Thursday, February 26, 2009

Nonstop v Connecting - Who's still charging a premium

Last year, we did an analysis for USA Today or AP about the differences in airfare between nonstop flights and connecting. Today, AP were after a quote about price drops and just by accident noticed that US Airways has a nonstop flight from Philly to San Diego (and no one else has). The price for that flight on US has come down from over $700 in September to $338. Of course the cheapest is lower still at $200, but you get to spend time in DFW airport to save the $138.

Last year US Airways were charging some ridiculous premium for flying nonstop between Portland, Oregon and Philadelphia - i t hink it was around $600. They've since canned the service - I wonder why....

I decided to see what the top differentials are now, (looking only at the top 50 cities in the US)

So here's the top 5 list.

1. Nonstop flights from San Antonio to Washington are exclusively United - and they are charging a premium of nearly $400 over Spirit (mind you i might pay that....)

2. Nonstop flights from Memphis to Salt Lake City - provided by the NW/DL megalosaurus will cost you over $300 to save 2 hours in travel time.

3. Nonstop flights from Detroit to Pittsburgh - a flight of just over 200 miles - will cost you a $200 premium courtesy again of Delta/Northwest

4. Travel from Honolulu to Las Vegas on American is around $410, but it connects in LAX and adds two hours to the journey.
Or you can pay an extra $200, save the 2 hours in travel time and fly on Hawaiian.

5. Direct flights from Boston to Indianapolis on US Airways will take another $200 out your pocket over the lowest $160 airfare from Airtran

Generally speaking though - there are a lot less premiums being charged for nonstops than there were even at the start of the year, and especially compared to last summer as airlines as slashing airfares even on routes where they control the lions share of the market due to nonstops.

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