As circumstances would have it I need to fly from San Diego to Miami in early June. This is a work trip but I’m doing my best to keep costs down and also avoid a redeye flight and there are not a ton of combinations which made that viable. Searching the usual suspects last night I mostly found fares in the $400+ range with long layovers. That’s not so great but it would get the job done, I suppose.
That $422 fare without the ridiculous layover arrives at a reasonable hour (I might be able to catch the end of the Sunday evening portion of the event) and the $20 premium over the longer layovers was no big deal. I was resigned to paying it and trying to scrimp elsewhere in the budget. I made it to the United website (after an aborted effort to use the new, beta site which refused to take my bookings) and started into the process where I noticed that the rate quoted was a mix of S and T fares. It was pricing as an end-on-end ticket. Even more strange is that the $331 fare shown is a W fare, a bucket “higher” than the S and T fares I was getting. Something didn’t smell right.
And so I dug a bit deeper and tried to force the W fare on the connection I wanted. It came in as a $429 Q fare so the S+T was actually less expensive. Maybe I was stuck with that price. And then I remembered how United has a history of doing badly when it comes to pricing married segments on connecting flights. And so I changed my search method. Rather than searching for San Diego to Miami I searched San Diego to Houston and Houston to Miami. And I saved just over $150 for my efforts.
The final price paid was better than any of the fares I could find online in the generic searches and it was actually at the times I wanted to fly. I even managed to snag my preferred bulkhead window seat on both flights. I’m calling that a nice win.
Moral of the story: If you have an itinerary with a connection on United Airlines it probably pays to search more than once. You never know how much you might save.
- The “joys” of married segments and airfare pricing
- United’s best fare: Only if you ask VERY nicely
- American Airlines, Delta Air Lines play dirty with fare construction, too
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“Look”? Your images are too little and there is no enlargement if clicked, think about it
What other airlines permit this, Delta for ex. does not allow you to break published routes into multi-city itineraries?
I’ve seen similar from Delta and American in the past. Haven’t tried to book one of them lately, though. http://blog.wandr.me/2014/06/american-delta-play-dirty-fare-construction/
Agree with @Hans – I tried to look too!
Sorry for the image size issues; you should be able to see full size now if you click on the pictures.
Also, do you have a link to another page where you describe how to “force” a different fare? I’m interested in that.
On the advanced search page of the United site you can specify fare buckets. I use that. It doesn’t make a fare show up if such doesn’t exist but it can help in situations like this some times.
Have you tried cleverlayover.com? It sorta looks at things creatively for you by breaking trips up into segments.
Just checked this itinerary on that site. Prices at the higher fare so not so useful for finding these, I think.
Also, the only cheaper options it found were 60+ hours for a transcon. That’s too much, even for me.
On United.com, did you search for “Multiple Destinations” and then enter Line 1: SAN -> IAH, and Line 2: IAH-> MIA?
Yes…that’s what got the much lower price.
Nice tip. Thanks for posting!
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