Buying Flight Tickets

A quick note about airplane pricing.  Could be considered a rant, as I am not very happy about this.

First of all, if you’ve been following along with the blog, you know I’m big on budget travel.  I enjoy finding great deals.  I use skyscanner for fun.  Friends call me when they are booking tickets to see if I can find a better price.

Recently, I have been looking at flights back to America.  (As well as beginning to look at flights for the next adventure.) And I found the PERFECT flight.  Asiana Flight OZ 222.  Not only was it a direct flight from Seoul to New York, it was on an Airbus 380, the biggest and newest plane.  I have been wanting to fly in one for a long time.  And even better than all that?  The times were great as well.  Leave at 10:30 in the morning, arrive at 11:30.  It would have been a dream.

I say ‘would have’ because unfortunately, the flight cost $1,300, which was way above the budget my school would pay for a flight.  And that is totally understandable. But I kept pushing, and was surprised by what I found.

By opening my search up to Osaka, I found out that I could book Osaka to NYC, and it would fly to Seoul, and then connect to the magical OZ222 direct to New York. Literally the same flight.  But this option came in at just under $900.  So more than $400 cheaper that just booking from Seoul.  Keep in mind a budget trip from Seoul to Osaka is only about $75.

To make matters even more confusing, Asiana is a member of the Star Alliance.  United is also a member of Star Alliance, and through their website, you can book the same flight.  It just says (Operated by Asiana Airlines) underneath.  The cost to book it through United?  $2,619.  More than twice as much as booking through Asiana and nearly three times as much as booking through Osaka.

To say I was shocked by the widely varying prices for THE EXACT SAME FLIGHT would be an understatement. So I called the airline.  They said that it was priced that way to try and interest Japanese people to fly their airline.  I suppose I understand that. (But I still don’t like it.)  I have no reason why it is so expensive to fly United, but a similar thing happened when I was trying to book a flight from Boston to Ireland.

Morals of the story:

1. When booking flights, don’t stop looking just because you’ve found a great flight.  Sometimes being flexible with days, airlines, airports, and websites can save you hundreds of dollars.

2. Don’t fly United.  Well, I usually try not to fly any American based airline (except you Southwest, I love you!) But make sure at the very least, if you are on a flight that’s operated by another airline, check the price of booking with them directly.

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