CaptainAce
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Why are some United Express flights in the North East so expensive?

Tue Apr 18, 2017 1:22 pm

I was thinking about taking a just for fun United Flight from Hartford to Newark and the price was around $650. I was shocked the price would be high for such a short flight, some long distance flights were even cheaper than that even Newark to Hong Kong was. Is the reason why the price is so high because United only wants passengers that have connecting flights at Newark on board and not just passengers heading to Newark?
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pwm2txlhopper
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Re: Why are some United Express flights in the North East so expensive?

Tue Apr 18, 2017 1:28 pm

Because they have a monopoly on the route. Can charge as much as they want, and if somebody doesn't want to pay the fare, than there is enough demand that somebody will. Airlines are in business to make money, not offer cheap flights.
 
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Polot
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Re: Why are some United Express flights in the North East so expensive?

Tue Apr 18, 2017 1:33 pm

Those flights are primarily filled with connecting traffic, not O&D. Because of that O&D fares are high as there is no air competition and 99% of the O&D traffic is going to drive or take a train anyways. Might as well make as much money off the weird sucker who absolutely wants/needs to fly.

It is the same for all hub-nearby spoke markets no matter the airline. You should see some of the Southeast US-ATL/CLT fares on DL/AA.
 
yhu
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Re: Why are some United Express flights in the North East so expensive?

Tue Apr 18, 2017 1:40 pm

It would also help to know what dates you were looking at. If I look to book that same route in mid-June I see round trip fares of $380 all in.
 
oldannyboy
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Re: Why are some United Express flights in the North East so expensive?

Tue Apr 18, 2017 2:14 pm

..Lack of competition??..plus the desire to sell as many seats as possible as tag-ons to EWR connections?.
 
commavia
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Re: Why are some United Express flights in the North East so expensive?

Tue Apr 18, 2017 2:18 pm

Polot wrote:
Those flights are primarily filled with connecting traffic, not O&D. Because of that O&D fares are high as there is no air competition and 99% of the O&D traffic is going to drive or take a train anyways. Might as well make as much money off the weird sucker who absolutely wants/needs to fly.

It is the same for all hub-nearby spoke markets no matter the airline. You should see some of the Southeast US-ATL/CLT fares on DL/AA.


This is the answer. It has little if anything to do with United having a monopoly, and far more to do with United intentionally pricing local seats on this route to discourage customers from booking it. United doesn't want a passenger booking a ticket from BDL to EWR because that local passenger could be displacing a higher-yielding longhaul connecting customer. So, as a result, United intentionally prices the local city pair very high to dissuade all but the most determined, insistent traveler from booking. United would much rather sell a BDL-EWR seat to a person connecting to LAX or HKG or LHR and let local Hartford-NYC passengers take Amtrak.
 
Flighty
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Re: Why are some United Express flights in the North East so expensive?

Tue Apr 18, 2017 2:26 pm

In addition to the above, the theory of that price is, you may need to attend a meeting on one side, or, you may need to attend a funeral on one side while working a half day on the other. Anyone who doesn't actually need jet transport on the route will drive instead.

That is the revenue maximizing price for that piece of equipment on that route. The jet is NOT cheap to operate.
 
jco613
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Re: Why are some United Express flights in the North East so expensive?

Tue Apr 18, 2017 2:32 pm

I was looking at taking the United bus EWR-ABE...but you can't buy just the bus route.
 
kalvado
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Re: Why are some United Express flights in the North East so expensive?

Tue Apr 18, 2017 2:38 pm

Flighty wrote:
In addition to the above, the theory of that price is, you may need to attend a meeting on one side, or, you may need to attend a funeral on one side while working a half day on the other. Anyone who doesn't actually need jet transport on the route will drive instead.

That is the revenue maximizing price for that piece of equipment on that route. The jet is NOT cheap to operate.

