Plane fares

Discussion in 'Other Public Transport' started by yorkie, 4 Jun 2019.

  1. yorkie

    yorkie Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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    I am aware that some people believe that transport fares should be priced "fairly". Some want this "fair" pricing to be priced according to distance, while others think that there can be a premium for some routes but that it should not be possible to undercut a fare with another fare, and that it shouldn't be possible to go further for less, nor should it be possible to pay more for a single compared to a return.

    I doubt there are many (if any) plane fares that are priced in a way that is intended to be "fair"; I suspect [nearly] all fares are based on 'market based pricing'.

    I am aware that some plane operators use single leg pricing only, while others will offer cheaper return fares; sometimes the return fare will vary depending on how many days you are staying (with day returns potentially being more expensive) and/or on whether or not it includes a particular day of the week at the destination (e.g. a Saturday).

    Some people think that such practices are unfair and should be stopped.

    If such practices were stopped, it is unclear how a truly "fair" model could be developed, if at all. I suspect it would be impossible to achieve.

    Moving away from market based pricing would surely result in many journeys being sold out a long way in advance, while other less popular journeys would struggle to sell many seats at all, as the price for high vs low demand flights on the same route would be the same. This would surely reduce in higher fares for many leisure passengers, as well as lower profits for airlines, and would therefore be bad for customers and the industry alike?

    Journeys such as Dublin to New York via London being cheaper than London to New York, on the same flight, are quite common. I know people who found it cheaper to get the Highland Chieftain from London to Inverness, stay in a hotel, and then fly back to London then onwards to their destination, compared to the higher price of a direct flight.

    When travelling from somewhere like London, if you do not want to double-back to somewhere like Dublin to get a cheaper fare, it may alternatively be cheaper to "split" at somewhere like Paris.

    People who know the system can get a cheaper fare than those who don't. That is, of course, the case with any 'market based pricing' model!

    Should this system be "simplified"? Should fares be made "fair"? If you think the answer to either of these questions is "yes", please do reply stating your proposals for how you would reform the fares.

    I'd also be interested in hearing from anyone who thinks the answer to these questions is "no" for planes, but "yes" for trains! If your answer varies by mode, feel free to explain why ;)
     
    Last edited: 4 Jun 2019
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  3. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    I'm not 100% sure of my view there, but there is a solid argument that yes, they should be different, and the reason is that the railway receives a subsidy for fulfilling a social need, whereas air travel generally does not, with a few limited exceptions, in which cases I would see that railway style ticketing should be applied to those specific flights. I'm thinking things like the Scottish island-hoppers there.
     
  4. WestCoast

    WestCoast Established Member

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    It's difficult given there's a lot of variables with air travel, a big one being tax.

    For the example given Dublin to New York via London on one ticket the Irish Government would levy a tax of €3 per passenger regardless of economy, business or first class.

    Departing from London to New York would, on the other hand, be subject to UK APD tax at £78 per passenger in economy class or a whopping £172 in business/first class.

    Therefore a passenger flying in business class from Dublin to New York via London would automatically save the airline the cost of £170 in taxes. That's before you even look at other charges!

    EDIT: Just checked again and it appears Ireland abolished all air tax in 2014, so it appears Ireland levies nothing so it's just the airport fees.
     
    Last edited: 4 Jun 2019
  5. judethegreat

    judethegreat Member

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    Really good question Yorkie, thanks.

    I'm generally into (as) simple (as is reasonable*) per mile pricing for all modes, but particularly rail and bus, partly to give a semblance of equality with car travel. (*An exception would be where a ticket is valid via different routes.)

    Not quite what you're asking, but it used to be said aviation fuel was either not taxed, or just not taxed as much as fuel for other modes, hence a big reason why air travel is usually cheaper than rail. Was/is this still the case?
     
  6. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    Neither rail nor aviation fuel is taxed in my understanding?
     
  7. Bald Rick

    Bald Rick Established Member

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    Not taxed, in the U.K. or anywhere in the EU except the Netherlands for Domestic Aviation (of which there is little).

    I believe there is a tax in the US and the Middle East, but it is relatively low.

    However the U.K. Air Passenger Duty is amongst the highest in the world, which is a tax on flying albeit via a different route.
     
  8. sheff1

    sheff1 Established Member

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    With regards to "fairness", all I can say is that 40 years ago I never needed to consider ways of reducing the cost of my GB rail journeys by use of splits/loopholes etc as the fares charged seemed fair/reasonable. Plane travel however was generally an unaffordable luxury unless I could take advantage of a "package" fare which included basic accommodation and/or a Saturday night away.

