AZa346
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Joined: Sun Jun 26, 2016 2:58 pm

Why do legacy carriers charge more for one way?

Sat Feb 09, 2019 10:34 am

I was recently looking for a flight.. the nonstop carriers on the route are EasyJet and Hop. The outbound time was more convenient with Hop amd the return with Easyjet.. when i searched the one way leg on AF website, the price for the same flight increased. So i ended up bookimg ezy both ways. Why do they do that? I am sure they loose a lot of customers because of this practice.
Is it common also for LH,AZ, DL, KL EK and the likes? Thanks
 
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PatrickZ80
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Re: Why do legacy carriers charge more for one way?

Sat Feb 09, 2019 11:50 am

It's part of their complicated fare structure, same reason you can get a discount if you add an extra leg to your booking (hidden destination). I've heard of people wanting to book a one-way, booking a return and then skipping the return flight.

Why the legacies got this complicated fare structure beats me, I never understood. However it might change as in several European countries there are lawsuits going on to allow for hidden destinations. Here in the Netherlands if you want to fly KLM to Amsterdam it might be cheaper to book them to Dusseldorf with a transfer in Amsterdam and then skip the Amsterdam - Dusseldorf leg. KLM considers that illegal (hidden destination), but depending on the outcome of the lawsuit it might be decided otherwise.

If a hidden destination is allowed, then a hidden departure should be allowed too. So if you book a KLM flight from Amsterdam to anywhere you might get a discount if you start your flight in Dusseldorf and transfer in Amsterdam instead of departing from Amsterdam. But you don't actually fly from Dusseldorf, you just show up in Amsterdam for your flight. The outcome of this lawsuit would be that this would be allowed and you should be accepted for your flight from Amsterdam even if you didn't show up in Dusseldorf.

That would change the fare structure as it would no longer make sense for KLM to give a discount when adding an additional track either before or after. Flying from Amsterdam would get cheaper and if you want that added track to or from Dusseldorf you pay extra for it. That's where this will eventually lead to.

Of course the LCCs are way ahead of the legacies as they already charge per leg. A return flight on an LCC is just two one-way flights and if you want a transfer (some LCCs allow for that) you pay for any leg you add to your booking. If hidden destinations on legacies are allowed this is where the fare system on the legacies will eventually go to as well.
 
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PatrickZ80
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Re: Why do legacy carriers charge more for one way?

Sat Feb 09, 2019 12:00 pm

By the way, Norwegian already allows for hidden destinations and hidden departures. Not that there are many possibilities on that, they already charge per leg plus a transfer fee but there is one case where it could make sense.

Suppose you're booking London Gatwick - New York JFK on Norwegian. Since in this case you're departing from the UK you pay the British APD. However check what happens if instead you book Copenhagen - London Gatwick - New York JFK even if it's the same flight. That might actually be cheaper than London Gatwick - New York JFK. This is because if you start your journey in Copenhagen you're a transfer passenger in Gatwick and you don't pay APD. But Norwegian doesn't check if you actually fly Copenhagen - London Gatwick. You can skip that leg, show up at Gatwick and fly to New York. They allow this!

If one airline allows it, it's only a matter of time before others follow suit. What's next? British Airways allowing this? If Norwegian does, don't they have to as well?
 
Wednesdayite
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Re: Why do legacy carriers charge more for one way?

Sat Feb 09, 2019 2:05 pm

PatrickZ80 wrote:
I've heard of people wanting to book a one-way, booking a return and then skipping the return flight.


Yep. Very common.

In fact I did exactly that when I emigrated.
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747Whale
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Re: Why do legacy carriers charge more for one way?

Sat Feb 09, 2019 2:21 pm

The flight cost might be more or less; it depends on when you booked it, how full the flight was and how many enquiries the system had received. If you make several enquiries, you may find that the price goes up, in part due to repeated requests (system views this as greater interest or activity on that flight, and predictive software looks at the rate at which it may fill up, with cost adjusting accordingly).

If you book a hotel for several nights, you may get a different rate than just one night; the same may apply for flights. It benefits the airline to have more seats sold, and may benefit you, too. Also, if one leg of several are sold, it may be harder for the airline to sell the other legs to someone that needs to go the full distance, which costs the airline more. If your seat costs extra, it's part of the opportunity cost to the airline for the other unsold seats.

Remember that with code sharing and other interaction between airlines, as well as connections, the interaction between various flights can be very complicated, and is constantly changing. It's not just your flight; it's the hundreds of other interacting flights and ripple effect between them that cause the changes. The ticket you just purchased may not have affected the specific flight you're on, but may be part of a more complex relationship in flights with connections; it's chess in several dimensions.

