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Rick: Hey everybody thank you for joining us on the FareCompare weekly podcast. My name is Rick Seaney, I?m the co-founder and CEO of FareCompare and we?re going to chat a little bit today in this podcast about trying to save up to 50% off your airline tickets. You may think that may be a coupon or maybe some sort of crazy thing that we?re just throwing out there. But what we?re really talking about is airlines and their convenience factor and the premiums airlines are charging. And joining us today is our editor from the website from California, Anne McDermott. Hey Anne.
Anne: Hey Rick. It?s kind of like the fatigue factor for passengers but it can work
Rick: Yeah I always look at flying, by the way, as sort of an all-day experience. You know I live in the Dallas area so either coast?even if I?m going to Seattle or New York or somewhere it?s really never more than about 3 hours flying for me since I?m very centrally located. But 3 hours in the plane and then all the other accoutrements that go along with it! Getting to the airport?
Anne: Getting to the airport early
Rick: And connecting flights sometimes and getting to the other airport. It turns into an all-day experience. So whether you?re flying non-stop or not, for me yes I love the convenience of a non-stop and in fact I will change my schedule sometimes to accommodate that. But if I can?t get what I need, it?s connect away and a lot of times these connecting flights are much, much cheaper. I?ve seen it even more than 50% cheaper especially at the last minute.
Anne: I save all the time flying from the west coast by stopping in Chicago, by stopping in Dallas. And then going to Europe you know stop in Chicago or New York. I could do non-stop and when I win the lottery, I probably will do non-stop. But you could really save.
Rick: Yeah it?s sort of interesting and I?ll give you an example that happens all the time. So you could have a non-stop from Dallas to New York for example that?s going for anywhere from $600-$800 depending on how close your flight time is. And then on somebody like United, for example?and that would be typically on American because they have most non-stops to New York until mid October when Southwest joins them. We?re all looking forward to that in the Dallas area. But there might be a connecting flight for example in Washington D.C. There might be a connecting flight even on American through Miami. And sometimes even on American itself, the flight?s much cheaper connecting than the non-stop. Now the reason for that is airlines tend to manage their non-stops and their business travelers and trying to extract as much coin as they can from them. And then they basically fill up the rest of the aircraft with connecting passengers. And the price points for those connecting passengers are typically much lower. And so that?s why we see when you connect between two cities you might be able to take two different airfare and combine them together, the reservation systems automatically do that. And it may have inventory where another one doesn?t and there?s only three seats left on the American flight. So the price is really high but there?s lots of seats on another airline. So that?s why you see the prices drop dramatically.
Anne: And I know your mantra is always compare prices because this particular trick, it really?it won?t work for every flight. Sometimes there are occasions when a connecting flight is actually more expensive.
Rick: Yeah there?s very few occasions but it typically happens sort of at that three month mark when you?re shopping. And that?s really if you want those convenient non-stops, that?s really when you should be shopping cause they?re not as?the airlines aren?t as sure how much they?re going to fill up and they?re going to drop a few cheaper prices on those non-stops.
Anne: And if you compare prices, I mean this has got to be something you do every time because as you are quite fond of saying, no single airline always has the cheapest price. You can?t depend on that.
Rick: No absolutely and if you remember that when the Department of Justice sued American Airlines as part of the merger, they were worried about the special fares that U.S. Airways had, that they would go away. Which were basically connecting airfares on other airlines and hub cities that were much cheaper. Well it turns out now after looking at the data the last month or two, every airline?s doing that now. So not only did they not go away, I see the same sort of airfares out of Delta, it looks like Southwest is going to be filing those connecting airfares on the other person?s hub. So guess what? If you are in a hub city with non-stops, you?re about to get a bunch of cheaper connecting flights.
Anne: Oh I like that! Thanks Rick.
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