Levg79 From United States of America, joined Sep 2003, 995 posts, RR: 0 Posted (11 years 1 month 2 weeks 2 days 21 hours ago) and read 2448 times:
I don't remember this topic being discusses before so I'm going to start. Here's a little background. Last summer I was planning a trip from NYC Riga, Latvia. Finnair has a reputation of having non-expensive tickets and gave me a price of $783. After shopping around, I purchased non-refundable tickets for SAS at $716. A few weeks later, I decided to check ticket prices again to see how much they went up. SAS gave a price of around $1,300 while Finnair was priced at $620.
My question would be, why wasn't I offered this price by Finnair when I was first shopping for tickets. And if I had bought it at $783, would I be entitled to a $163 refund? Has anyone been involved in such an experience?
All replies would be appreciated.
A mile of runway takes you to the world. A mile of highway takes you a mile.
Ssides From United States of America, joined Feb 2001, 4059 posts, RR: 20
Reply 1, posted (11 years 1 month 2 weeks 2 days 21 hours ago) and read 2430 times:
Um, sorry for being a bit blunt, but have you ever purchased an airline ticket before? Ticket prices change daily. Based on how much a flight is filling up, airlines will raise or lower their prices in order to get certain loads and yields. It's very, very common. I have had several occasions when I purchased tickets that later went down in price. It's just a matter of timing the market. Tickets are usually quite expensive a few months out, then as you get within 1-2 months of the departure date, they go down. Within three weeks, they gradually go up. Such is the experience with non-refundable tickets.
B4real From United States of America, joined Aug 2003, 2662 posts, RR: 5
Reply 2, posted (11 years 1 month 2 weeks 2 days 21 hours ago) and read 2425 times:
I doubt you would be entitled for a refund, but think of it this way:
The seats (at all prices) are like a grid, and only so many are at certain fares - high to low. Just because it is coach, does not mean that all seats cost the same. Excluding CR/res discounts, I don't think I would be exaggerating in saying that there are probably 12-15 different coach fares that you could get.
Elwood64151 From United States of America, joined Feb 2002, 2477 posts, RR: 5
Reply 5, posted (11 years 1 month 2 weeks 2 days 21 hours ago) and read 2423 times:
This is quite common in the industry.
The thing is, airline tickets are considered commodities. You yourself went looking for the best offered price. At the time, it was $716.
As far as the airline is concerned, that was a contract. You agreed that you'd buy the tickets at that price, and for that, those tickets would be good for travel on that city pair on the day you requested.
The fact that the tickets were offered at a lower price later means that either a) someone had a sale on the route, or b) they overestimated demand, and had to lower the price to fill the seats.
If the airline had underestimated demand, then a lot more people would have purchased the tickets, and the price would have gone up significantly (as was the case with SAS). Finnair had the opposite probelm: Too few seats sold, so the price was lowered to try and sell more seats.
As for the refund, remember I said it was a contract: You agreed to pay that much for the route. That means you're not entitled to a refund, because you'd already agreed that this was a sufficient price. I had a similar experience with traveling LGA-MCI on Midwest and AirTran in March. When I bought the tickets, AirTran was better at $216. At that point, Midwest was selling at $313. Later, AirTran was selling at $280, while Midwest was selling at $200.50.
If I'd purchased Midwest's tickets at $313, I'd have been stuck with that price.
Those who fail to learn history are doomed to repeat it in summer school.
TOLtommy From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 3317 posts, RR: 5
Reply 7, posted (11 years 1 month 2 weeks 2 days 20 hours ago) and read 2403 times:
In all likelihood, the price wasn't offered to you, because it wasn't offered to anyone at the time. The goal of most airlines is to sell every seat for the HIGHEST possible price. They use a process called yield management, which looks at the historic traffic on any given flight, and sets prices accordingly by putting an appropriate number of seats in the various fare levels, or buckets, on each flight.
In your case, you paid the going rate at the time. The reason why the SAS flight is now more expensive is likely because the flights are more full than the Yield Management average. The Finnair flights are less expensive because the flights may have more avaialble seats than the Yield Management average.
The origin and destination cities are not the only factors in airline ticket pricing. Days of travel, holiday seasons, and the time of year when you purchase the ticket are all factors for Yield Management. It's part of the reason why 2 people sitting on the same airplane have rarely ever paid the same price. My recommendation to you is this:
Buying an airline ticket is like buying stock. The price is rarely stable, and second guessing yourself always leads to heartburn. When you decided that you are going to travel from NYC to Riga, you knew what you were willing to spend on the ticket. When you found it, you bought it. You could have decided to wait, but you decided the fare was fair. You could have waited, and maybe you would've gotten the lower Finnair price. But what if more seats had been sold on the flight? You might have been stuck with the SAS price!