Tickets aren't always more expensive one-way. It depends on the airline, the destination and departure, the time, and the circumstance.
 
aden23
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Re: Why do legacy carriers charge more for one way?

Sat Feb 09, 2019 3:51 pm

The simple answer is that airlines are interested in making money, not in serving customers fairly.

So if they can get away with charging more, well, they always have and they always will.

It’s been great watching airlines like Norwegian flip this script on its head by offering reasonable one-way fees, instead of trying to squeeze more cash out of their customers.
 
747Whale
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Re: Why do legacy carriers charge more for one way?

Tue Feb 12, 2019 10:10 am

That may be the simple answer, but it's also not true.
 
geologyrocks
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Re: Why do legacy carriers charge more for one way?

Tue Feb 12, 2019 3:32 pm

I just don't think there are enough one way customers where it really causes enough attention.

With that being said, every seat is a revenue opportunity. People complain all the time about the price of fares on short flights. The reality is that the airlines don't actually want you on that short flight if you're not going to pay a lot. Nobody wants you to take up a seat on a flight from Chattanooga to Atlanta for $40. What they want is somebody else in that seat who wants to go beyond Atlanta so they can make a lot more money when you go to Tokyo.

Likewise, I think we can all agree that coach has become a commodity. There's really no substantial difference between a coach seat on one airline vs another these days. I don't fault airlines for trying to take advantage of the one thing that still carries more value than anything else: non-stop.
 
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PatrickZ80
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Re: Why do legacy carriers charge more for one way?

Tue Feb 12, 2019 6:14 pm

geologyrocks wrote:
I don't fault airlines for trying to take advantage of the one thing that still carries more value than anything else: non-stop.


From a marketing point of view, you're right. However there are other factors weighing against that.

- Operating costs. A passenger taking a direct flight costs the airline the least amount of money. Only one seat to fill, no luggage forwarding, etc.

- Environment. A one-stop flight causes more pollution than a non-stop flight, so from an environmental point of view you want passengers to take direct flights as much as possible.

For these reasons it would make sense to encourage direct flights by making them cheaper and discourage one-stop flights by making them more expensive. Right, discouraging one-stop flights and encouraging non-stop might drive passengers in the hand of the competition, but when the competition does the same they also drive passengers towards you.
 
mchei
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Re: Why do legacy carriers charge more for one way?

Tue Feb 12, 2019 9:05 pm

A very good question...
They sometimes or always define a minimum stay at destination. If you can do a return trip on the same day, they will charge a ridiculous amount of money (Bremen-Geneva-Bremen on the same day was at 900 euros recently and Hamburg-Copenhagen-Hamburg, with SAS operated by someone else, can easily get beyond 1,000 euros). Flying through hubs can make it cheaper. Sometimes... I also learnt that some legacy carrier, and I especially heard from LH, chase the no-Show people which is why my company doesn’t book the fake or hidden destinations anymore. It’s sad but true. Even for corporate traveling they squeeze as much juice out of the fruit as they can. But hey - those fruits seems to be the easiest to squeeze...
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PatrickZ80
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Re: Why do legacy carriers charge more for one way?

Tue Feb 12, 2019 9:54 pm

mchei wrote:
I also learnt that some legacy carrier, and I especially heard from LH, chase the no-Show people which is why my company doesn’t book the fake or hidden destinations anymore.


Indeed they do, however in another threat I read that a court decided against Lufthansa. This means you can just book a hidden destination and Lufthansa is not allowed to chase and charge you for it anymore. Of course Lufthansa can still appeal, it remains to be seen if they do.

Anyway, for now hidden destinations are allowed on Lufthansa until the appeal decides otherwise which is highly unlikely.

mchei wrote:
A very good question...
They sometimes or always define a minimum stay at destination. If you can do a return trip on the same day, they will charge a ridiculous amount of money (Bremen-Geneva-Bremen on the same day was at 900 euros recently and Hamburg-Copenhagen-Hamburg, with SAS operated by someone else, can easily get beyond 1,000 euros).


True, however there is a trick to that. Take your example of Bremen - Geneva - Bremen on the same day.

Instead of booking a same-day return ticket you book two return tickets with a week stay. One Bremen - Geneva - Bremen and the other Geneva - Bremen - Geneva. From both of them you only fly the onward flight and skip the return. As both tickets have a week stay instead of a few hours they'll be so much cheaper that it pays off.

Of course, there are also airlines that charge per leg. These are often (but not always) LCCs. Ryanair, EasyJet, etc. In that case there is no problem. On whatever date you travel, you just buy two one-way tickets.

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