    Now things are reversed - most medium/long distance GB rail journeys require a level of research to get the price to a fair/reasonable level {and this with a Senior Railcard} whereas air travel pricing (within Europe) I generally find to be fair/reasonable.

    I have put forward my views about reform of GB rail fares before and you do not agree with them. There is no point in going over all that again. Interestingly, I find rail fares in Northern Ireland to be eminently fair/reasonable with a maximum daily fare of £16.50 (which also covers local and inter urban buses).
     
  9. yorkie

    yorkie Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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    That's because many fares have risen a lot in that time, due to Government policy. There are some reasonable fares left, such as Sheffield to Derby, which are now under threat.
    True, though my concern is that if the cheaper fares are removed, then no amount of research will yield a reasonable price :(
    For anyone who missed it, it was in 2013:
    And the post I referred to, where I demonstrated it was unviable, is here:
    https://www.railforums.co.uk/thread...-than-market-based-pricing.47027/#post-702878

    I'm equally happy to let it rest or if anyone wants to create a new thread to go through it again, to do that ;)
     
  10. baz962

    baz962 Established Member

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    No solution sorry, question though if I may. I didn't realise that you could route via somewhere and save money, as in travel to Dublin or somewhere and fly via London as opposed to flying from London. My question is, do sites such as Kayak and Skyscanner take this into account when searching for flights?
     
  11. Puffing Devil

    Puffing Devil Established Member

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    Yes - as do Google flights for through fares. You'll need to be more creative, just like rail fares, if you want to seek out the best deals. For example, flights from the UK to Madrid went through the roof last weekend. Office connections through Amsterdam would also have been very expensive. However, for the fast-acting football fan you would have been able to book a single or return to Amsterdam then another single or return to Madrid. The connection or lack of it is up to you.

    Another example - Qatar frequently offer great business class flights from Europe. Many people book their own flights to Europe and manage their own connection to the Qatar flight. That won't be on the regular search engines.
     
  12. baz962

    baz962 Established Member

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  13. BluePenguin

    BluePenguin On Moderation

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    This is a very interesting thread. Would it actually be possible to board the second leg in London if you were a no show in Dublin? I have a feeling the airlines want to stop people doing this
     
  14. judethegreat

    judethegreat Member

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    Cheers Bletchleyite and Bald Rick :)

    Re my comment on per mile pricing - read that old thread Yorkie linked to; interesting points. I'm not into it as rigidly (and ridiculously) as some were on there, more as a basic principle to start with and tweak where appropriate.

    Never flown, so quite amazed to hear of how complex air ticketing is, partly due to the different tax regimes in different countries. Saddened to hear of it leading to extra journeys being made, when we need to be moving in the opposite direction.
     
  15. Mojo

    Mojo Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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    It’s already been explained how it works in that you have to travel to the start of the route, so travel to Dublin on a separate ticket.
     
  16. FQTV

    FQTV Member

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    That’s not specifically what @BluePenguin asked, and would benefit from a more comprehensive response.

    The answer is no, I’m afraid. Failure to ‘show’ for a flight has the effect of auto-cancelling all remaining flights in the itinerary - onward outbound and inbound. This happens (in part) for exactly the reason that you allude to - it protects the airline’s revenue.

    Generally-speaking, the only exception is during times of disruption and when an airline has to manually remove a flight sector from a ticket. They likewise manually ‘protect’ the remaining sectors.
     
  17. Mojo

    Mojo Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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    What could be more comprehensive? You have to be on the first service in your journey plan. That’s it.

    Of course, you could possibly fail to show for the final journey, but you would not be awarded any Frequent flier Miles or Tier points for this leg. I’ve heard rumours that people who do this regularly may risk having their accounts suspended. There’s also the risk of, if you are travelling with suitcases, having the bags Interlined and checked through to your final destination, one way around this is to specify the final flight on a different date and request that they are only checked to London, or from a different airport (one such advantage of Dublin is that you have a choice of City, Heathrow or Gatwick when flying with BA for example).
     
    Last edited: 6 Jun 2019
  18. radamfi

    radamfi Established Member

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    That is the key reason why rail fares need to be at least *perceived* to be fair, plus the fact that rail plays a key role in getting people out of cars. Rail pricing needs to be sufficiently attractive to attract car users, or at least it should not deter car users from using rail. If a sole passenger reluctantly chooses the car instead of rail because the train is too expensive, then there is something wrong here.

