Why are AA routes often more expensive than UA routes?

Discussion in 'American Airlines | AAdvantage' started by dtc, May 10, 2013.  |  Print Topic

  1. dtc

    dtc Active Member

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    I'm working on planning a trip with someone else. Unfortunately, travel partner is UA, while I'm AA. Travel partner optimizes for time/convenience. I optimize to try and requal for Plat. Travel partner looks at the fact that I once flew from PVG-ORD-SJC on AA and paid a whole bunch more as being patently ridiculous.

    The problem: We're looking at various places to go abroad for a trip. Possibly Greece. Possibly elsewhere (though likely Europe). Total brainstorming stage. While partner is looking at locations, I'm secretly looking them up orbitz to compare All Airlines vs American Airlines.

    So far... AA has almost always been hundreds more expensive than other airlines. Building a case to do 2 connections is bad enough... building a case to do that + pay $700 more is impossible.

    So, two questions:

    1. Why is AA more expensive? I'm quite curious. Are those BA codeshares I keep seeing really that much more expensive than the other guys?

    2. Are there European routes that AA is generally cheaper for?
     
  2. MSYgirl

    MSYgirl Gold Member

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    A few ideas could be fuel dumps, dates of travel, or paying for all that shiny new metal. :)

    The prices (for me) have generally been the same whether BA runs a portion of the RT or not. I noticed on a recently booked flight I have a return on AA metal instead of a BA plane, and that's the first time I've noticed it. Perhaps they are starting to run more of their own metal with the planes coming in instead of handing off to oneworld partners.

    Dates play a big part. Traveling overseas every year I've seen the prices jump during summer and drop again just after their school year starts again for the kids (mid to late September). If I'm outside of that time frame, flights cost around $750 round trip to London with between 1 and 3 stops. The trip I booked yesterday cost $1,233 because it's still considered summer/out-of-school range, but I was set to fixed dates I couldn't change. Same thing around the holidays $$$$. It seems to be the same way every year while the overall cost of travel slowly creeps upward.

    Overall though, AA does usually run higher than other carriers from what I have seen and paid. The difference on my NY trip to LGA in February was so substantial I actually decided to go with another carrier. I signed up for their FF program before booking, and I'm glad I did; it was on US Airways, so hopefully with the merger that's just more EQMs in the long run.

    Hopefully one of the regulars will have more in-depth reasons to share; the above is just from my own personal experience.
     
  3. MSYgirl

    MSYgirl Gold Member

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    I forgot to mention an alternative I have used in the past. When heading to Europe but also wanting to visit another country while I am there, as long as I get to London first (or elsewhere in Europe), flights on non-AA carriers (such as easyJet) will take you to many locations for a fraction of the cost you would pay to go RT from the US.

    For example, last year I was already in London and went on a trip to Italy (it was a surprise, but the cost factor relates to this). Instead of taking an almost $3k RT to Florence from the US, I got to London on a $750 RT fare and used easyJet to get to Florence for around 39 pounds each way = major difference. While this may not apply specifically to Greece, I find that you can save a lot of money by getting into Europe first then pricing out another carrier to get to your desired destination. These prices are based on economy; if you want business or first it will be substantially more.

    Of course it also depends on your departure airport. Mine doesn't go many places direct, so I always have multiple layovers anywhere I go.
     
  4. dtc

    dtc Active Member

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    Here's a potential itin that we're looking at that's making me frown:

    SFO-IST

    • LH/TK - $800
    • AA/BA - $1500
    OUCH.

    That's a pretty big spread!
     
  5. MSYgirl

    MSYgirl Gold Member

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    That is a pretty substantial difference. Check the oneworld partners to see if you can save somewhere. Otherwise, check the airline routes and their alliance partners for the time being (USAir perhaps); the merger will eventually convert USAir miles into AA miles (although we don't know the exact date this will take effect). I used USAir for a flight to NY because they were almost half the price of AA at the time. But -- I signed up for their FF program first, and this will eventually convert those miles to AA miles because of the merger.
     
  6. HaveMilesWillTravel
    Original Member

    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    Re "Why are AA routes often more expensive than UA routes?", I could swear there are threads here and/or on FT complaining that UA is often more expensive than its competitors. :)
     
    DestinationDavid likes this.
  7. Counsellor
    Original Member

    Counsellor Gold Member

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    True.

    I'm looking at STR-DFW-SAT-RSW-MLI-STR around Labor Day, and am finding BA to be about $150 less expensive than AA, and UA to be about $50 less than BA. (UA routes me through EWR, though, while AA and BA route me through LHR.)
     
  8. Captain Oveur
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    Captain Oveur Gold Member

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    Up until a few months ago, I noticed the opposite. Now, they're pretty much equal for the routes I take.
     
  9. DestinationDavid
    Original Member

    DestinationDavid Milepoint Guide

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    And it will likely look different in another few months. These things are hardly static, so an analysis of why AA is higher on the routes the OP is looking at will likely only give minimal insight as to why that's the case. It won't address any routes where AA is cheaper than DL/UA/US, or whether AA will be cheaper on those same routes in 6 months, etc.
     

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