-First of all, UA has turboprops running these routes - Dash-8, mostly -200. Probably doesn't change things too much, but
-Second - why not put a bigger plane and collect both connecting AND local traffic?
-Third - I suspect that TSA + getting to airport + getting from airport makes flight less of a time saver, and drive may be just as fast anyway.
 
iflyalexair
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Re: Why are some United Express flights in the North East so expensive?

Tue Apr 18, 2017 2:41 pm

commavia wrote:
Polot wrote:
Those flights are primarily filled with connecting traffic, not O&D. Because of that O&D fares are high as there is no air competition and 99% of the O&D traffic is going to drive or take a train anyways. Might as well make as much money off the weird sucker who absolutely wants/needs to fly.

It is the same for all hub-nearby spoke markets no matter the airline. You should see some of the Southeast US-ATL/CLT fares on DL/AA.


This is the answer. It has little if anything to do with United having a monopoly, and far more to do with United intentionally pricing local seats on this route to discourage customers from booking it. United doesn't want a passenger booking a ticket from BDL to EWR because that local passenger could be displacing a higher-yielding longhaul connecting customer. So, as a result, United intentionally prices the local city pair very high to dissuade all but the most determined, insistent traveler from booking. United would much rather sell a BDL-EWR seat to a person connecting to LAX or HKG or LHR and let local Hartford-NYC passengers take Amtrak.


I would certainly disagree with this analysis. United would be thrilled to fill the flight with all O&D traffic paying this fare. The yields would be fantastic. It's certainly possible that a passenger making a connection *could* have an expensive ticket, but conversely, the passenger might be flying BDL-EWR-MCO on a $200 fare, taking up two seats on two flights at a fraction of the ticket cost of BDL-EWR. They charge these predatory fares because, as others have states, they are the only game in town on that route. Inventory control would be the solution to keeping the seats from being filled with cheap connections, but there's no way UA wouldn't be happy with a full plane of high fare O&D.
 
commavia
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Re: Why are some United Express flights in the North East so expensive?

Tue Apr 18, 2017 2:42 pm

kalvado wrote:
-Second - why not put a bigger plane and collect both connecting AND local traffic?


Because doing so may well render the entire flight unprofitable. I'm fairly sure that if United thought it could profit from flying more people from BDL to EWR - local or connecting - they would be doing it. United has apparently determined that the unique characteristics of that market - distance, operating costs, fare mix, passenger profile, etc. - indicate that the profit-maximizing option is the actively favor passengers connecting over EWR and actively discourage local passengers. Plus, as said, for that particular local market, the train is almost certainly faster and more convenient for most passengers, anyway.

iflyalexair wrote:
United would be thrilled to fill the flight with all O&D traffic paying this fare. The yields would be fantastic.


Right, but that's the point - United couldn't ever fill a BDL-EWR flight with those O&D fares - there aren't enough people willing to pay those fares because it's not worth it when Amtrak is faster and easier. Thus precisely why United charges that fare - to discern which passengers are just taking a quick flight "for fun" and those who are so insistent on flying from BDL to EWR that they're willing to pay an exorbitant fare to displace a higher-yielding connecting passenger.

iflyalexair wrote:
It's certainly possible that a passenger making a connection *could* have an expensive ticket, but conversely, the passenger might be flying BDL-EWR-MCO on a $200 fare, taking up two seats on two flights at a fraction of the ticket cost of BDL-EWR.


That's how revenue management works. This isn't theoretical and hypothetical for United - United has real, actual data upon which to base its capacity and fare decisions. United's goal is the maximize the profit contribution of any given flight - whether that's a local or connecting passenger. Clearly United feels that it isn't worth it to sell a local BDL-EWR ticket except a very high price, precisely because it could displace a higher-yielding connecting passenger. I trust United's judgement.

iflyalexair wrote:
They charge these predatory fares because, as others have states, they are the only game in town on that route. Inventory control would be the solution to keeping the seats from being filled with cheap connections, but there's no way UA wouldn't be happy with a full plane of high fare O&D.


