Mason
Topic Author
Posts: 636
Joined: Sat Jun 12, 1999 12:01 am

The Dumbest Thing I Have Ever Seen

Thu Sep 28, 2000 2:23 am

I was reading the local travel section in the newspaper, which posts low fares from our home city of Seattle to major domestic cities. I noticed that the fare from SEA to MCO was less then the flight from SEA to STL. The SEA-MCO flight stops in STL! (I will give you one guess as to which airline this is). Why would you buy a round-trip ticket to STL, when you could buy a round-trip to MCO for about $100 less, and skip the STL-MCO flights? Wierd!
 
TWFirst
Posts: 5752
Joined: Wed Apr 19, 2000 5:30 am

RE: The Dumbest Thing I Have Ever Seen

Thu Sep 28, 2000 2:27 am

Because they wouldn't let you on the return portion (STL-SEA) if you didn't fly the MCO-STL segment without charging you an arm and a leg (your ticket would be automatically cancelled).

This happens all the time. Air fares are typically much cheaper per air mile on longer flights than on shorter flights, reflecting the cost structure behind the fares.
An unexamined life isn't worth living.
 
dadoftyler
Posts: 245
Joined: Tue Dec 28, 1999 4:16 am

RE: The Dumbest Thing I Have Ever Seen

Thu Sep 28, 2000 2:46 am

TWFirst,

Excuse me while I call bull&#@$ on your last sentance  . The reason fares are lower SEA-MCO than they are SEA-STL are (1) MCO is an almost purely leisure market, while SEA-STL is much more reflective of the type of fares charged in most "fortress hub" airports, and (2) Southwest has a daily onestop SEA-MCO which is driving the fares in that market. They publish service SEA-STL but don't really compete with the TW nonstops.

As for fares reflecting any intelligence whatsoever at the "traditional" major carriers I, for one, humbly declare myself too ignorant to understand the genius behind their strategy. To this dumb ol' country boy, is just looks like they're trying to charge the absolute highest fare they can get away with.
 
EyeSky
Posts: 317
Joined: Fri Aug 25, 2000 4:52 am

RE: The Dumbest Thing I Have Ever Seen

Thu Sep 28, 2000 2:46 am

Back in '97 I wanted to fly from GEG to GSP to visit family. UAL had a great $298 round trip from SEA to ATL. I picked up a $98 Southwest 2 week advance roundtrip from GEG to SEA. When I investigated ATL to GSP I was shocked to find out that the cheapest fare on that route (which is less distance than GEG to SEA) was $316!! I ended up renting a car at ATL and driving an hour and a half north to GSP for 1/6th of what DL or one of their affiliates wanted for the 25 minute flight.

I wonder if Southwest plans on expanding into the GSP market someday?
 
TWFirst
Posts: 5752
Joined: Wed Apr 19, 2000 5:30 am

RE: Tyler's Dumb Dad

Thu Sep 28, 2000 3:00 am

>>To this dumb ol' country boy, is just looks like they're trying to charge the absolute highest fare they can get away with.<<

Of course they are. That's called market pricing. That's the whole point of having a business: charging the highest price the market will bear. My point was that fundamentally, it is cheaper per air mile to carry someone 4000 miles than it is 400 miles. But of course, there are several other factors that affect fares, not the least of which is competition. If there is more competition in the SEA-MCO market, fares will be cheaper. If there's less competition in the SEA-STL market, fares will be higher.
An unexamined life isn't worth living.
 
dadoftyler
Posts: 245
Joined: Tue Dec 28, 1999 4:16 am

RE: The Dumbest Thing I Have Ever Seen

Thu Sep 28, 2000 3:19 am

TWFirst,

The amount of competition in a market has precious little to do with modern pricing policy. Who the competition is, on the other hand, has EVERYTHING to do with it. While you are correct that seat mile costs drop over distance, methinks the slope of that curve should be at least roughly the same whether or not Southwest is in the market.

