I live in Germany and I want to visit some of my best friends in Peru and Chile, but the air fares are around 1,200€ - 1,300€. Comparing the flight duration of BER-LIM to the ones of visiting Vietnam or South Africa shows an overpriced mile/cost ratio. Could someone please explain me why this happens?


1 Answer 1


but the air fares are around 1,200€ - 1,300€.

In November you can get Berlin to Santiago roundtrip for about 900€ on, e.g. Air Canada. See below

visiting Vietnam

Using the same search, the cheapest in November from Berlin to Saigon was 750€, which is actually a bit more expensive in terms of cost per mile (16c/mile vs 15c/mile round trip). Keep in mind that Vietnam is a lot closer to Berlin than Santiago. It's only about 75% of the distance.

overpriced mile/cost ratio

Apparently not true according to my research.

Could someone please explain me why this happens?

  1. As far as I can tell, it does not actually happen (at least in November) so maybe there is a problem with your search strategy.
  2. SCL is not served well from Europe. There are only 4 airports (LHR, CDG, MAD & BCN) and some don't do daily flights.
  3. Most of the traffic to South America routes through North America
  4. Fewer airlines and low demand means less competition which means higher prices
  5. Forget everything I just wrote: airlines prices are non-sensical and highly unpredictable. Logic rarely applies and it's all determined using "dynamic pricing" algorithms that are trying to asses the current state of "supply and demand" for each individual flight.

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  • Dynamic pricing is arguably perfectly logical in the sense that it’s trying to optimize the airlines profitability rate. And it’s not logical for a business to worry about anything else :-)
    – JonathanReez
    Sep 27 at 13:23
  • It seems I was wrong, but I'm sure that I found those prices 6 months ago. I had this figures in my head and just asked without checking them again in beforehand. Thanks for your kind answer! Sep 27 at 13:31
  • @JonathanReez: I occasionally see business selling for less than economy (not that I'm complaining!) but the logic behind that as out of each for my feeble mind :-)
    – Hilmar
    Sep 27 at 15:38
  • If you can improve it for the airlines, you can easily make hundreds of thousands of dollars per year as their chief data scientist :-)
    – JonathanReez
    Sep 27 at 15:49
  • @Hilmar: Business cheaper than economy is surprising but not impossible. For most airlines and most flights, economy class just about breaks even (when amortizing the overall cost of the flight per passenger), and business class is the "real" profit center. If you have an almost-full economy cabin and hardly any business class, you can either bump people from economy to business, or charge extra for economy, and I think airlines prefer the latter because they want people to explicitly purchase business class rather than seeing it as a "freebie."
    – Kevin
    Sep 27 at 18:29

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