The fare isn't "predatory" in the slightest. It's entirely economically rational. There's a reason United is the "only game in town on that route" - no other airline would ever fly BDL-EWR except for the airline with a massive megahub at EWR to cater to connections. There is virtually no local market on this route - virtually every person in the local city pair takes the train. As such, it should not be at all surprising that capacity, and fares, on this route will be optimized for connections and not O&D.
 
Newbiepilot
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Re: Why are some United Express flights in the North East so expensive?

Tue Apr 18, 2017 3:06 pm

Polot wrote:
Those flights are primarily filled with connecting traffic, not O&D. Because of that O&D fares are high as there is no air competition and 99% of the O&D traffic is going to drive or take a train anyways. Might as well make as much money off the weird sucker who absolutely wants/needs to fly.

It is the same for all hub-nearby spoke markets no matter the airline. You should see some of the Southeast US-ATL/CLT fares on DL/AA.


UA may be earning a few extra bucks since Amtrak isn't really a viable option for now. They are building a new track which has limited Hartford to only a couple trains a day. The Boston to New York trains require someone to take a bus from New Haven to Hartford.
 
mcg
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Re: Why are some United Express flights in the North East so expensive?

Tue Apr 18, 2017 3:25 pm

Competition is the primary factor. My son used to occasionally fly SLC-MSO and occasionally fly SLC-DEN. Both flights were exactly the same distance (or at least scheduled flight time). The SLC-MSO trip was typically two and half times more expensive than the SLC-DEN trip. Why the difference?; it's pretty clear that the four airlines operating the Denver trip were significantly more competitive than the one airline airline operating the Missoula route.
 
slcdeltarumd11
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Re: Why are some United Express flights in the North East so expensive?

Tue Apr 18, 2017 3:30 pm

I think United is really only interested in O&D on these monopoly routes unless someone pays alot. UA flies most of these for connections. There is no way flying is faster then driving on that route when you factor in getting to/from the airport, security, parking, delays etc. Amtrak from city center to city center is probably the business persons preference on that route. Amtrak does have some trains that go thru with the current construction, i actually just took the Vermonter on this exact route. When amtraks construction is over, no on will want to fly.

Now take BTV-EWR which has lots of competition from B6, AA, UA, DL. I have purchased $29, $39, $49 one ways frequently. United flies mostly connections but does want the O&D so that the competition doesn't get it.
 
commavia
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Re: Why are some United Express flights in the North East so expensive?

Tue Apr 18, 2017 3:52 pm

mcg wrote:
Competition is the primary factor.


In this case, the only competition that's relevant is Amtrak and cars. There is virtually no local market between BDL and EWR, which is why no airline flies it except the one airline with a hub at EWR over which to flow connections. Again - United's flights from BDL to EWR exist for connections, and not O&D, which is why they're priced accordingly.
 
GolfBravoRomeo
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Re: Why are some United Express flights in the North East so expensive?

Tue Apr 18, 2017 4:05 pm

Random date in June UA will get you from BDL to EWR for as little as $227, but you'll be connecting in IAD.

I noticed the flexible economy is $676 ($100 premium) nonstop and $1,000 ($700+ premium) via IAD, what's up with that?
 
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knope2001
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Re: Why are some United Express flights in the North East so expensive?

Tue Apr 18, 2017 6:11 pm

The thin demand on short-hop regional routes is not very price sensitive – almost no leisure traffic. One-way $90 versus $270 probably doesn’t change the EWR-BDL demand much – almost certainly not triple. And even if it did, United would be a whole lot better to use 1 seat to get $270 revenue than 3 seats.

