Fun with Fare Classes

Old Nov 7, 19, 12:29 pm
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Fun with Fare Classes

As a full time data viz consultant and a travel hacking hobbyist, about a year ago I decided it would be a fun project to create a script that would mine pricing information at the fare class level. The bot ran every day for almost a year, scraping data for 19 different United flights. I then took the data and visualized it, in an attempt to add some transparency to what has pretty much been a black box. You can find a sneak preview below, and the full article here: https://www.infinityinsight.com/blog/?p=388&src=1. I'm not sure if this helps anyone, just wanted to share some geeky fun for like-minded individuals



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Old Nov 7, 19, 3:26 pm
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Very interesting. I'm curious when B fares are ever 10-20% of Y fares... Can you shed some light on any patterns related to the production of those cases?
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Old Nov 7, 19, 3:51 pm
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Originally Posted by GBadger View Post
Very interesting. I'm curious when B fares are ever 10-20% of Y fares... Can you shed some light on any patterns related to the production of those cases?
Some government fares are Y, but they're heavily discounted on most routes (even for last seat availability).
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Old Nov 7, 19, 4:14 pm
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Originally Posted by GBadger View Post
Very interesting. I'm curious when B fares are ever 10-20% of Y fares... Can you shed some light on any patterns related to the production of those cases?
For instance, flip the "Visualizing the Flow" charts to flight 1741. Class B was at a significant discount vs Y for most of the time the flight was on sale.
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Old Nov 7, 19, 4:15 pm
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Originally Posted by MSPeconomist View Post
Some government fares are Y, but they're heavily discounted on most routes (even for last seat availability).
All the analysis was for fares that a regular person could buy, not any special fares.
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Old Nov 7, 19, 4:27 pm
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Originally Posted by vgutkovsky View Post
For instance, flip the "Visualizing the Flow" charts to flight 1741. Class B was at a significant discount vs Y for most of the time the flight was on sale.
It's not a "real" B fare, but it sort of acts like one.

For some reason, UA has published a PE fare table for the CHI-NYC market, which uses differential pricing like domestic F. Of course, there are no PE-equipped planes on that route, so it delegates to B. The cheapest such fare is available with a 14-day advance purchase, on any flight with K availability. I just tried it for a random date in December, and I get a one-way "B" fare for $193. It will accrue at B rates (1.5x PQM) and will be instant-upgrade eligible -- and it should be eligible for free E+, regardless of status -- but otherwise it's still a run-of-the-mill non-refundable fare.

I remember seeing a post recently from someone contemplating a mileage run who had also found a similar low B fare.
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Old Nov 7, 19, 4:31 pm
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Originally Posted by jsloan View Post
It's not a "real" B fare, but it sort of acts like one.

For some reason, UA has published a PE fare table for the CHI-NYC market, which uses differential pricing like domestic F. Of course, there are no PE-equipped planes on that route, so it delegates to B. The cheapest such fare is available with a 14-day advance purchase, on any flight with K availability. I just tried it for a random date in December, and I get a one-way "B" fare for $193. It will accrue at B rates (1.5x PQM) and will be instant-upgrade eligible -- and it should be eligible for free E+, regardless of status -- but otherwise it's still a run-of-the-mill non-refundable fare.

I remember seeing a post recently from someone contemplating a mileage run who had also found a similar low B fare.
That's really fascinating! Thank you for the insight (and for joining in the conversation)!
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Old Nov 7, 19, 5:16 pm
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Originally Posted by jsloan View Post
It's not a "real" B fare, but it sort of acts like one.

For some reason, UA has published a PE fare table for the CHI-NYC market, which uses differential pricing like domestic F. Of course, there are no PE-equipped planes on that route, so it delegates to B. The cheapest such fare is available with a 14-day advance purchase, on any flight with K availability. I just tried it for a random date in December, and I get a one-way "B" fare for $193. It will accrue at B rates (1.5x PQM) and will be instant-upgrade eligible -- and it should be eligible for free E+, regardless of status -- but otherwise it's still a run-of-the-mill non-refundable fare.

I remember seeing a post recently from someone contemplating a mileage run who had also found a similar low B fare.
Wow, nice find. Net of it is that E+ will now price a separate cabin, currently booking into B and giving 150% PQM (soon to be irrelevant anyway). Details below:



Looks like this is the rollout of E+ as a separate cabin. Because PE remains present on its own terms in the domestic market, this is pretty clearly going the way of Delta where there will be four classes of service: Y/E+/PE/J. Remains to be seen if they will try to rotate out a booking code or two for Economy Plus as an rbd and/or change the technical means of elite access to "upgrade at purchase" like Delta now does. The "shadow B fares" as it were are not in fact delegating; they simply have B as the prime rbd and do indeed carry the secondary inventory check. Like other PE fares, when booking in B they permit E+ assignment for free for non-elites.

