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Airlines are such a rip off!

  1. May 25, 2008 #1

    cristo

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    So, I've been looking for a flight to the US* towards the end of July. A few weeks ago, most of the airlines had a sale on May/June fares, during, and after which, the cheapest fare I could find for my dates was £650. However, today I have another search and every carrier has massively reduced their prices for my dates and I can get a flight with BA (alcohol included :wink:) for £519. What's with that? This just seems like harsh scare-mongering by the airlines, trying to make people think that the sales are over, and prices are only going to go up, so to book for the £650 fare.

    Anyway, I've learned an important lesson today: it's good to put things off until the last minute :biggrin:

    *Please, Evo, let me take a holiday :shy:
     
  2. jcsd
  3. May 25, 2008 #2
    It's business. The thing is most airlines today are so hurting, their technology is very old (come on, kerosene? It's what my grandmother used in lamps back in the day). And they have an outdated way of doing business. I hope that Aircraft that are cleaner, more fuelefficient and faster will be built in my lifetime.
     
  4. May 25, 2008 #3
    What's wrong with kerosine? It's probably the most bang for the buck ever since the mobilinineteen of fourteensation.

    Concerning the OP, you have just experienced the down side of free marketing economics.
     
  5. May 25, 2008 #4

    Astronuc

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    Airline pricing is rather absurd and prices move up or down according to complicated programs that attempt to measure demand and utilitization. Waiting too late, one may incur higher prices.

    Also, airlines have lower fares on certain routes, so when I travel, I'll check all the major airports within 150 miles of where I live.
     
  6. May 25, 2008 #5
    Andre: Kerosine is just plain stupid to use for longrange travel. Partly because it spews out a lot of pollution but also because of the carbon-dioxide, sulphurous gases and many more things.

    Besides I think that the greenhouse gas emission in that transportsector is rather large. And will probably be growing a lot since transports are booming all across the globe.

    I am no crazy enviro-fundamentalist. But I adhere to my religion of realism, and every educated man and woman can see that this fossilfueled economy is on it's knees.
     
  7. May 25, 2008 #6

    Astronuc

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    And the alternative is?

    Low-sulfur kerosene is available.

    And then there are the safety issues associated with liquid fuels for transporation.


    Other than the increased cost of jet fuel (pdf - Spot Prices of Low-Sulfur Diesel, Kerosene-Type Jet, Residual Fuels, and Propane), what does jet fuel (or an alternative to kerosene) have to do with the OP?
     
    Last edited: May 25, 2008
  8. May 25, 2008 #7
    I'm trying my best to think that this is not a hijack attempt of the thread. So the cost of travel, the concern of the OP, is also including pollution reduction from burning fuel.

    And of course it is inevitable that we run out of natural kerosine sometimes in the future. And of course it's paramount to think of alternatives, there is no question about that, seeing the fuel prices soar at any remote indication of trouble.

    But there is no alternative right now to propel a jumbo jet at mach 0.86 over 10,000 miles distance without using kerosine. Alternative (bio?) fuels are prohibitive expensive and not available in those amounts required. Alternative techniques don't have the thrust to weight ratio required for that.

    Are we back to sailboats in the next century?
     
  9. May 25, 2008 #8

    cristo

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    Indeed; I think this fare is probably the best I can get for this time of year, so I'm going to book it. I'm not sure I can afford to gamble any more (being a lowly student, and all :biggrin:)
     
  10. May 25, 2008 #9

    Astronuc

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    One can try on-line discount travel sites, but then one has little choice on schedule, although this might not be a problem if one has flexible travel plans, i.e. time and date don't matter.

    For my travel for which the schedule is tight, I check 3 or 4 airlines online and at multiple airports to find the best price. I also know which airports have more competition - the big airlines do not really compete.
     
  11. May 25, 2008 #10

    cristo

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    I have semi restrictions on date and time; for example there was one cheap flight, but it left at 0730, and getting to the airport at that time in the morning would have added at least another £40 onto the price.

    I did, however, find a brilliant website (someone a specialist forum gave me the link). It searches many airlines for you, and lists the results in a very easy to read matrix form. It's basically like all the other websites, but its advantage is that it lists fare code, class, flight number, etc.. so that if you then want to go and book that precise flight from the airlines own website it makes things a lot easier!

    Anyway... that's enough of my plugging!
     
  12. May 25, 2008 #11
    I was at an FAA talk a while ago where the guy was saying its so bad airlines are literraly counting the bags of peanuts on board to save every possible oz of weight!

    Actually, im quite surprised how cheap it is to fly. Look up the cost of a gallon of jet fuel, and multiply that by the number of total gallons on board. THen see how much profit they are making. Its really not a whole lot.


    To fearless: watch this video and learn something about jet engines and kero. http://aimpoints.hq.af.mil/display.cfm?id=26041

    Dr. Lewis is a prof at my department.
     
    Last edited: May 25, 2008
  13. May 25, 2008 #12
    This isn't even factoring in the cost of one plane and the cost to employ the people necessary to keep it running.
     
  14. May 25, 2008 #13

    Gokul43201

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    Thinking aloud (for a 747-type airframe):

    1. Typical fuel efficiency = at least 3000 - 4000 g/hr
    2. Current jet fuel price = about $3.90 /g

    So, fuel cost per flight hour = at least $10,000 /hr
    3. No. of passengers = about 400-500

    Making fuel cost per passenger = at least $200 /hr

    That's insane! What do first class/business class tickets cost today?

    [1] http://www.aerospace-technology.com/projects/747/ (see "Engine")
    [2] http://www.iata.org/whatwedo/economics/fuel_monitor/index.htm
    [3] http://www.aerospace-technology.com/projects/747/

    Fuel prices have quadrupled in the last 5 years! And in the last 5 months, when crude went up about 25%, jet fuel prices have soared (groan) by 50%.

    [​IMG]

    I just heard on the local news, last week, that an advantage of the slow economy will be cheap airline tickets. Were they kidding? I don't see any scope for price elasticity in demand!
     
    Last edited: May 25, 2008
  15. May 25, 2008 #14
    Cheap airline tickets for whom? The people who can no longer afford to take that vacation they were planning and therefore don't need the tickets?
     
  16. May 25, 2008 #15

    Astronuc

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    It depends on what one means by 'cheap'. I try to pay less the $500 coast-to-coast roundtrip in the US, but I've paid between $500-$1200 before - for coach. First class domestic starts around $1500, but could be up to $2000-$3000 depending on schedule and desination.

    Airlines are not reacting to the slower economy but rather to the rapid increase in the price of fuel. Certainly airlines could make a buck if all their empolyees worked for minimum wage and no benefits (such as health insurance and pensions), but that is not going to happen.
     
  17. May 25, 2008 #16

    cristo

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    I don't mind that, though. I realise that fuel isn't cheap at the moment, and so don't mind paying for it; my main qualm was with the fact that the prices from one week to the next were about £140 different: that's nothing to do with fuel charges!
     
  18. May 25, 2008 #17

    Astronuc

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    No - that's the weird airline pricing programs, and they've been that way since they were deregulated in the 1980's or thereabouts.

    I've actually booked a flight within 2 days and got a ticket for about $200-$300, whereas if I had booked a week earlier, I would have paid $500-$800. If I have booked two or three weeks earlier I might have paid between $300-800.

    I would prefer to pay a flat rate based on airline cost + reasonable profit, e.g. something like $0.15/mile, but not much more.
     
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