As far as your "That's called market pricing" comment, well, that's one name for it. A great many consumers across this country have other names for it--rape and pillage, screw-you pricing, etc., etc. Bottom line--the "traditional" majors in this country have just about priced themselves out of the market, and American business (the constituency, not the airline) is desperately seeking anything they can find to avoid paying full fares. In an odd way, without low-fare carriers to police their pricing policies, the major carriers (the ones that don't look like corny-dogs, anyway) would find themselves re-regulated in a heartbeat.

Tyler's Dumb Dad
 
TWFirst
Posts: 5752
Joined: Wed Apr 19, 2000 5:30 am

RE: Ty's Suddenly More Articulate Papa

Thu Sep 28, 2000 3:34 am

I disagree with your first paragraph. Yes, SW typically charges less than the other majors. They can do that because they have a lower cost structure. However, if Delta, American, or any other airline entered a market with a lower fare, the others would follow. It doesn't have to be SW.

Come to think of it, I also disagree with your second paragraph. If the market thinks they're being raped and pillaged, they won't buy at those prices. The reality is more people now are flying than ever before. Passenger loads are over 80% on most of the majors. Either a hell of a lot of people don't mind being raped, or the market is bearing the price points.

One other note, it's not as if EBIT or ROIC in the airline industry is outstanding. Compared to other industries, it is very low due to the capital intensiveness of the industry.
An unexamined life isn't worth living.
 
dadoftyler
Posts: 245
Joined: Tue Dec 28, 1999 4:16 am

RE: The Dumbest Thing I Have Ever Seen

Thu Sep 28, 2000 3:59 am

OK, I'm in for a final round.

You're right, Southwest has a lower cost structure than the other majors. That allows them to charge lower fares, but it doesn't COMPEL them to do so. That's corporate policy. They could charge more in almost every one of their markets, get it, and still be below below the normal pricing formulas of the other guys, but choose not to. It might be interesting speculation as to whether that policy will change somwhat as the "regime" changes, but let's leave that for another thread.

And your're also spot on that when any carrier undercuts the others in a market, everyone usually matches. The degree of the undercut, particularly in the higher fare buckets, is what validates my paragraph #1. In my opinion, of course!

As far as using the record traffic numbers of late to prove passenger acceptance of current fare levels...huh? Business people have to travel, and at an every-increasing rate. Those are the people who are screaming bloody murder about the current fare structures, not dear Aunt Tillie in Miami who's just looking for a cheap way to go see the grandkids in Missoula. There have been countless articles about road warriors--most of whom are either frequent transcon flyers or live in "fortress hub" cities--who, to paraphrase the line from the old movie "Network" are mad as hell but HAVE to take it as there is no other viable way to conduct business today other than to fly.

For that matter, I'm convinced that a significant part of the current outcry (fueled by the media, of course) about the "horrible" service on the Majors today is really anger and frustration about fare levels. People who pay upwards of $2400 to fly roundtrip coach between BOS and LAX aren't really upset that the flight crew didn't smile, the coffee was cold, etc., etc. They're angry that they are being charged fares like that and STILL being treated like shmucks. (sp?)

The financials for this industry have always been borderline frightening, at least. It'll be interesting to see if they behave as they always have when the economy begins to sour--whenver THAT may be...

Good day!

Tyler's Somewhat Redeemed Dad
 
TWFirst
Posts: 5752
Joined: Wed Apr 19, 2000 5:30 am

RE: DOT (Dad Of Tyler)

Thu Sep 28, 2000 4:13 am

Now it's my turn to say "HUH??"

"...as there is no other viable way to conduct business today other than to fly."

Don't they have video conferencing, the internet, and e-mail down there in Texas yet??  

Granted, there are a hell of a lot of business fliers these days. But to read your post above, it sounds as if you think these people are paying for their tickets out of their own pockets. I'd venture to say most business folk aren't sitting on the aircraft thinking about how much their company paid for their ticket. They're probably more concerned about making that sale, or getting home to see their kids, or something like that. I can guarantee you if businesses suddenly stopped sending employees on all but absolutely essential business trips in an effort to cut costs, and found other ways to conduct business other than face-to-face, the airlines would adjust their fares in a BIG hurry. But IMHO, businesses are willing to pay business fares and look at it as a cost to do business. I think most businesses realize you pay more at the last minute for just about anything, including air fares. You also pay more for flexibility. Thus, fully-refundable tickets that allow all the changes you want also cost more.

