British Airways Fare Discrepancies Continue

Balowfareb On 15 March I pointed out the disappointing discrepancy between British Airways' advertised $288 (each way plus taxes/fees) fare sale and the actual $1000 it would cost if one wished to actually book and buy a fare for travel to London.

I've just repeated the exercise, this time contrasting the regular lowest fares claimed on BA's site for travel any time in May between Seattle and London ($366 each way plus taxes/fees) and the reality of the actual fares available on the same web pages that promise the lower fares.

The discrepancy is smaller, but still exists.  Shouldn't the merciless logic of computer precision ensure that whatever BA's computer claims to be available is exactly what is available, and at exactly the fare promised.

One again wonders – is this bad programming, or is it bait and switch?  Whatever the underlying reason, it seems that it is an ongoing discrepancy that demands resolution, either by BA voluntarily or perhaps with the, ahem, encouragement of the US Department of Transportation, who are now aware of the issue.

More details and screen shots here.

2 thoughts on “British Airways Fare Discrepancies Continue”

  1. David,
    Following your links on the BA fares—-why is the return (inbound) from Heathrow to Seattle over $2500 on each Saturday? Much more than on other days.
    And also, much more than on Seattle to Heathrow (outbound). I have noticed this type of fare variation on several airlines.
    Must we be careful on what day we travel?

  2. Hi, Bill
    This is probably because the cheap seats have sold out first on the most popular travel days – and also perhaps because BA (and other airlines) have fewer cheap seats to start with on the popular travel days, exacerbating the rapid disappearance of the cheap seats.
    Typically there is a moderate surcharge for popular travel days (eg $25 – $50 each way) on any given fare type; what we see here is the complete non-availability of seats at these lower fare types.
    Certainly, whenever booking travel, it always pays to look at the total picture – what if you travel earlier/later the same day, and what if you shift your travel by a day or two.
    In this case, changing travel dates by just a day or two can mean a $2000 saving in airfare. That’s certainly worth doing – it more than pays for the cost of a couple more days on vacation!

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