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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