While it may seem to make no sense why anybody would ever fly as a local EWR-BDL passenger given the short drive, Amtrak, and busses, I suspect you’d find a good portion of these travelers don’t reside in either place, some just flying one-way. If I’m Denver-based and visiting clients in Pittsburgh, Newark and Hartford over the course of a few days I may fly DEN-PIT, PIT-EWR, EWR-BDL and BDL-DEN as local one-way trips on four consecutive days. I may not recognize that it’s a fairly short drive, I may not want to add the expense of a car and face the traffic, I may not want to figure out if and how Amtrak would be a good option, I may want my UA miles. My total expenses for the week could easily be $300, and the difference between paying $90 or $270 for that EWR-BDL leg is not significant. If anything the fact that I’m combining all three clients into one trip is saving significant dollar and time expense.

Now if I do this route often and I get burned on Newark ATC I may learn the hard way that I'd be better off with Amtrak. But it's a fine line, especially if I've gotten burned by awful NYC traffic or Amtrak issues. And don't underestimate that people do what they're comfortable, often aren't good with geography, and don't like to admit what they don't know.

It’s not that business expenses are blank checks with zero scrutiny (though I’m sure there’s a very wide range from company to company and within companies based on who is traveling) but a high-dollar sales or account executive is not going to be pressed on a detail like this at most companies.
 
Adipasquale
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Re: Why are some United Express flights in the North East so expensive?

Tue Apr 18, 2017 6:37 pm

knope2001 wrote:
Now if I do this route often and I get burned on Newark ATC I may learn the hard way that I'd be better off with Amtrak. But it's a fine line, especially if I've gotten burned by awful NYC traffic or Amtrak issues.

From experience, these very short regional flights out of EWR are often horribly delayed, to the point I cannot possibly see how taking Amtrak or driving is not the better option. For example I booked ITH-EWR-BWI-EWE-ITH on UA in February, outbound, my EWR-BWI flight was cancelled and they had to rebook me the next day on AA SYR-DCA after a lot of prodding. On the way back, my BWI-EWR flight was delayed about three hours and I ended up missing my connection back to ITH. Funny story about this: both the BWI-EWR and EWR-ITH legs were on the same a/c, I told the FA my situation and she told me to get off the plane, and reboard. Since they board the Dashes at remote stands, by the time my bus got back to the terminal and I got to the gate, they had already sent the outbound bus and closed the gate, and was rebooked on the next flight out in the morning. This got me thinking, if I had talked to the captain or f/o, would they have been able to keep me on the plane and radio the gate, or because it was not a direct flight, and I just happened to have the same a/c for both legs, was there no possible way I could have stayed on the plane?
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jetsetter629
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Re: Why are some United Express flights in the North East so expensive?

Tue Apr 18, 2017 9:19 pm

How about the $730 I routinely pay to fly PHL-PIT. It's a 5 hour drive but not fun to drive twice in two days for a meeting...
 
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knope2001
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Re: Why are some United Express flights in the North East so expensive?

Tue Apr 18, 2017 11:03 pm

knope2001 wrote:
. My total expenses for the week could easily be $300, and the difference between paying $90 or $270 for that EWR-BDL leg is not significant. If anything the fact that I’m combining all three clients into one trip is saving significant dollar and time expense. .


Should be $3000 for the week, not $300...dang typo.
 
freakyrat
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Re: Why are some United Express flights in the North East so expensive?

Thu Apr 20, 2017 3:26 am

Pretty expensive fare. A popular United Express route SBN-EWR is always less than $400.00 R/T if booked in advance.
 
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precure787
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Re: Why are some United Express flights in the North East so expensive?

Thu Apr 20, 2017 5:19 am

Due to high demand on such smaller aircraft, the prices are relatively expensive. Jet fuel also makes flights expensive as well. In short, it's from higher fuel consumption per passenger. Think this way: There are 2 variants of the A330s (shortened -200 series and stretched -300 series), powered by same type of engines. Let's say that an airline flies both -200 and -300, powered by PW engines (you may guess that the airline might be Delta), and these PW engines have the same fuel consumption. Given that, the -300 would yield lower fare prices compared to the -200, because of fuel consumption per capita.
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