jan 6, 19, 3:53 pm
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Originally Posted by mozilla View Post
How would this work if D-7 and J is empty and PE has 1 seat left, what should the availability look like?
Well that's really UA's call. And it seems to me you're already describing an anomalous situation, because they should not ordinarily be in that situation . . . if they are, PE is cannibalizing J, as opposed to commanding a premium over Y, which is the whole point of offering a PE product. But if they're really down to O1, then I would think it should get last seat pricing, regardless of the J load.

If in practice UA is able to routinely sell out PE at a price that's higher than their available P or Z inventory, well more power to them. If they're able to do that, I presume they'll sell O all day long at full fare, and just op-up into J. But color me skeptical that's how this will play out. What I think is far more likely in these early days of PE is the J cabin will continue to sell as it more or less historically has, and the PE cabin will remain empty unless/until UA makes a reasonable amount of discount inventory available, particularly on flights where Z and P are still for sale.
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Old Jan 6, 19, 4:11 pm
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Hard to tell from OP's screenshot. But, if the PE fare is flexible and the C fare is inflexible, that would easily explain the fare delta in this instance.
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