Topic Author
Posts: 642
Joined: Wed Aug 30, 2000 8:31 am

What Is Up With Today's US Airfares?!?

Fri Nov 21, 2003 8:09 pm

Not sure if this is brought up before...

If you fly in Japan, the price for coach is basically the same, with a few fare sales here and there, and varies by month. But regardless of when you fly, you don't usually have to worry about the price shooting through the roof.

In America, you have all of these wierd prices. 21 day advance purchases, 14 day purchases, 7 day purchases, and with all of this, you have fares that are cheap at first, but for those passengers like me who have to buy within 3 weeks of flying, the price is out of this world!

Why can't airlines, as competitive as they are (I understand competition, believe me) offer something around "one price" for coach, and "one price" for first, like they did before deregulation?

Why do we need to pay $1000 to fly Seattle to Orlando on a 2 week advance purchase, only to get bumped off onto stand-by?

I understand that there are seasonal prices on flights, but I thought that winter prices to some locations were cheaper than others (to Japan, in February)? And summer can be more expensive (like flying to Europe).

Have you ever paid a high fare only to get bumped into stand by?

Are there any plans to make the US airline ticket system a little more...logical?

The reason I'm asking, is that I booked about 30 of my Japanese students to Orlando for the holidays, and after they started buying the tickets online, the prices started to soar. First they were around $300 (from SEA), and now they're up to $500 or more, depending on when they're flying. Now, I might not be able to afford to go with them...

I was looking forward to flying Jetblue, but they're sold out when I can go...

Anyways, just looking for some intelligent communications on the subject.
Save the whales...for dinner!!!
Posts: 349
Joined: Thu Sep 16, 1999 6:07 am

RE: What Is Up With Today's US Airfares?!?

Fri Nov 21, 2003 10:29 pm

I agree that airline prices are ridiculous. I regularly fly DFW - BOS. I have paid between $180 and $2300 for this ticket. I can't help but feel screwed by the airline.

I have never been bumped to standby on this flight but I have "earned" a voucher by voluntarily taking a later flight.

Posts: 1017
Joined: Fri Feb 09, 2001 8:45 am

RE: What Is Up With Today's US Airfares?!?

Sat Nov 22, 2003 12:03 am

American Airlines tried this about 12 years ago with their "value pricing" none of the competition went along with the program. It did simplify fares much. Someday it will get simpler.
The TSA was created to make the post office look efficient!
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Joined: Wed Nov 05, 2003 11:34 am

RE: What Is Up With Today's US Airfares?!?

Sat Nov 22, 2003 12:28 am

I think there are two distinct sides to this debate:

  1. Entitlement - people think that they are entitled to anything they want, and they should be able to get it for next to nothing, in terms of price. The concept of equity in pricing has been eroded over the past 20 years by the establishment of the internet, and the resulting ability to cut costs associated with supply chains, and pass the savings onto the customers. People want things to be cheap, and when they are not they toss their hands up in the air and complain fervently about how unjust prices are, and how certain companies maintain a monopoly over certain goods and services.

    A flight from SEA to Orlando during the Holidays. Hmm lets think about that. The concept of flying south for the winter has always been a cash cow for the airlines. Why shouldn't they be able to raise prices when PAX from the north begin their annual migration south for the winter. It's the same concept involved in any seasonal pricing. Winter clothes cost less money in the summer than they do in the winter, and swimware and boats cost less in the winter than they do in the summer. Its quite simple market analysis. Its as easy as supply and demand. When demand for a good goes up, the corresponding supply decreases, and as such the pricing on the remaining supply rises.

    This concept used to be a cornerstone of pricing in America, but now people want things cheap all the time, they feel entitled. Look at gas prices. Americans are so very spoiled when it comes to the price of gas and related products. However, in Europe, consumers have been paying upwards of $4.00 per gallon for gas forever. When the price goes to $1.90 a gallon in the US, people scream bloody murder.

    The long and the short of it is, airlines raise prices on SEA - MCO flights in the winter b/c they are going to sell out, and it is a chance to increase the returns on the flight. Simple.

  2. Confusion - Airline pricing is confusing. The sheer volume of variable pricing does indeed boggle the mind. It seemed that LCCs had it right for awhile, however, even their pricing matrix has evolved into somewhat of a mess. This, will most likely change, as airlines move towards a more simplified pricing system, that is easier to use, maintain and sell to the consumer.

    The only thing we can do about this, is try to educate ourselves on the pricing system employed by our carrier of choice, and stay ontop of the changes made to it.

    But expect to pay more for something when it is in demand. And for God's sake, people need to quit whining about high prices, and start realizing that nothing good comes cheap, and the market most often bears out the most reasonable price.

See you up front!
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RE: What Is Up With Today's US Airfares?!?

Sat Nov 22, 2003 12:34 am

Japan is about the size of Texas? Maybe, I could be wrong. But the USA is huge and as long as we have too much capacity in the industry. Someone has to pay for the VALUE customer. Just my opinion. And Japan only has 3 major carriers flying within Japan. JAL JAS and ANA. So they can all make money without a dog fit .
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