Unflug
Topic Author
Posts: 698
Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2012 5:25 pm

Weird Pricing / Booking Class Availability

Wed Dec 12, 2012 7:56 am

I just stumbled accross a weird pricing when browsing on united.com using the "nearby airports" feature:

Miami-Austin via Houston is 165 USD with the MIA-IAH leg on UA 1723

Miami-Houston same day same flight (UA 1723) is 201 USD

I understand that the booking class for MIA-IAH-AUS ist Economy K, while the booking class for MIA-IAH ist Economy T.

What I don't understand: why is Economy K not available when booking MIA-IAH, when it is available on the same flight when booking MIA-IAH-AUS? Anyone who knows the reason?

Will people book MIA-IAH-AUS and drop the second flight leg to get a cheaper flight to Houston?
 
LAXintl
Posts: 20183
Joined: Wed May 24, 2000 12:12 pm

RE: Weird Pricing / Booking Class Availability

Wed Dec 12, 2012 1:10 pm

Rather simple - its dynamic O&D pricing. System basically knows it can garner a higher MIA-IAH fare point to point fare, but needs to discount the AUS connection

In otherwords its not unusual to see certain fare buckets not be available for some itineraries and available for others using the same exact flights. I see this on a daily basis.
From the desert to the sea, to all of Southern California
 
User avatar
vhqpa
Posts: 1205
Joined: Mon Jul 04, 2005 8:21 pm

RE: Weird Pricing / Booking Class Availability

Wed Dec 12, 2012 2:20 pm

Quoting Unflug (Thread starter):
Will people book MIA-IAH-AUS and drop the second flight leg to get a cheaper flight to Houston?

That is beyond point ticketing. It is possible but only works one way and without checked baggage. Your baggage would be tagged directly to Austin. Also any flights after that on your itinerary after you miss your IAH-AUS flight would get cancelled. Just say for instance on AA MIA-DFW-ELP/DFW-MIA-CLT was cheaper than MIA-DFW-MIA once you miss the DFW-ELP sector the DFW-MIA-CLT flights would get cancelled.

While it's legal it is usually specifically prohibited on the Conditions of Carriage on most airlines including United and can result in the difference being charged to your credit card.

Quoting http://www.united.com/web/en-US/content/Contract_of_Carriage.pdf:
J) Prohibited Practices:
1) Fares apply for travel only between the points for which they are published. Tickets may not be purchased and
used at fare(s) from an initial departure point on the Ticket which is before the Passenger’s actual point of origin
of travel, or to a more distant point(s) than the Passenger’s actual destination being traveled even when the
purchase and use of such Tickets would produce a lower fare. This practice is known as “Hidden Cities
Ticketing” or “Point Beyond Ticketing” and is prohibited by UA.

2) The purchase and use of round-trip Tickets for the purpose of one-way travel only, known as “Throwaway
Ticketing” is prohibited by UA.
3) The use of Flight Coupons from two or more different Tickets issued at round trip fares for the purpose of
circumventing applicable tariff rules (such as advance purchase/minimum stay requirements) commonly referred
to as “Back-to-Back Ticketing” is prohibited by UA.
K) UA’s Remedies for Violation(s) of Rules - Where a Ticket is purchased and used in violation of these rules or any fare
rule (including Hidden Cities Ticketing, Point Beyond Ticketing, Throwaway Ticketing, or Back-to-Back Ticketing),
UA has the right in its sole discretion to take all actions permitted by law, including but not limited to, the following:
1) Invalidate the Ticket(s);
2) Cancel any remaining portion of the Passenger’s itinerary;
3) Confiscate any unused Flight Coupons;
4) Refuse to board the Passenger and to carry the Passenger’s baggage, unless the difference between the fare paid
and the fare for transportation used is collected prior to boarding;
5) Assess the Passenger for the actual value of the Ticket which shall be the difference between the lowest fare
applicable to the Passenger’s actual itinerary and the fare actually paid;
6) Delete miles in the Passenger’s frequent flyer account (UA’s MileagePlus Program), revoke the Passenger’s Elite
status, if any, in the MileagePlus Program, terminate the Passenger’s participation in the MileagePlus Program,
or take any other action permitted by the MileagePlus Program Rules in UA’s “MileagePlus Rules;” and
7) Take legal action with respect to the Passenger

Do at your own risk!
"There you go ladies and gentleman we're through Mach 1 the speed of sound no bumps no bangs... CONCORDE"
 
cofannyc
Posts: 142
Joined: Thu Jan 18, 2007 10:22 am

RE: Weird Pricing / Booking Class Availability

Fri Dec 14, 2012 12:48 am

Quoting Unflug (Thread starter):
What I don't understand: why is Economy K not available when booking MIA-IAH, when it is available on the same flight when booking MIA-IAH-AUS? Anyone who knows the reason?

Pricing is based on the origin and the destination (O&D) markets. The prices then correspond to booking classes (T and K in this example). Not every O&D market has a fare in every booking class.

In this case:

UA 1723 on the day you are traveling DOES have K class availability regardless of where you may be connecting to and from. However, the MIA-IAH market DOES NOT have a K class fare. The cheapest fare in that market is in T class.
 
Unflug
Topic Author
Posts: 698
Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2012 5:25 pm

RE: Weird Pricing / Booking Class Availability

Mon Dec 17, 2012 12:49 pm

Thanks for your replies, especially Jason/Vhqpa for the fare rules! Together with those rules the O&D pricing does make sense, without the rules it might not work.

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