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Everyone knows these fares are crazy - except the airlines

9/25/2006

Bizarre airfare rules are the bane of business travellers. How long will it take for the major carriers to take note of the fact that the discounts airlines like EasyJet, Ryan Air (European equivalents of SouthWest and JetBlue for the American audience) and the likes are actually serving most of us better? Just take a look at these fares for an upcoming trip.

In November I need to go to Barcelona for a few days. I could stay over a Saturday, but it turns out that would not help anyways. So using Kayak I turned up these fares. I like Kayak because unlike many of the other fare search engines, it actually knows that planes fly to places other than to and from America. So from Larnaca, Cyprus to Barcelona, Spain and back here is what turned up. Barcelona is not a major city of business so many cities do not have direct flights. But on Lufthansa and Alitalia some reasonable fares turned up with one stop.

Airline

 Fare

Lufthansa

$555 

Alitalia 

$561

Multiple Airlines 

$670

Austrian Airlines 

$762

American Airlines 

$2,763

Spanair S.A. 

$2,935

One would think that SpainAir being the flag carrier of Spain would have the most direct route and at least a competitive price? Well just look, its the most expensive option available! And worse yet, it is two stops. The four other options all beat it in price, and number of stops. Weirder yet, see the fare on American Airlines? American is not even a European carrier. That itinerary is cheaper, yet it goes Cyprus, London, New York, Madrid, and then Barcelona. Sure it takes 55 hours for a flight that on other carriers takes about 7, but it is still cheaper than SpainAir..... And of course the return is just as long and convoluted. Is it any wonder SpainAir has trouble turning a profit?

 

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