14 Responses

  1. oliver2002
    oliver2002 at |

    Time to get real GDS access to find out, Seth. Its an eye opener!

  2. Sykes
    Sykes at |

    I don’t have a good answer for why this happens, but I have also observed that ITA and other fare search engines are pretty bad at finding the lowest fares in each market, especially for international itineraries. If you don’t have GDS access (Sabre is a lifesaver for me now), I’ve found that the best strategy is to look up the cheapest fare in the market, then do a search for that specific booking class … lots of great options tend to turn up out of nowhere.

  3. frequent churner
    frequent churner at |

    Let me tell you what’s going on here. The T bucket is actually the cheapest one. I looked up on ExpertFlyer and TKWNC16S/TKXNC16S are cheaper than the KLLNC5N. Turns out the T bucket has a $500 fuel surcharge, while K has $250, so there’s your price discrepancy. So Matrix is technically finding the lowest base fare, but why the heck is the YQ so different? And is there a practical way to force a K reservation, like calling UA directly?

  4. frequent churner
    frequent churner at |

    I checked a few other fare buckets on Matrix and they all have the 500-550 surcharge, so maybe K was a data mistake that they swept under the rug for now. It gives me new ideas for how to track down lower fares though. If the lowest fare bucket on Matrix doesn’t match what ExpertFlyer shows, there might be something going on.

  5. oleg
    oleg at |

    Just a side effect of the algorithm used to give you those results in a short amount of time. Every single website will have something like this (albeit hopefully minor) – you probably won’t figure out why without understanding more about ITA’s architecture and code.

  6. plusflyer
    plusflyer at |

    You can book (I at least tried dummy booking without purchase) this K fare on United by using Advanced Search and putting “K” into “Enter specific classes of service”. It prices $837.90.

  7. Cedarglen
    Cedarglen at |

    Great detective work! I too don’t know the ultimate answer(s). I suspect… While UA SEEMS to want our business, it is in their interest to direct the self-booker to a higher cost fare bucket. IMO, restricting the bucket and availability information is akin to shooting themselves in the foot, especially for the Q&D trip that you described. In this circumstance, the $206 price difference could easily become a deal-breaker for this PAX. Does UA want to fill the seat at $838 or complete the scheduled flight with $838 less gross revenue? If UA and the others really want us to do our own bookings via their websites, I believe that they are obligated to make ALL available buckets available and without such a fight for the data. In a similar situation, and with traditional travel agent’s but a part of history, I’d rather employ a client-paid travel assistant (such as Crankly Flyer and many others) for ~~$150 or so, to find and secure that $838 all-in fare, pocket only $56 difference and know that I had a knowlegable advocate in my pocket. Again IMO, and in the example cited, UA is simply being dishonest – and I do not like that. Ten more demerits for UA. Too many more shots into their left foot and they may loose a lot of ‘legs.’ I hope someone at UA follows these blogs. If they did, they might fill a few more seats.

  8. frequent churner
    frequent churner at |

    First of all, if you really want the cheapest fare, ITA shows an AA+Turkish combo for under $670 so why even bother with United?

    This is most likely the case of a mis-coded mistake fare that they turned off until it’s fixed. Otherwise, the T fare should still show up in the results, regardless of how it’s interpreted and sorted.

  9. matt
    matt at |

    Seems like there’s always squirrelly stuff going on with YQ to Istanbul.

    Just booked a nice $504ai fare out of ORD for nov. Try to book it with the necessary positioning flights on the same pnr and the yq doubles.

  10. Gary
    Gary at |

    This is not limited to just ITA’s pricing logic. I checked the same in SABRE.

    I booked the itinerary from the start in K and the result is $837.90.

    Do a bargain finder WPNC entry on the same itinerary and it says T class is best at $1083.90.

    So the same result as ITA. SABRE is checking only the base fare and not checking the overall total cost.

    The challenge here is one needs to go to a tariff to determine what the best fare is in the market and the difficulty is most people do not access an airlines complete tariff.

    Had I simply booked this itinerary in Y class and done the WPNC in SABRE, I would have gotten $1087.90. Only by looking at the tariff would I have been informed of the K fare. Unfortunately, not many agents refer to tariffs anymore.

  11. RNE
    RNE at |

    I am the friend referred to in this blog post. Thanks to Seth’s detective work and advice, I plugged a “K” into the fare field and voila! I’m ticketed to IST. Thanks, Seth!

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