Variability of W fares?

Discussion in 'United Airlines | MileagePlus' started by genemk2, Nov 17, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. genemk2

    genemk2 Gold Member

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    I usually buy the lowest fare class available, and I know that those fares change a lot over the course of a few months.

    But I am in the position where I need to buy a couple itineraries in a W-class fare (one for the ORD DEQM promotion, and another to use some SWUs).

    Do the W-fares vary as much as the lower classes? Or are they pretty static? Same would apply for Y/B fares, or any other "higher" fare class.

    I ask because I could buy the tickets now, and save me from worrying about it. But if the fare may drop significantly over the next few months, I would wait and see.

    Thanks!
     
  2. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    Generally they are rather static, but they can change. I don't have history for domestic routes but the history for many international routes can be seen here (pick a city then click the history link next to the route in question). They vary, but usually only at major seasons and it is unlikely that they'll change much for the DEQM bit. For the SWU route, maybe.
     
  3. RestlessLocationSyndrome
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    RestlessLocationSyndrome Silver Member

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    I'm not a fare structure expert but it appears that the fares are established as buckets for specific routes and when the fare reaches that bucket, the ticket becomes categorized as as a fare in that bucket.

    From what I've seen on domestic routes, the W or above fares tend to follow this behavior and are rather static. I've noticed that when the window gets closer and fares go up, the class of travel moves into the W bucket or even above.
     
  4. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    Actually fares and inventory function somewhat separately from each other.

    The airline will typically publish a number of different fares on a route. The fares have different price points and also different rules associated with them, ranging from min/max stay to day of week or seasonal restrictions to refundability and change fees. Here's the list UA currently has published for ORD-SFO round-trip fares:

    Export from Wandering Aramean Travel Tools
    Code:
    Flexible Fare Search -- ORD-SFO roundtrp for date range Nov-May on carrier UA -- United Airlines
    Carrier|From |To   |FareBasis |Fare      |Min   |Max       |Adv. Purch|Earliest  |Latest    |
    UA     |ORD  |SFO  |TA3GS     |USD$ 207  |      |          |3days     |20nov11   |20nov11   |
    UA     |ORD  |SFO  |SAP1GS    |USD$ 224  |      |          |3days     |          |14mar12   |
    UA     |ORD  |SFO  |SAU10KS   |USD$ 264  |      |          |10days    |29nov11   |08mar12   |
    UA     |ORD  |SFO  |WAU10CS   |USD$ 301  |      |          |10days    |          |14dec11   |
    UA     |ORD  |SFO  |WA10KS    |USD$ 324  |      |          |10days    |29nov11   |08mar12   |
    UA     |ORD  |SFO  |WA14KN    |USD$ 369  |      |          |14days    |          |          |
    UA     |ORD  |SFO  |VA14KN    |USD$ 426  |      |          |14days    |          |          |
    UA     |ORD  |SFO  |QA14KN    |USD$ 492  |      |          |14days    |          |          |
    UA     |ORD  |SFO  |QA7KN     |USD$ 570  |      |          |7days     |          |          |
    UA     |ORD  |SFO  |HA0CS     |USD$ 590  |      |          |seerules  |24nov11   |25nov11   |
    UA     |ORD  |SFO  |HA7KN     |USD$ 652  |      |          |7days     |          |          |
    UA     |ORD  |SFO  |UA7KN     |USD$ 746  |      |          |7days     |          |          |
    UA     |ORD  |SFO  |UA0KN     |USD$ 761  |      |          |seerules  |          |          |
    UA     |ORD  |SFO  |UA0KY     |USD$ 814  |      |          |seerules  |          |          |
    UA     |ORD  |SFO  |MA0KY     |USD$ 994  |      |          |seerules  |          |          |
    UA     |ORD  |SFO  |BA0KY     |USD$ 1429 |      |          |seerules  |          |          |
    UA     |ORD  |SFO  |YUA       |USD$ 2003 |      |          |seerules  |          |          |
    UA     |ORD  |SFO  |HUAUP1    |USD$ 2424 |      |          |seerules  |          |          |
    UA     |ORD  |SFO  |HUAUP4D   |USD$ 2737 |      |          |seerules  |          |          |
    UA     |ORD  |SFO  |BUAUP4C   |USD$ 2895 |      |          |seerules  |          |          |
    UA     |ORD  |SFO  |JUA       |USD$ 3334 |      |          |seerules  |          |          |
    UA     |ORD  |SFO  |FUA2F     |USD$ 3354 |      |          |seerules  |          |          |
    UA     |ORD  |SFO  |Y         |USD$ 3414 |      |          |seerules  |          |          |
    UA     |ORD  |SFO  |J         |USD$ 4952 |      |          |seerules  |          |          |
    UA     |ORD  |SFO  |FUA       |USD$ 5538 |      |          |seerules  |          |          |
    UA     |ORD  |SFO  |F         |USD$ 5870 |      |          |seerules  |          |          |
    
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    So even if there were G inventory available on the flight in question you wouldn't be able to purchase a G fare for SFO-ORD as there is no G fare published on that route. If there is a G fare published on SYR-SFO and you can get G on SYR-ORD and ORD-SFO then you could still book that G inventory so that's why they make the inventory available even if the fare isn't on a particular route.

    As the travel date gets closer or as the flight sells more seats the lower inventory buckets generally have the number of available seats reduced, forcing the amount a customer would pay higher as they must purchase a higher fare. It isn't the fare rising that forces things into the higher buckets; it is the other way around.
     
  5. genemk2

    genemk2 Gold Member

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    Thanks, that makes sense. So, let me get this straight.

    The price changes arise because UA makes more seats available in certain fare buckets, depending on the time of booking.

    When the flight is first put into the system, UA may only make Y/B fares available (you don't usually book 11 months in advance unless you absolutely have to be on that flight), and then later make lower fare buckets available. As those lower fare buckets get purchased, only higher fare buckets are left.

    Sometimes UA can load a special fare by loading a new, lower fare bucket into the system at a specified time, for a specified period (e.g. promotion fares).

    But if I know that I want to use a W fare, then the price within that fare class likely will not change that much.

    Right?
     
  6. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    Pretty much, yeah. They can always change the fares at the various buckets but it is more common - especially with sales - to see a new G fare published or something like that while not really changing the higher fares too much.
     
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  7. genemk2

    genemk2 Gold Member

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    Thanks! That was very helpful.
     
  8. meFIRST

    meFIRST Silver Member

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    WA/SBM12, your tool is misleading because it does not included taxes or fees. But its a good starting point .
     
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  9. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    Indeed, it doesn't. Because that's the way the fares are listed in the GDS that I pull the data from. It is still accurate for the underlying base fare data and most certainly shows the relative costs pretty clearly. That said, if it doesn't work for you no hard feelings.
     
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