Friday, January 23, 2009

This Makes No Sense to Me

I’m working on setting up a trip for work. Typically, I do a one-day trip, if I can, to get all the travel out of the way in one shot. It makes for a long day, but I get to sleep in my own bed and it usually works out fine.

The company that I am supposed to be visiting has two locations, one in Dallas and one in Kansas City. The contact I called today suggested that it might be possible to see both facilities in one day, if I were to fly down to Dallas and meet him there and then fly up to Kansas City and then from there I would go back home to O’Hare.

I didn’t think my boss would go for it, with the economic crunch and the extra expense of the additional two flights, but I brought it up anyway. She said she didn’t figure it would work out, but I looked up flight prices anyway, just for shits and giggles.

Turns out that to fly from O’Hare to Dallas to Kansas City to O’Hare in mid-February costs $278 on American Airlines. To fly from O’Hare to Dallas to O’Hare costs $315 on American. Hmmmmm? That can’t be right. I checked other times during the day and got the same result within a couple dollars. Then I tried United and they told me it would be $476.20 to fly from O’Hare to Dallas and back, unless I’d like to fly from O’Hare to Denver to Dallas, and then the flight was about $200 less.

I’m not the only one seeing a problem with this right?


Tania said...

Hey, I'm the WRONG person to have this conversation with.

I've seen this for the same travel dates:

FAI - SEA $600

FAI - SEA - WAS - $500

FAI - SEA - SAN - $500

What do all of these have in common? Oh, yeah. I'm flying through SEATTLE??!?!?! WTF?

Ilya said...

Not sure about Tania's example, whether it's one-way trip and whether the prices are for different times of departure (early morning is almost always is more expensive than mid-afternoon, for instance)...

But in Matt's example, the likeliest explanation has to do with relative popularity of the routes, coupled with timing. The return leg of your O'Hare - Dallas - O'Hare trip in late afternoon is probably the most popular leg, with demand high enough so that the price comes up. The roundabout way of returning, conversely, is probably not as popular, with plenty of empty seats on the flights, so the airline discounts them to fill the space.

... Paige said...

It's just Reganomics...Oh wait that is over with now.

Konstantin said...

Actually its pretty normal these days.

ORD-MCO-TPA-ORD is much cheaper than ORD-TPA-ORD.

BTW, I already hate myself for saying it, have you tried Midway?

mattw said...

Konstantin, I didn't try Midway. O'Hare is so close and it would probably take me an hour to get to Midway, and the company's paying for the tickets anyway. If I were doing it for myself, I'd check out Midway.