I have recently booked an almost last minute flight within Europe.

I got prices, for the absolute same flight, that range from under 30€ to more than 200€. Variations of ~30€ are kind of normal but this is extreme.

Looking at the company website I got prices over 200€. When I looked in skyscanner I found a whole myriad of prices. Being cheap ones through online travel agencies where you book and wait for confirmation.

How is this possible? What mechanisms are in place for them to access these cheap tickets? Is the delivery delay related?

  • @nsn Your question title asks one thing, but the more interesting question (to me, at least), is the one at the end of your question (‘what mechanisms are in place for online travel agents to access cheap tickets). You might get better answers focusing on that (eg swap them around). I don’t think the suggested duplicate (excellent though it is) actually answers that question. – Traveller Sep 14 '19 at 10:29
  • @Traveller I think you're right. I just changed the question. – nsn Sep 14 '19 at 10:34
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    Just because the offers are for the same flight doesn't mean they are the same product. Different sellers may prefer to send different fare classes depending on their target demographic, for example. Not everyone always wants the absolute cheapest. Anyway, without a concrete example you'll probably only get speculation. – fkraiem Sep 14 '19 at 10:53
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    On some flights, some operators will actually buy tickets in advance at a fixed price from the airline. If they don’t sell those, they usually dump them at the last minute at very low prices (sometimes even below their purchase price) because getting even half of the cost is better than nothing. – jcaron Sep 14 '19 at 11:48
  • This doesn't answer my question but is an assumption. I have traveled and the flight was far from full. I assume that given this scenario the company uses the following strategy: it keeps the last-minute prices at their website at an expensive price. For consumers that use fare search engines and are price sensitive they lower rates in an attempt to fill up as much as possible and cover the operation cost. – nsn Sep 18 '19 at 15:50

The purpose of airlines is to make money for their owners/stockholders. Part of that is asking the highest price the market will bear (a slight simplification, of course). Markets differ from country to country.

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  • I understand your explanation if you go to a traditional travel agency. But with the global internet market, it's as easy for me to go to the website of the airline company or to a fare comparison website and buy there. – nsn Sep 14 '19 at 8:22
  • @nsn, airlines still try. Geoblocking, tagging the ticket to the passport, etc. – o.m. Sep 14 '19 at 8:29
  • I guess there are different types of passengers and different profiles. Even online. But what stroke me was the huge price difference. It's not even half the price. It's well under that, and for a last-minute ticket. – nsn Sep 14 '19 at 8:31

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