Adios.
An unexamined life isn't worth living.
 
RealHigh
Posts: 924
Joined: Sun Jul 02, 2000 7:09 am

RE: The Dumbest Thing I Have Ever Seen

Thu Sep 28, 2000 4:49 am

RE: TWFirst
Come on, we all know most Texans aren't that sophisticated! Look at who there Governor is.
 
ScottB
Posts: 5413
Joined: Fri Jul 28, 2000 1:25 am

RE: TWFirst

Thu Sep 28, 2000 5:02 am

The reason "more people are flying now than ever before" is precisely because of low-fare carriers, not because of some perceived value by airlines who will charge whatever the market will bear.

Check out the DOT's report entitled "The Low Cost Airline Service Revolution" - http://ostpxweb.ost.dot.gov/aviation/domav/lcs.pdf

Note that they found that while overall passenger counts are up, the number of passengers in markets without low-fare service has declined.

And those business travelers flying on unrestricted coach fares know how much those tickets cost, and they probably *do* expect considerably better service knowing how much was spent on their ticket - even if it didn't come out of their pocket.
 
Guest

RE: The Dumbest Thing I Have Ever Seen

Thu Sep 28, 2000 5:03 am


How about this one.

STR - AMS on EW currently is about 500 $
STR - AMS - JFK is about 400 $ (EW/KL)

Nice, he ??

 
sccutler
Posts: 5555
Joined: Thu Jan 27, 2000 12:16 pm

Real High

Thu Sep 28, 2000 5:19 am

I know I'm gonna regret this, but...

...maybe we dumb-a**ed ol' country folks ain't so stupid, after all...

...our guv'nah knows how to tell the truth. Maybe we're just a little bit better at spotting the real deal.

In any event, if (as you have posited) Texans are so bad, how is it that the intellectually-superior citizens of your home town elected a native Texan to be your mayor?

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Save the political commentary for the editorial page, and there, if you want to be credible, reserve your comments for topics on which you possess facts, rather than knee-jerk bias. Reasonable people can differ with honor and in good faith, but when you exhibit disrespect, you earn it in double portions.

By the way, is Trattoria Contadina still there, and still good?
...three miles from BRONS, clear for the ILS one five approach...
 
B747-437B
Posts: 8777
Joined: Thu May 30, 2002 6:54 am

RE: The Dumbest Thing I Have Ever Seen

Thu Sep 28, 2000 6:20 am

SEA-MCO on TW is a Karabu market

SEA-STL on TW is a non-Karabu market

QED
"The A340-300 may boast a long range, but the A340 is underpowered" -- Robert Milton, CEO - Air Canada
 
Guest

RE: The Dumbest Thing I Have Ever Seen

Thu Sep 28, 2000 6:25 am

Hi,

the other day, I bought a ticket RDU-SBN via Detroit on NW. I paid around $200. The ticket to Detroit only was $900. The story is that there is only one airline flying direct to DTW: NW. There are 3 airlines flying to SBN via ORD (UA), CIN (DL) or DTW (NW). That means I have more choices for the RDU-SBN route so the price goes down. That's the same problem everytime you fly to/from an airport such as STL where a particular airline has a strong presence: Because they virtually have a hand on the airport, they can easily wipe out the concurrence by lowering outrageously their prices for a while and once they succeeded they can jack up the prices again.
Now why are aircraft so full even though the prices are so high??? Not because people are stupid (I think) but because they have no choice. If you want to go to DTW from RDU you have to pay the price on NW, or you have to have at least one connection with another carrier (something that most people try to avoid if they have the choice). Since more and more people travel by air now, the demand gets higher and the offer remains fairly limited so the airlines can increase their prices. That's how the market works. And since there is not an alternative to air travel to go somewhere quickly, people don't really have a choice. When you have to go somewhere, you pay what it costs to get there. At least that's what I do! (like millions of other passengers looks like!)


mls737
 
Superfly
Posts: 37735
Joined: Thu May 11, 2000 8:01 am

RE: The Dumbest Thing I Have Ever Seen

Thu Sep 28, 2000 6:50 am

RE:Sccutler

Trattoria Contadina is still there and hasn't been forced out by rent increases due to the dot com-ers.