E+ cabin fares have 'P' in seventh position; true domestic PE has 'O' in seventh position. They are published in parallel on SFO-EWR, but not in all markets yet (SFO-IAD has neither).

SFO-EWR fare family W4/Q:

Code:
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Cxr     Basis      BC  Cbn    Price   Tp  AP  Min  Max   Days    Rf  
----------------------------------------------------------------------
 UA  WAA4AQBN       N   Y    $280.00  OW  14                      N
 UA  WAA4AQDN       W   Y    $315.00  OW  14                      N
 UA  WAA4AQPN       B   Y    $444.00  OW  14                      N
 UA  WAA4AQON       A   W    $514.00  OW  14                      N
..
 UA  VAP30UPN       P   J    $694.00  OW  30                      N
BE is ($35), E+ is $129, PE is $199. J remains non-differential on p.s. routes.

E+ fare filing and booking rules:

Code:
    V FARE BASIS     BK    FARE   TRAVEL-TICKET AP  MINMAX  RTG
  1   WAA4AQPN       B‡X   444.00     ----     14/1  -/  -  522
PASSENGER TYPE-ADT                 AUTO PRICE-YES              
FROM-SFO TO-EWR    CXR-UA    TVL-07NOV19  RULE-EPQ2 DFR/11
FARE BASIS-WAA4AQPN          SPECIAL FARE  DIS-N   VENDOR-ATP
FARE TYPE-ZZP      OW-PREMIUM ECONOMY ONE WAY ADVANCE PURCHASE
USD   413.02  0522  E04NOV19 D-INFINITY   FC-WAA4AQPN  FN-     
SYSTEM DATES - CREATED 04NOV19/1512  EXPIRES INFINITY
 
PUBLISHED RTG SFO-EWR/UA522 /TAR-DRG1    EF-04NOV19 DIS-INDEF
 
MAP CONSTRUCTED LEFT TO RIGHT AND RIGHT TO LEFT
 1. SFO-WAS/LAX/HOU/DEN/CLE/CHI-EWR
.


>$LB153                                                        
153 SFOEWR 07NOV19 UA USD  444.00 WAA4AQPN STAY---/-- BK-B     
FARE CLS  EXPLANATION                            BOOK CODES    
--------  ----------------------                 ----------    
WAA4AQPN  PREMIUM ECON OW ADVANCE PURCHASE FARES    B          
WAA4AQPN  APPLIES FOR ONE WAY FARES                            
WAA4AQPN  FOR ADULT                                            
                                                               
 BOOKING CODE EXCEPTIONS                                       
   VIA UA  W/B   PERMITTED B   WHEN W AVAILABLE  AND           
           W     PERMITTED                                     
   VIA UA  W/B   PERMITTED B   WHEN W AVAILABLE                
   VIA UA                      NO BOOKING CODE DATA EXISTS
PE fare filing and booking rules:

Code:
    V FARE BASIS     BK    FARE   TRAVEL-TICKET AP  MINMAX  RTG
  1   WAA4AQON       A‡X   514.00     ----     14/1  -/  -    1
PASSENGER TYPE-ADT                 AUTO PRICE-YES              
FROM-SFO TO-EWR    CXR-UA    TVL-07NOV19  RULE-PEQ2 DFR/11
FARE BASIS-WAA4AQON          SPECIAL FARE  DIS-N   VENDOR-ATP
FARE TYPE-ZON      OW-PREMIUM ECON SELL-UP OW NON-REF
USD   478.14  0001  E14OCT19 D-INFINITY   FC-WAA4AQON  FN-     
SYSTEM DATES - CREATED 14OCT19/1938  EXPIRES INFINITY
 
PUBLISHED RTG SFO-EWR/UA1   /TAR-DRG1    EF-14OCT19 DIS-INDEF
 
 TRAVEL MUST BE NONSTOP
.


>$LB172                                                        
172 SFOEWR 07NOV19 UA USD  514.00 WAA4AQON STAY---/-- BK-A     
FARE CLS  EXPLANATION                            BOOK CODES    
--------  ----------------------                 ----------    
WAA4AQON  PREM ECON SELL-UP OW NON-REF FARES        A          
WAA4AQON  APPLIES FOR ONE WAY FARES                            
WAA4AQON  FOR ADULT                                            
                                                               
 BOOKING CODE EXCEPTIONS                                       
   VIA UA  W/A   REQUIRED A    WHEN W AVAILABLE                
   VIA UA                      NO BOOKING CODE DATA EXISTS
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