Subject: Re: Connecting Flight Question - airline pricing
Hi Jennie and Ziners,

You're absolutely right. It DOES seem insane to charge a higher price for less of a flight! I mean, you're taking up less space and asking the airline to burn less fuel, etc. So WHY does it cost more for a shorter flight and why do airlines price flights the way they do?

As I've mentioned in the past, everything airlines do is based first on the business traveler. In this case it's more based on demand and what the competition can or cannot provide.

A flight to Dayton (DAY) from most places, involves a connection (changing planes) unless you happen to be flying from a nearby hub city. Since a LOT of airlines fly into DAY via a connection there are a lot of choices and thus a lot of competition and thus a much lower, competitive price.

A NON-STOP flight into Cincinnati (CVG) however, can only be done by a handful of airlines from a FEW cities - unless it's Delta. Delta is probably the only airline or, one of VERY few that can provide a NON-STOP flight from where you're flying from into CVG (because CVG is a hub for Delta). Since Delta does NOT have much or any competition for the original flight you wanted they will charge a much higher price because there are those who are willing to pay it.

It's all about supply and demand. Airlines will basically charge as high a price as the market will pay and not a penny less, regardless of distance or anything else. A Chevrolet Corvette does not cost THAT much more to build than other cars and trucks. But Chevrolet makes a bigger profit on Corvettes than any other car or truck they build simply because people are willing to pay most of the asking price. Same with airlines, some flights will cost more or less to operate but the airline is going to charge whatever people are willing to pay.

Also, airlines know that it is usually a business traveler that flies one-way. Yes, there are, of course, exceptions but that is usually the case. Therefore, airlines typically make their one-way tickets only available as FULLY refundable and because of that, it is usually MORE expensive than a NON-refundable round-trip. If you're still with me, I'm impressed.

Everything the airlines do, as in most other companies, is to get the most money out of you. I'm sure you've thought to yourself "why don't airlines give last minute deals to fill up the plane so they don't fly with all those empty seats?" Again, good question and again, it's based on the business traveler. Airlines KNOW from years and years of statistical data that, in most cases, they're going to sell at least one last minute ticket to a business traveler. Imagine I have ten seats to sell on a flight that leaves in 24 hours. As the airline I know that I have a better chance of selling just one seat for a THOUSAND dollars to one business passenger who says "here's what I want, I don't care what the price is, here's my Corporate American Express card and here's my fax number, goodbye." That is much more likely to happen than being able to sell ten seats at a hundred dollars each within 24 hours of a flight. So an airline would rather sell ONE seat for a thousand and let the remaining nine go empty, than try to sell all ten for a fire-sale price.

Hope that helped. Let me know if you have further questions.

Gregory in Houston - admitting to being partially brain-washed 8^)