UA Fares -- Could they make them more customer friendly?

Discussion in 'United Airlines | MileagePlus' started by adambadam, Mar 3, 2013.  |  Print Topic

  1. adambadam
    Original Member

    adambadam Silver Member

    Messages:
    473
    Likes Received:
    384
    Status Points:
    595
    *Rant*

    Looking at an LAS-SFO flight on a Sunday following a busy Vegas weekend so fares are all expensive:

    WN Biz Select: $273
    VX MCS: 263
    UA Tix (lowest current fare bucket H): 273

    Less the F upgrade I would most likely snatch on UA, the other three offer pretty much all the other perks I get as a GS, especially the ones I care most about (priority boarding and security and not a really crummy coach seat). However, the UA fare is non refundable, and if I decide I need to change my trip or want to come back on a different flight, I would need to pay the change fee to UA unless I did same day standby.

    Would it be so hard/costly for UA to get my business by introducing reasonably priced refundable fares -- at least for domestic routes, so that they can compete with their competition?

    WN is going to win this time as the schedule currently works best for me.
     
  2. Flying Machine

    Flying Machine Silver Member

    Messages:
    364
    Likes Received:
    229
    Status Points:
    425
    UA always has SDC and for a GS, I would assume the GS Line would be more than helpful in assiting.. Just a thought..
     
  3. LETTERBOY
    Original Member

    LETTERBOY Gold Member

    Messages:
    1,650
    Likes Received:
    2,522
    Status Points:
    1,425
    I think UA is more interested (as are most airlines) in making their fares profit friendly, rather than customer friendly. They're not necessarily the same thing. If they do happen to be the same in some circumstances, great. If not, UA isn't a charity. If they're selling certain fares with certain conditions, it's because they think people will buy them. You might not, but other people might be willing to do so.
     
  4. sobore
    Original Member

    sobore Gold Member

    Messages:
    12,421
    Likes Received:
    33,847
    Status Points:
    16,520
    Yep, their numbers have caused me to move on to other sites many times. I guess someone is buying.
     
  5. Wandering Aramean
    Original Member

    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

    Messages:
    28,217
    Likes Received:
    61,749
    Status Points:
    20,020
    Isn't the question here, "Can't they sell the specific fare I want cheaper?"
     
    LETTERBOY likes this.
  6. Misplaced Texan
    Original Member

    Misplaced Texan Gold Member

    Messages:
    16,871
    Likes Received:
    26,165
    Status Points:
    20,020
    This is actually an interesting question. I don't have special knowledge, but here's what I suspect:

    UA needs to keep their Y fare price point fairly high because (some/many/most of) their corporate client programs are probably based on a X% discount off of the regular Y fare in the market. If they drop Y fares to compete win something like the WN Biz select, they effectively turn their cash cow (full-fare flyers on negotiated corporate fares) into a loss.

    UA knows that they are losing some amount of money not selling a fare that has features similar to the WN Business Select fare (changeable/refundable) to small-to-medium sized business travelers who will buy at that price point but won't buy a Y fare.

    If UA could figure out a way to create a small-business friendly fare type with elements similar to the Biz Select fare and sell it at a premium without hurting their full-Y sales and corporate pricing (perhaps by using a fare bucket with significant capacity controls so Y would still have the benefit of last-seat availability), they would.

    But they haven't so I have to assume that they've concluded that anything to benefit us small folks would canabalize too much big business revenue.
     
    LETTERBOY likes this.
  7. Misplaced Texan
    Original Member

    Misplaced Texan Gold Member

    Messages:
    16,871
    Likes Received:
    26,165
    Status Points:
    20,020
    I think the real question is, "if other carriers can sell the specific fare I want (and WN is profitable doing it) then is there a good reason UA can't?"

    That's what I speculated about above, but I'm probably wrong about the why.
     
  8. lhrsfo
    Original Member

    lhrsfo Silver Member

    Messages:
    183
    Likes Received:
    139
    Status Points:
    375
    It seems to me that the fare is pitched pretty well for the OP. As I understand the post, the complaint is that he is sorely tempted to fly with WN or VX because they offer a good product with a particularly attractive aspect at a good price. UA sells a similar product without that attractive aspect at the same price. But the benefits he earns from MP and being GS are slightly (but only slightly) more valuable to him than WN or VX's superior product / price ration. So, in this case, UA has pitched its price pretty well perfectly.
     
  9. LETTERBOY
    Original Member

    LETTERBOY Gold Member

    Messages:
    1,650
    Likes Received:
    2,522
    Status Points:
    1,425
    I actually think you're probably right about the "why."
     
  10. adambadam
    Original Member

    adambadam Silver Member

    Messages:
    473
    Likes Received:
    384
    Status Points:
    595
    Yes, this is what I was going for. Why does a UA ticket for the same route not have similar features as its competition? Not only are they dissimilar they are dramatically different in many regards (i.e. a $150 penalty for changing a $250 fare on UA vs $0 on WN).
     
  11. Misplaced Texan
    Original Member

    Misplaced Texan Gold Member

    Messages:
    16,871
    Likes Received:
    26,165
    Status Points:
    20,020
    Just a random point. Since my last post I was looking for a SMF-SNA flight and looked at both WN and UA.

    Turns out that UA had a fully refundable Q fare that matched the WN anytime fare exactly. Now, no bonus miles or auto-upgrades on that fare, but it was fully refundable, no change/cancel fees, and no advanced purchase.

    Now, I'm not sure that's going to be true in a market like SFO where UA is much stronger...but it does seem that a little digging in some markets will reveal that UA actually does match WN.
     
    adambadam likes this.
  12. maromero02

    maromero02 Active Member

    Messages:
    28
    Likes Received:
    23
    Status Points:
    95
    How about not having so many restrictions when it comes to using the global upgrades....
     
  13. Captain Oveur
    Original Member

    Captain Oveur Gold Member

    Messages:
    7,243
    Likes Received:
    14,058
    Status Points:
    12,520
    It's those things, plus the frequent flier program, that set each airline apart. Most people don't care, they go for the lowest fare they can get for a route. On the other hand, expert flyers like yourself tend to see things a different way (and that's perfectly fine). If UA doesn't meet your needs or expectations, I don't see anything wrong in going with another airline.

    Personally, I think GS folks should get more benefits such as what Alaska does with even their mid-tier MVP Gold, in free changes within reason. But United has demonstrated a diminished willingness to reward loyalty.
     

Share This Page