ssides
Posts: 3248
Joined: Fri Feb 09, 2001 12:57 am

Why Are One-way Tickets So Much More Expensive?

Tue Dec 16, 2003 7:53 am

Despite being a big believer and proponent of free markets and little regulation, it has always baffled me as to why one-way tickets are so much more expensive than round trips. I have flown one-way several times, but it has always been much cheaper -- sometimes as much as $500 cheaper -- to simply buy a round-trip and then not use the return leg.

Why is this? I can see airlines offering significant round-trip discounts, it makes sense, but I don't understand how it operates to this degree of discrepancy.
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martinairyyz
Posts: 1188
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RE: Why Are One-way Tickets So Much More Expensive?

Tue Dec 16, 2003 8:18 am

Plain and simple:

One way tickets are refundable.
There are some RT that are refundable but very expensive.
Chelsea Football Club supporter.
 
CanadaEH
Posts: 1331
Joined: Tue Jul 22, 2003 5:53 am

RE: Why Are One-way Tickets So Much More Expensive?

Tue Dec 16, 2003 8:22 am

I could be mistaken, but..

..discount carriers offer only one-way tickets. If a one-way ticket cost $150, the round-trip ticket would cost $300. Obviously the carriers who are offering "confusing" or "complicated" ticket prices/pricing, are the mainline carriers (i.e. Air Canada, United, British Airways, etc.).

I've never really understood the way prices were worked out by some carriers, and I honestly can't answer your question. There was a report a few months ago about Air Canada's "odd" pricing, with the following example:

Vancouver - Taipai: $2200 CAN
New York - Vancouver - Taipai: $1200 CAN

What's up with that?
EH.
 
ConcordeBoy
Posts: 16852
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RE: Why Are One-way Tickets So Much More Expensive?

Tue Dec 16, 2003 8:26 am

Nothing remotely odd about that, the answer is simple: captive hub market.

Same reason that:
CVG-SDF on DL = $400+ in discounted coach
MSY-CVG-SDF on DL = $150 also in discounted coach

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emiratesa345
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RE: Why Are One-way Tickets So Much More Expensive?

Tue Dec 16, 2003 8:46 am

That being said...

I need to fly YYZ-PRG on June 28, returning August 16. When looking for a fare, what city should I "originate" in to obtain savings like those mentioned?

EmiratesA345 Laugh out loud
You and I were meant to fly, Air Canada!
 
xjramper
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RE: Why Are One-way Tickets So Much More Expensive?

Tue Dec 16, 2003 8:50 am

Emirates:

Just so long as you make a stop somewhere, it doesn't matter where you originate from. Fares become less expensive when you the traveler are inconvenienced-->meaning that you have to get off an aircraft to get on another one.

XJRamper
Look ma' no hands!
 
hawaiian717
Posts: 3139
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RE: Why Are One-way Tickets So Much More Expensive

Tue Dec 16, 2003 9:00 am

EmiratesA345 wrote:
I need to fly YYZ-PRG on June 28, returning August 16. When looking for a fare, what city should I "originate" in to obtain savings like those mentioned?

Don't do it. Suppose you buy a ticket YYC-YYZ-PRG. When you show up in YYZ, you'll find the airline has cancelled your reservation because you didn't show up for the YYC-YYZ flight.

If you do it the other way, YYZ-PRG-SVO, for example, you'll get to PRG just fine but you won't be able to go home, since the airline will have cancelled your reservation as soon as you didn't take the PRG-SVO flight.

It's called hidden city booking, and the airline *will* catch you.

David / MRY
 
jhooper
Posts: 5560
Joined: Thu Dec 13, 2001 8:27 pm

RE: Why Are One-way Tickets So Much More Expensive?

Tue Dec 16, 2003 9:27 am

Airlines have fare rules (for example: a saturday night stays) attached to round trip tickets because it allows them to differentiate between business travelers and liesure travelers. The theory being that business travelers are willing to pay more for their tickets in exchange for greater flexibility. With a one-way ticket, they can't make as many stipulations about how long you have to stay at your destination and what nights you have to stay over. So in order to keep you from trying to get around these fare rules, they jack up the price of one way tickets.

If you buy a round trip ticket and "throw away" the return portion of your trip, it is possible (although I'm uncertain how likely) that the airline change charge you the difference between the ticket you bought and the price of a one-way unrestricted ticket.
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LoneStarMike
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RE: Why Are One-way Tickets So Much More Expensive?

Tue Dec 16, 2003 9:36 am

Here's another question regarding fares. If you are flying between Hawaii and the mainland US, why is it cheaper if you originate in Hawaii?

For instance, HNL-DFW-HNL roundtrip in January would cost $666.00 roundtrip, but DFW-HNL-DFW on the same dates would cost $717.00. What's up with that?

LoneStarMike

 
jhooper
Posts: 5560
Joined: Thu Dec 13, 2001 8:27 pm

RE: Why Are One-way Tickets So Much More Expensive?

Tue Dec 16, 2003 9:45 am

It's a matter of supply and demand. Evidently, there are more people out there wanting to travel to Hawaii in January rather than to Dallas.
Last year 1,944 New Yorkers saw something and said something.
 
Guest

RE: Why Are One-way Tickets So Much More Expensive?

