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NYT: How To Beat High Airfares

By Chuckmonster on Friday, 6th May 2011 4:07pm
  » filed under Las Vegas  comments: 8


The New York Times' uber statistician Nate Silver offers up his advice on how to beat high airfares, book a cheaper flight which has your destination city as a layover and like a bus ticket, get off the plane whenever you want.

A nonstop one-way ticket from Des Moines to Dallas/Fort Worth is $375 on American Airlines, for example - more than the $335 Delta will charge you to fly from Miami to Anchorage.

But what happens when you're interested in flying American from Des Moines to Los Angeles, which hosts a more competitive airport? That flight is only about half the price ($186), despite its being more than double the distance. Now, here's the trick: American flights from Des Moines to L.A. have a layover in Dallas. If you want to travel to Dallas, the best way to get a reasonable fare is to book the flight to Los Angeles instead, and simply get off the plane at Dallas.


Read the rest of his fascinating take how to win the war against airline pricing.

Tagged: airline travel   gas prices   cheapskating   


Comments & Discussion:

but dont do it too much, or you get sued by airline

flyertalk.com is a great resource

and how do you get your bags?


golf clubs

getting your bags seems to be the catch but if you used this plan to get to vegas just buy all new clothes when you get there.

This "trick" has been around forever (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Airline_booking_ploys#Hidden_City_Ticketing) but it's not as easy or practical to take advantage of it as the article makes it sound.

In the example given, AA competes with several airlines on connecting flights from DSM-LAX, but they are the ONLY airline that provides non-stop service DSM-DFW, hence they price the DSM-LAX connecting route aggressively, and leverage their monopoly on non-stops to Dallas.

However the writer fails to mention the fact that -connecting- flights between DSM-DFW on other airlines can be had for about the same price as booking AA to LAX and getting off in Dallas.

He also glosses over the general fact that opportunities to get cheaper non-stops by booking longer connecting flights and getting off early ONLY exist on a handful of unique routes going one-way from regional airports into large national hubs. Even if you happen to want to travel between two such cities regularly, you can never do it both ways, which means your 50% savings works out to only 25% off a round-trip. And that's provided the airline doesn't flag the reservation as a hidden-city itinerary and cancel it completely.

one thing airlines are doing a bit of too is making your layovers differ between outbound and inbound. Brother is flying in June to Vegas out of Pittsburgh, connecting in Houston and then Vegas. On the way home it's Vegas-Cle-Pit. For him he's getting dropped off at airport at Pit for outbound and then getting picked up in Cleveland on flight home. $180 RT total for flight, vs about $400 across the board for any CLE flights over the summer.

The other (potentially) HUGE problem with this is your contract with the carrier is for the endpoint, not the layover point. Suppose there is something wrong with your plane, and they need to put you on a different flight (or even another carrier). No real recourse for getting to your original connecting airport.

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