Will Finnair refund the difference? Maybe. Is that fare still available? If not, you are out of luck. What is the reissue fee for the ticket? After all, they will have to issue a new ticket at the new fare. Call Finnair to ask about the tariff rules.
In the future, if you are price sensitive, I recommend using a consolidator for your international travel. A good travel agent with connections to good consolidators can save you a ton of money. I use a local TA for my Europe travel, and always save hundreds over the airline prices. Just a heads up for future reference! Enjoy your trip!
Goingboeing From United States of America, joined Dec 1999, 4875 posts, RR: 16
Reply 8, posted (11 years 1 month 2 weeks 2 days 20 hours ago) and read 2390 times:
Has anyone else had an experience similar to Kempa's? I've never heard of an airline doing this.
I had it happen on Delta a couple of years ago...I bought a ticket and a couple of weeks later, it went down by $100. I called them, but it took a while to get them to do it. The first answer I got was "No". So I asked for a supervisor. Eventually I got a (worthless) flight voucher. I say worthless because it was only good for the person named on the voucher - I tried to use it to pay for a flight for my wife, but they said that I was the only one who could use it...nevermind that I would be paying for my wife's ticket with the very same credit card that I used to purchase the ticket that the flight voucher was on. The second part of the "worthless" was that in order to use the voucher, you had to go to the airport ticket counter to pay for your ticket...the airport is a 50 mile one way drive from my house. So....in effect Delta made a "customer service" gesture, but the reality was, they were out $0.00, even with the credit.
Zrs70 From United States of America, joined Dec 2000, 3249 posts, RR: 9
Reply 9, posted (11 years 1 month 2 weeks 2 days 20 hours ago) and read 2384 times:
UA's policy is to send credit vouchers for the difference in fare when the passenger requests it. If you want a refund of the difference, you must forfeit a $100 change fee. But you can get the full travel credit without penalty. Status or no status.
Neilalp From United States of America, joined Apr 2000, 1034 posts, RR: 1
Reply 11, posted (11 years 1 month 2 weeks 2 days 20 hours ago) and read 2369 times:
This happened to me going to Hawaii a few years back. I paid around $750 for the seats and 2 months before my travel date there was a sale for around $575. I paid NWA's $75 or $100 penalty and still saved $75 to $100. Some times it is worth it and other times it isn't.
Leskova From Germany, joined Oct 2003, 6075 posts, RR: 69
Reply 12, posted (11 years 1 month 2 weeks 2 days 20 hours ago) and read 2369 times:
In general, airlines do not give you a refund if they lower the price - after all, it would open up the following question: if they raise the price, wouldn't they have a right to charge you the difference to the increased fare?
As soon as you buy your ticket, your fare and the taxes are fixed: should a difference arise from an airline changing the fare, from airport taxes changing or from the currency exchange rate changing (which can be relevant on international tickets) that will not change for you... the price goes down, tough luck for you - the price goes up, no problem for you.
If an airline decides to give you a credit voucher for the difference, then that is entirely a "good will gesture", there is no law or rule forcing them to do that - in other words, you're not entitled to a refund.
Levg79 From United States of America, joined Sep 2003, 995 posts, RR: 0
Reply 14, posted (11 years 1 month 2 weeks 2 days 20 hours ago) and read 2344 times:
I notice they give credit vouchers -- this also guarantees that they're keeping the cash, and that they'll have another paying passenger on a future flight.
As this may be true, they don't force you onto a future flight unless you want to go yourself. I think it's a good policy that UA has. Along with channel 9 they make themselves a priority airline for passengers. Too bad they're bankrupt.
A mile of runway takes you to the world. A mile of highway takes you a mile.
MoodyBlues From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 142 posts, RR: 4
Reply 15, posted (11 years 1 month 2 weeks 2 days 19 hours ago) and read 2323 times:
Southwest will let you do it, in fact they will even help you.
When I was long distance dating from Florida to California either myself or my "wife to be" was flying cross country on average every 3 weeks for a year. In the post 9/11 efforts to keep their planes full WN was offering Internet Specials and promotional fares constantly. And since we were flying so much we would have 3 to 4 outstanding reservations at any one time.
