US fares ATL - SEA or PDX seem quite inflated

 
Old Mar 11, 13, 10:18 pm
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US fares ATL - SEA or PDX seem quite inflated

I'm trying to plan a summer vacation to Seattle (or Portland if it would make more sense) with my family (using the cc companion certs) but I've run into some strangeness. I'd like a 7-8 day trip and I can go anytime mid June-August. It seems anytime after early June the cheapest US fares are $200 more than another airline. I'm used to US being cheaper or reasonably within range of the others. I admit I don't go to the west coast much. Is this normal? I've been checking for a couple weeks now. Is this going to change as the dates get closer? Seems like the law of supply and demand would force US to lower their fares down toward the others, no?
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Old Mar 12, 13, 6:23 am
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SEA and PDX are among the most seasonal of major U.S. airports. Summer travel is the clear peak.

Summer is still too far away for US to worry about dumping excess capacity at cheap fares, should their (you suggest, optimistic) plan at current fares fail to fill the planes. You can hope US is wrong and wait to buy, at risk of finding fares even higher two months from now.
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Old Mar 12, 13, 6:37 am
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Yes, it is optimistic.. But my thinking is that US is substandard to DL and that if they were the same fares US would have a problem, much less with a $200 diff. I can't see how these prices can be maintained without... well I suppose everyone else's prices may go way up. Is there a way to look at historical fares by airline?

Last edited by micahdaniel; Mar 12, 13 at 6:48 am
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Old Mar 12, 13, 7:29 am
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It's a big mistake to think that just because prices dropped last year, they will drop this year or any binary analysis.

US has sophisticated software which looks at yield, not headcount. The # of pax on a flight does not matter. It's the revenue. One pax paying $2,500 in full Y is better than 5 pax, each paying $450 for an el cheapo discount. And so on.

Presuming that OP is not prepared to spring for a refundable/changeable ticket, he can either buy today at the current price or gamble that prices drop (as aviation fuel rises and the economy improves) and wait. If he's wrong, he will pay more.

Or, he can gamble that prices will drop by more than $150, but today and, if the price drops by $150+ cancel and rebook at the cheaper fare. But, to be frank, how much is the fare really going to drop to make this gambit pay?

US is betting that it can sell the seats you think it can't. Guess who has more metrics available?
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Old Mar 12, 13, 11:25 am
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Originally Posted by 3Cforme View Post
Summer is still too far away for US to worry about dumping excess capacity at cheap fares, should their (you suggest, optimistic) plan at current fares fail to fill the planes.
Exactly
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Old Mar 12, 13, 12:21 pm
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Any routings that go through PHX (from ATL, I'd assume many), will reflect the higher prices of summer PHX travel to escape the heat.

From PHX, it isn't unusual to see fares around $400 round trip to either SEA or PDX. Occasionally they will dip to $300, but that's a good deal for Jun-Jul-Aug.

And yes, every time I've flown to either the flights to and from have been packed!
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Old Mar 12, 13, 1:28 pm
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There were some good fares earlier this year for PHL-PDX. I used my companion certificate on the non-stop flights for a long weekend in August (myself + 1 companion). It was about $450 for both passengers all-in. I thought it was a good deal based on the pricing of comparable routes from other airlines. Try routing through PHL and keep checking prices daily because the cost was bouncing up and down for several weeks before I locked it in.
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Old Mar 12, 13, 1:47 pm
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Oh my! I just checked and found US is now the cheapest at over $1300 and others are over $1500. That's right about 5 times the lowest fare I had showing up to today. Well, a Seattle vacation was a nice idea.

Last edited by micahdaniel; Mar 12, 13 at 2:32 pm Reason: context
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Old Mar 12, 13, 3:04 pm
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Originally Posted by micahdaniel View Post
Oh my! ...$1300 and others are over $1500.
O man I'm a Doofus. I had first class checked on my BB Kayak app when checkin! False alarm. Trip on. Ill check that PHL - PDX route, thanks.
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Old Mar 12, 13, 3:29 pm
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Anybody know if this PriceAssure will work for the full fare ticket part of the companion deal?

http://www.cardratings.com/mastercar...-airlines.html
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Old Mar 12, 13, 3:38 pm
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Companion certificates are great for high fares

Your group may be bigger than three, in which case the following applies less, but I have always thought that high fares are precisely the time to use the companion certificates. When PHL-LAX or PHL-SFO prices are low, I feel like I'm not getting enough of a discount!
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Old Mar 12, 13, 7:23 pm
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Originally Posted by micahdaniel View Post
Anybody know if this PriceAssure will work for the full fare ticket part of the companion deal?

http://www.cardratings.com/mastercar...-airlines.html
No. Unless you have another companion cert, you can't use the same one again once they reissue the ticket. They'll say your first one was used.

Also, what do you mean by US being substandard? From what perspective?
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Old Mar 12, 13, 9:04 pm
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Huge hubs for Alaska air, united, lump all those fares in with peak Alaska tourism and you get pricy fares.
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Old Mar 12, 13, 9:25 pm
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As a resident of PDX metro area, I've noticed US is the highest of all airlines out of here. Usually about $600 per ticket, for the times I've traveled recently.
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Old Mar 13, 13, 12:23 am
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Originally Posted by la2clt View Post
Also, what do you mean by US being substandard? From what perspective?
We can debate the merits of hard product/soft product/ground services/etc, but from one fairly straight-forward metric US is almost certainly substandard to DL on this route: DL has a nonstop flight and US doesn't.
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