In the last year I’ve had occasion to look into round-trip flights from the Northeast to the following cities in the West:
I started with Southwest as I have some frequent flyer miles there and generally like their service. They don’t typically sell you a “round trip” ticket, instead pricing both legs of the journey separately. In every one of these cases, for the dates I was looking at, the flight west was relatively cheap (the cheapest tickets always less than $200 and sometimes considerably less), but the flight back was much more expensive (the cheapest ticket was never below $300, I think).
This was true regardless of the airport I chose as my origin: I started with Albany, NY, the easiest for me to get to, but also looked up Bradley (Hartford, CT) and the NYC airports. The pattern was the same in every case. This was also true regardless of whether the flights were direct or involved changing planes.
I know it’s a small sample size. And maybe if I’d run different dates I’d get different answers. But assuming that west-to-east travel is considerably more expensive than going east-to-west, what might account for it?
Just curious! Thanks.