I have a business trip coming up which requires a roundtrip ticket HND-SFO. As I do for all trips, business and pleasure, I start shopping around aggregator sites, like expedia, and then directly purchase with the airline.
Usually the difference in price is negligible, and what I see in expedia mirrors exactly what I see on the airline website, in terms of price and availability.
This time was no different, and I found a business class seat in Japan Airlines (JL) in fare class D, which has no choice in seating, and has a non refundable part of the cost.
On the other side, I contacted the business travel agency my company works with. Usually they have exactly the same fares as expedia, but this time they found another business class seat in the same flights, for the same days, in the same airline, in fare class X, which is 30% cheaper than the one before, totally refundable and probably with a choice of seat.
I understand fare classes vary by airline, so this is likely JL-specific, but in general, I want to know what happened here. How is it that the travel agency has a much cheaper fully refundable ticket, yet expedia nor the airline has it directly. I assume the difference is in the fare classes, but if somebody would be able to explain to me what is the reason for such a huge difference here, I would appreciate it.