Airline Tickets- Price Difference

My wife and I have booked from Amsterdam to Edinburgh later in the year. I booked online with a well known carrier (not a cheapie one).

Same flight, same class and booked at the same time.

I received the credit card account today and there is a difference of about $25 between the two tickets- how can this be so?

The amount sounds like the price difference for upgraded/premium seating. Is one seat aisle and the other not?

It’s possible that you got two different fares due to the airline’s pricing system. Airlines carefully manage their inventory to maximize the money they receive for each flight; and the way they do this is by selling seats at many different “booking classes” within each cabin. So, for example, within Economy class there might be “S” class, “W” class, and “Q” class tickets, each at their own price.

On each flight, the airline will sell a certain number of tickets in each class. For example, they might decide to sell 50 “S” class tickets at a lower price, 30 “W” class tickets at an intermediate price, and 20 “Q” class tickets at a high price. Once all the lowest-price tickets are gone, the price of the flight effectively goes up. The airline’s goal is to maximize their profits: sell as many tickets as they can at as high a price as possible, without setting the price so high that some of the seats go unsold. There are, no doubt, complicated algorithms that draw on past customer data, economic forecasts, special events happening in each city, and the phases of the Venus in order to assign the “right” number of seats to each class.

These booking classes are largely invisible to the casual customer, but the information should be on the itinerary somewhere. My guess is that the two tickets were sold under different fare classes; one of the tickets was the last in its class, and the next one to be sold was in a higher fare class.

Or it could be a baggage or seat assignment fee on one of the tickets.

What I don’t understand is why you didn’t see this until you got a credit card bill. The site should have shown you the price you were paying for each ticket at the time you placed the order. Do you have a record of the online transaction? If you didn’t capture the transaction page, then they usually send an email confirmation.

$25 is a nice round number, so it seems more likely this is due to a add-on charge rather than a fare difference. Did you pay to check a bag?

BTW there is nothing wrong with naming the carrier here, and it might help us figure this out.

I’ve only bought one airline ticket(*) in the last decade, but pricing used to be quite weird. IIRC you could save money on a roundtrip ticket just by spending Saturday at your destination! What did they care? They were devising methods to get those who could pay more to pay more. Very logical and, arguably, a good free-market result: businessmen helped subsidize plane tickets for the hoi polloi.

Circa 1980 a co-worker and I were both in London. He was bound for Brussels, I for San Francisco. We said nothing special when we bought our one-way tickets (our employer was paying for them). My LHR-SFO was cheaper than his LHR-BRU!

Besides airplane tickets (and perhaps striptease joints!), are there other markets with clever pricing to uphold “From each according to his ability”?

The one ticket I did buy in the last decade was intended to be a Delta Airlines Chiang Mai → XX1 → XX2 → Chiang Mai ticket for my daughter to visit her two aunts. (I’m concealing the destinations — don’t you guys already have enough clues to my secret identity? :slight_smile: ) I was alert enough to ask the Delta agent: “She’ll probably take an auto trip from XX1 to XX2 and throw away that part of the ticket. Is that OK?” NO! That would not be OK. I ended up buying separate Chiang Mai–>XX1 and XX2–>Chiang Mai tickets. More expensive than Chiang Mai–>XX1–>XX2–>Chiang Mai, but MUCH cheaper than that option if you use the XX2–>Chiang Mai without using the XX1–>XX2 !

Sounds like a seat assignment fee where one selected a seat that cost more then the next right next to it.

One possibility is that they sold out of seats in one price class, but $25 is a pretty small difference.

It’s not the CC processing fee is it?

Speaking of airline fares, I recently booked a cheapie flight from Mel-KL for early next year. At $151AUD return, how could I refuse?

But looking at the price breakdown, it seems like a whopping great $12.50 is the cost of each leg of the flight itself, with the rest being made up of taxes and airport fees.

How the HELL can they do that?

Try to answer all the questions raised but please forgive me if I miss something.

The two seats were bought at the same time- that is I bought the two tickets on one transaction. However they were billed separately on the credit card- as was the fee for each persons luggage (the luggage fees were identical).

We didn’t select the seats. I would hope they are side by side but won’t know until they are allocated.

As far as I remember the fares were the same when I purchased them however they are only shown as one sum on the invoice, not individually.

After going through all the various charges and taxes again, the closest I can come to is that the CR fee and currency conversion has been allocated to one fare (this comes to within 5 cents).