As a San Francisco dweller, I want to apologize for the political rhetoric brought in to this forum by another San Francisco resident. RealHigh may be completly stoned!  

Our Mayor Willie Brown is a native Texan, although he left back in the turbulent 1960s.

Hey lets talk about airlines!

Pardon my ignorance, but whare is MCO. My depth of knowledge of aviation doesn't include every airport code name.  
Bring back the Concorde
 
sccutler
Posts: 5555
Joined: Thu Jan 27, 2000 12:16 pm

RE: The Dumbest Thing I Have Ever Seen

Thu Sep 28, 2000 7:21 am

Super-

Thanks- my point exactly.

I have frequently disagreed with Mr. Brown back when he was Speaker (and I was living in that part of the state bay-area people do not claim as their own- LA/OC), but he has (as best I can tell) been a genuine and dedicated public servant, and (note well) never afraid to take a stand (whether you liked it or not), and take the heat. That is honor. It appears to me that San Francisco is well-served by Mayor Brown.

Back on-topic- MCO is Orlando and, yes, some folks try to use abbreviations to show off their knowledge.. even been accused of that myself, betimes. I try to avoid it (except the most obvious ones) because I no longer recognize a number of the airline codes.

Thanks for the food answer, too- I gotta get back your way to what has to be the best city in the USofA.

As an airliner nut, am I out of line for also finding the cablecars fascinating? And, a little bit frightening, once a conductor explained the braking system to me in depth.

Anyway, sorry for rambling.
...three miles from BRONS, clear for the ILS one five approach...
 
Superfly
Posts: 37735
Joined: Thu May 11, 2000 8:01 am

RE: The Dumbest Thing I Have Ever Seen

Thu Sep 28, 2000 7:59 am

RE: Sccutler

No you are not out of line finding cable cars fascinating! Its another form of transportation. Its serves areas airplanes cant.

I should have known MCO was Orlando! I've flown there twice! Gosh, I am an idiot for that! 

Get here quick! San Francisco is loosing a lot of cool places to eat! All the dot-com yuppies are buying up every inch of commercial property to put there stupid fly-by-night operations.  
Bring back the Concorde
 
HyperMike
Posts: 968
Joined: Sun Dec 05, 1999 7:03 am

RE: The Dumbest Thing I Have Ever Seen

Thu Sep 28, 2000 8:27 am

I've seen this on US. I was going to fly PIT-BNA and it would cost me close to $400 restricted. If I flew out of YNG (about an hour's drive from PIT) it would cost me about $250 restricted. But flying US from YNG, you have to go through PIT.

Yup, its called Market Pricing.
 
UAPilot7
Posts: 330
Joined: Tue May 18, 1999 4:28 am

The Problem Is...

Thu Sep 28, 2000 8:29 am

You could do that, but there are a few problems...

1.) If you arrive in STL, and get off there, your baggage, no matter waht you do can not be taken off until it has been flown to the final destination on your tciket. It is against the law to remove any connecting bag should it not be at its final city.

2.) You will be fine on the SEA-STL-MCO leg, however once you miss the MCO-STL route on your return, they will cancel your reservation, assume you are a no-show, and give your seat to a tstandby. Therefore there is no way you could get on in STL, unless you are very pursuasive. You COULD call the airline and tell them you decided to drive to STL (call before the MCO-STL takes off). But who would ever do that, lol!

The airlines play tricks!

Hope this helps!
 
COTPARES
Posts: 29
Joined: Sat Sep 30, 2000 4:15 pm

RE: The Dumbest Thing I Have Ever Seen

Sat Sep 30, 2000 5:27 pm

I work in reservations:
A neat little trick some business travelers do when they want to go IAH-EWR (CO's Hubs) on short notice (usually a full Y unrestricted fare value $800-1000) is to change routing via ATL or DFW causing it to price "point to point" thus reducing the fare by half!

They find these little tricks on the internet sometimes and come up with the darndest
routing !

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