I used to watch the sales, and when they offered a better deal, I would rebook all of our reservations. I used the website for all of this. This is how if works:
if you find a lower fare than the one you have booked, you cancel the existing reservation, and rebook at the lower fare. The left over funds go into a pool called "Ticketless Travel Funds" That money is available for up to one year from when you 1st purchased that ticket to book any new flight you want, even the one you just cancelled (have to be careful not to loose the last cheap seat though)
I felt kinda dirty sometimes as I felt like I was kinda cheating them, but in the end it worked out. We got to fly more, and WN ended up with 2 fiercely loyal customers. We will never fly another airline domestic, unless WN doesn't offer service anywhere near where we are going. Of course, this policy doesn't help you if you are going to Hawaii or International.
And after she moved to FL and our flying frequency went down I actually ended up with some funds I couldn't use before they expired. I called up and asked for an extension, or told them they could have the money as a thank you gesture. The agent would hear nothing of it and almost insisted he refund the amounts to my credit card. We aren't talking much money, but the gesture meant a whole lot.
Now unless you fly a whole lot the game is probably not worth it. But it got us through a rough time. Even if I was red eyed on the computer trying to keep track of all the reservation codes.
Thank God it's over.
Of course WN also plays the different price for different times/seasons/time between purchase and actual flight games. But they lay if all out on the website.... Show you all available fares for your particular itinerary, depending on what options you want. And there are never more than 6-7 fare types.
The trick is to book if you think it's a good deal, see if you get lucky and catch an "Internet One Way" special, and rebook if it comes up. At least that gives you get a chance to reuse the money. Glad to head United will do a similar thing, that shows respect to the customer.
Searpqx From Netherlands, joined Jun 2000, 4344 posts, RR: 10
Reply 16, posted (11 years 1 month 2 weeks 2 days 19 hours ago) and read 2308 times:
Most US airlines have some sort of price guarantee, at least for domestic flights/fares. If you purchase a ticket, and then the fare for the same flights go down (you can't change day/time), and you would've been eligible for that fare when you purchased your ticket originally (met the advance purchase requirements, traveling on the correct flights/days, met the minimum stay requirements, etc., of the new fare) then you will be offered a credit voucher, or if you want to pay the refund fee, you will receive a refund. As a couple people have noted, the voucher is the airline's preferred option, as it retains the revenue, and likely will mean additional revenue down the road.
"The two most common elements in the universe are Hydrogen and stupidity"
Eric From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 17, posted (11 years 1 month 2 weeks 2 days 17 hours ago) and read 2284 times:
what you all are referring to is called yield management, a profit maximizing tool developed for AA by SABRE (an AA company gone independent in 2000). It was highly successful for years, it involves amongst others flying people in and out of hubs (that's is one of the reasons big carriers all have one airport where they do most of their transfers). Today it is seen as an acient tool seeing people wants transperant pricing. They create "price buckets" based on previous statistics, if demand is high, like on a Friday, you will have a hard time finding a cheap ticket and counterwise. If demand goes up exeptionally prices will increase because the airline may make more money on that segment. If, closer to departure date, demand hasn't gone up as much as expected, they will sell out cheaper tickets again. That is also why tickets carries constraint, so people who fly on business who are largely in need of a flexible ticket won't buy it weeks in advance, like people who are going on a holiday can. This also explains why a return ticket with big carriers are more likely to be cheaper than two different tickets. The LCC also use it but it is not as advanced as the big ones. Most carriers are turning away from this, which explains why so many airlines have started to offer one-way tickets (or tickets that are sold at half the price of r/t) in stead of just r/t.
The Ticketor From Norway, joined Oct 2000, 434 posts, RR: 1
Reply 18, posted (11 years 1 month 1 week 3 days 4 hours ago) and read 2225 times:
Yield Management is not ancient (if that is what you were trying to write), but it is changing. Yield management is not a specific practice or program used by some airline at a specific time, it is a principle and is constantly used in different ways to maximize profit. It might have been in the past, but the word "yield magagement" must be considered a pretty generic word now.
Marcos From United States of America, joined Jun 2001, 68 posts, RR: 0
Reply 19, posted (11 years 1 month 1 week 3 days 2 hours ago) and read 2190 times:
Two years ago I paid $900 to Continental for a non-refundable ticket from MSP to SAL. A week late a fare war started and ticket price dropped to $380. I called Continental and they advised they would provide a voucher for future travel on Continental for the difference in fares or refund to my credit card the difference minus their change fee. Very fair....