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This question already has an answer here:

(Couldn't find an appropriate topic that answers my question. I understand why round-trip tickets are cheaper and why non-direct flights may be cheaper as well, but this is just ridiculous)

I was planning a trip to Germany with Lufthansa the next week and was searching for tickets between LED and TXL. I found out that it will cost 21k RUB and there is a transfer in FRA. As you can see, a trip consists of LH1439+LH176 and LH193+LH1438.

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Okay, so I guess I could just have a nice trip to FRA and save myself money and time? Like just use LH1439 and LH1438. Nope, it actually costs 70% more.

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How is that even possible?

marked as duplicate by Nate Eldredge, Ali Awan, Newton, Willeke, CGCampbell Feb 21 '18 at 20:40

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

  • @DavidRicherby The thing is, Light turned out to be actually 70% more expensive than Classic, hence my question. But overall, it's funny I've chosen the cheapest ones for both flights, and couldn't get Light for a connecting flight but could for a direct one. – efpies Feb 20 '18 at 11:58
  • @efpies Oops... :-) – David Richerby Feb 20 '18 at 12:25
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There is no logic to airfare prices other than whatever the airline's revenue management department believes will maximize profit. There is, of course, some logic to their calculations, but that fares may seem "ridiculous" to the purchaser are not part of the equation.

We can speculate on some reasons, which may or may not be true, that they might have priced this way:

  • You're comparing direct flights to FRA with connecting flights to TXL. The inconvenience of the longer journey time and having to make a connection devalues the service and travelers may be less willing to pay high prices for it.
  • FRA is a major commercial hub, and there's a logical assumption that someone booking such a flight for a short stay at the last minute is a business traveler with an important need to travel, which signifies a higher willingness to pay.
  • Saint Petersburg-Berlin is served directly by Aeroflot daily and S7 four days a week, both at fairly low cost. If Lufthansa cares about this city pair at all, it will have to price lower to compete with these direct flights.
  • Saint Petersburg-Frankfurt has less competition. For direct flights, it's three Lufthansa flights daily and one Ural Airlines flight five days a week. Lufthansa has less competition and more ability to set the price for this route.
  • Saint Petersburg-Berlin and Saint Petersburg-Frankfurt have entirely different supply and demand curves, and as long as there is capacity on the relevant flights, the airline will adjust fares to maximize their profits for each route.

But none of that really matters. These fares are possible because that is what the airline has decided to charge.

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This is how airlines do business. They charge more for the shorter fare because they believe the route is more popular and people will pay more for this. Not only that, they know that people are aware of the practice and so they disallow people not to complete the journey.

On the other hand, some people find it is worth the risk and buy such tickets intending to only fly part of the journey (without checked luggage) which is called hidden city ticketing. Basically you add a city you do not intend to go to in order to reduce the price. This works for one-way tickets since once you miss a segment, the remainder of your flights reservation gets cancelled.

The situation you describe is very common as I often make the check in order to see if a stopover is worth it. Many times I can drive to a small airport an hour or two away and get a flight through the one that is close for lower price than it would be to go directly from the closer airport!

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