    Air travel, on the other hand, for the most part does not compete with car travel and we generally want to encourage air travellers to use high speed rail instead where possible, either for environmental reasons or to free up airport capacity for long haul.
     
  19. FQTV

    FQTV Member

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    That was only implicit in your response, not explicit. If you’d like to know what could be more comprehensive:

     
  20. yorkie

    yorkie Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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    Officially no. As with Advance fares for trains, the rule is you have to start at the origin. So the trick is to book a cheap flight to Dublin (or get there through other means; I know people who book from Inverness but, rather than take a flight there, they use it as a good excuse to take the Highland Chieftain as the train & hotel cost is effectively free, as it is merely deducted from your savings) and then commence the journey from there.

    Whether there are methods of breaking the T&Cs of plane or train tickets, where the conditions are clear that you cannot start short, is beyond the scope of this forum!
    By the time you'd tweaked it as appropriate you'd end up with market based fares :lol:
    It's actually really simple at the point of use: booked plane(s) only. This is what the likes of Virgin Trains want to do; see: https://www.railforums.co.uk/thread...in-trains-plan-for-airline-style-fare.181623/

    The concept of having variable fares, so that no-one knows until the time of booking what the fare will be, but knowing that the fare will be based on supply and demand and market forces, and that the resulting fare is only valid on the booked departure, is seen by many as "simple" and is therefore proposed by companies like Virgin as the way to make rail fares "simpler", just like plane fares.

    I personally will oppose any such plans to abolish the regulated ex-Saver fares, but some people want them abolished because the flexibility they offer is considered to be too "complicated".

    Actually, as with getting away with starting short on Advance train tickets, I have heard of people getting away with it, but breaking T&Cs of train or plane tickets, where the T&Cs are made clear, isn't something we can advise on.
     
  21. jumble

    jumble Member

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    Excellent advice
    Could I just add that it is kinder not to do this if you have bought a ticket from a Travel Agent as my understanding is that BA have in the past repriced and invoiced the TA
    The other risk is that you are stuck on IROPPS and the airline reroute you somewhere else.
     
  22. flymo

    flymo Established Member

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    I cannot possibly comment on how many times 'friends' have bought a ticket on Cathay Pacific from Manila or Bangkok (both about 2 hours flying from HK) to London via Hong Kong for this exact reason. Tickets each way, for example, to Manila from HK can be had for about £30 if you are lucky yet this cost still makes this option up to 30% cheaper in some cases. Your experience may vary of course....

    Same for BKK where there is so much competition for fares, CX (and others) give great discounts.

    No guarantees this is always the case of course.

    Personally I've 'split' tickets at Heathrow on a Hong Kong - Heathrow - Newcastle journey as the LHR-NCL leg was over £200 booking the through fare but just £40 booking separately. As I was Qantas HKG-LHR (it was a few years ago) and BA LHR-NCL the check-in guy in HK 'stitched' the two legs together and my bag was checked through to NCL. Awesome service. !!
     
  23. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    The risk of "splitting" with flights is that unlike trains they are not obliged to consider it one journey (though in this case BA clearly chose to do so) - miss your connection and you're stuck.
     
  24. AlterEgo

    AlterEgo Veteran Member

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    SkyScanner will look for direct flights and indirect flights between your origin and destination. What it won't do is go "Oh, if you left in the morning and spent the day in Copenhagen, then started on a separate ticket in the evening and did Copenhagen-London-Johannesburg, this would be cheaper than just London to Johannesburg". It's not as clever as that.
     
  25. AlterEgo

    AlterEgo Veteran Member

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    It depends on the airline and alliance. Most legacy airlines and alliances with interline agreements will, in practice, sort you out if you miss an otherwise legal connection on separate tickets. On low cost airlines you're stuffed though.
     
  26. AlterEgo

    AlterEgo Veteran Member

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    Your suggestion here is basically that direct, more convenient, more valuable flights need to be cheaper than much less convenient alternatives - it won't happen.
     
  27. paddington

    paddington Member

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    Actually it was QF, not BA who chose to interline the bags. BA will, since 2016 no longer interline bags even on BA to BA separate tickets. The fact that bags were interlined does not make it one journey - miss the connection and the bags will just be returned at the connection point.

    The only exception in the world is American Airlines which will rebook you for free if you are delayed on an arriving Oneworld flight and miss an AA flight that met the minimum connection time, even on separate tickets. If an AA flight is delayed leading to missing another oneworld flight, it depends on whether there are AA ticketing staff at the transit point and whether they are able to rebook non-AA tickets. (On flights between the US and Europe this is usually possible, not so much elsewhere.)
     

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