Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Airlines: Why we hate you

No matter your business or industry, you probably have to fly to do your job. You may even choose to fly in pursuit of fun (remember that?!). Whatever the purpose, we have all learned to accept poor customer service, dirty planes, starvation and delayed flights in exchange for the cheap fares we are now addicted to.
Despite all of these lax expectations, air carriers still manage to find ways to make the traveling public just plain hate them. To wit:

I am contemplating a trip from Denver to SoCal, and I choose to explore fares to the Ontario airport. Here's a non-stop on United for only $300 (not bad for less than 2 weeks before departure):

But since I'm searching with Kayak, I can also check-out fares to other nearby airports. Of course, I was expecting to check out other SoCal airports (San Diego, Orange County, LAX...), but to my surprise instead found this:

A flight for $173 round trip that starts and ends in Colorado Springs but has the EXACT SAME Denver/Ontario trip in the middle! So, for HALF the price I can take TWICE the flight segments. This defies all human logic.

Clearly their decision to price fares this way has no basis in costs. I couldn't even find a competing fare from COS to ONT that might explain why this fare exists from a competitive standpoint.

Meanwhile, I'm left with the choice of whether it's worth cutting our airfare in half by driving to an airport that's about 45 minutes further away than DIA and of course expanding the travel time significantly.

I choose to not divulge my decision, but to continue to hate airlines and to complain to the blogosphere instead.

Can anyone from United Airlines comment on this seeming paradox in pricing?

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