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I swear I cannot understand the airlines.

Today I did a search for one traveler from ATL to BOM (Mumbai) using Kayak.

The date range was from May 18th, 2017 to May 24th, 2017.

The cheapest cost was $798 USD. This flight goes from ATL to LHR and then to BOM. The return flight is the same only in reverse. Virgin Atlantic / Jet Airways.

Next, I did a search for the exact same dates but instead chose ATL to LHR thinking it should be even cheaper because of the long flight to BOM wouldn't be needed. To my surprise, it was way more expensive!

Again, same dates but this time the total was $1060 and it connected through IST. Turkey! In fact, the cheapest non-stop (Finnair) was $1639.

My assumption is that the airlines have contracts for the origins/destinations.

Anyone know why this is?

marked as duplicate by blackbird, Karlson, Zach Lipton, choster, phoog Aug 15 '16 at 20:19

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.

  • 2
    Also see How do airlines determine ticket prices? Fares are based on demand, not distance, and there are many factors. For example, there is plenty of one-stop competition ATL-BOM, but less non-stop competition for LHR-BOM. Also, passengers who favor nonstops may be more price-insensitive on that route. – choster Aug 15 '16 at 20:00
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    One way of looking at it is that people are willing to pay a premium for direct flights, so the market for travel between ATL and LHR is somewhat independent from the market for travel between ATL and BOM. Carriers competing for market share between two cities will offer lower fares to induce travelers to accept a connecting itinerary, or to accept a less convenient connection. – phoog Aug 15 '16 at 20:00
  • @phoog that's a great comment. If you want to answer it that way, i will accept. Thanks. – cbmeeks Aug 15 '16 at 20:17
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    @pnuts But only if it's one way. – Michael Hampton Aug 15 '16 at 20:32
  • The 'marked as duplicate' isn't a duplicate. – DJClayworth Aug 15 '16 at 20:39