Tue Dec 16, 2003 9:46 am

There is more demand to Hawaii then to the mainland. Supply and demand.
 
ssides
Posts: 3248
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RE: Why Are One-way Tickets So Much More Expensive?

Tue Dec 16, 2003 10:56 am

I know LCCs "only" sell one-ways, but most of their lower fares are priced "one-way based on round-trip purchase." Hence, when you see WN or JetBlue (or even AA or UA, for that matter) advertise a "$99 fare," it will usually be end up costing $210 or so with the round-trip, taxes, airport fees, etc.

If you buy a round trip ticket and "throw away" the return portion of your trip, it is possible (although I'm uncertain how likely) that the airline change charge you the difference between the ticket you bought and the price of a one-way unrestricted ticket.

Has anyone ever heard of this happening? I've done it more than twice, and several friends have done it as well (people who are moving, etc.) I would be greatly upset if this happened. I do know that if you miss a connection, most airlines will cancel your itinerary. Ex: had a friend who was flying ACT-DFW-DCA. She got stuck in Dallas the night before her flight, so she decided to just stay in Dallas instead of driving to Waco then flying back. When she gets to DFW, no dice: she had to originate her trip at ACT, otherwise the ticket was invalid.
"Lose" is not spelled with two o's!!!!
 
captaink
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RE: Why Are One-way Tickets So Much More Expensive?

Tue Dec 16, 2003 11:03 am

I like to look at this way and tell my passengers this...

One Way tickets are almost unrestricted, in some cases valid for a year, endorsable between some carriers.

That is a great convenience, especially if you do not know when and how you are going to travel. You have to pay more for such a convenience.

This along with some of the other reasons, mentioned above is why one way fares are so expensive.
There is something special about planes....
 
ssides
Posts: 3248
Joined: Fri Feb 09, 2001 12:57 am

RE: Why Are One-way Tickets So Much More Expensive?

Tue Dec 16, 2003 11:09 am

Thanks for all your answers. I understand the flexibility of one-way tickets (refundable, endorseable, etc.), so I guess my question is this: how come airlines don't offer a wider range of one-way tickets. Is it just not economical to market a non-refundable one-way ticket with similar restrictions like so many round-trip tickets? Just curious ...
"Lose" is not spelled with two o's!!!!
 
fly727
Posts: 1752
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RE: Why Are One-way Tickets So Much More Expensive?

Tue Dec 16, 2003 11:10 am

Why Are One-way Tickets So Much More Expensive?

Besides everything said so far; I, the airline, would rather sacrifice my fare a bit and offer you a good deal for a round trip than taking the risk that you might buy a return ticket with my competitor.

Another that comes to my head.... A few passengers do not really use the second segment of their trip (return) despite most of them already paid a few more bucks for it as it is very attractive the idea of holding tickets for the future. At the end (and true, in some small proportions) the airline is getting paid for a ticket that most probably will never be used and what makes this even better, because of the fare structure it is non-refundable. Round business.

That makes sense, uh?

RM  Smile
There are no stupid questions... just stupid people!
 
zrs70
Posts: 3300
Joined: Sun Dec 10, 2000 4:08 am

RE: Why Are One-way Tickets So Much More Expensive?

Tue Dec 16, 2003 11:26 am

XJRamper:

As long as you stop somewhere? Huh?

Advance purchase NS verses stop on the same carrier will almost always produce the same fare. Exception might be if one particular city is on sale, and the fare through that city produces a cheaper ticket.
17 year airliners.net vet! 2000-2016
 
afay1
Posts: 1206
Joined: Mon Oct 29, 2001 2:37 pm

RE: Why Are One-way Tickets So Much More Expensive?

Tue Dec 16, 2003 4:06 pm

The idea of expensive one-way tickets is only pervasive in the West. Russian airlines use more of a system akin to busses and trains. One-way is simply half-price. There are usually no time restrictions also. The ticket is the same price 1 year or 1 day before the flight....
 
jhooper
Posts: 5560
Joined: Thu Dec 13, 2001 8:27 pm

RE: Why Are One-way Tickets So Much More Expensive?

Tue Dec 16, 2003 5:52 pm

I pulled this off Delta's "Contract of Carriage":


3) Delta specifically prohibits the practices commonly known as:

A) Back to Back Ticketing - The issuance, purchase or usage of flight coupons from two or more tickets issued at round trip fares, or the combination of two or more round trip excursion fares end to end on the same ticket for the purpose of circumventing minimum stay requirements.

B) Throwaway Ticketing - The issuance, purchase or usage of round excursion fares for one way travel.

C) Hidden City/Point Beyond Ticketing - The issuance, purchase or usage of a fare from a point before the passenger's actual origin or to a point beyond the
passenger's actual destination.

4) Where a ticket is invalidated as the result of the passenger's non-compliance with any term or condition of sale, Delta has the right in its sole discretion to:
A) Cancel any remaining portion of the passenger's itinerary,
B) Confiscate unused flight coupons,
C) Refuse to board the passenger or check the passenger's baggage, or
D) Assess the passenger for the reasonable remaining value of the ticket, which shall be no less than the difference between the fare actually paid and the lowest fare applicable to the passenger's actual itinerary.
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