If you haven’t heard, Delta Air Lines is adding a new shuttle service between Los Angeles and San Francisco. All well and good until you consider that particular route already has 50+ flights – per day. What’s going on? The never-ending quest for the business traveler’s business.
Airline Want You, Business Travelers
Business travelers typically spend a lot more on flights than the rest of us, mostly because they buy expensive, last-minute tickets instead of purchasing their airfare two weeks ahead of time. Here’s an example on ticket costs from American Airlines (prices good as of Aug. 7):
- For flights in September: Round-trip coach LA – San Francisco, $118
- Last-minute flights: Round-trip coach LA – San Francisco, $430
For business travelers who pull out all the stops and fly first class, the price can jump to $1,300+.
Competition for LA Helps All Travelers
More flights for road warriors may help the rest of us, too as the headline on the Bloomberg report suggests: The Airlines Battle’ for Los Angeles. Recent prices suggest a fare war of sorts is underway and you need look no further than Virgin America’s recent sale featuring a one-way price from LA to San Francisco for as little as $59 one-way (as you can see from the American price above, Virgin’s rivals quickly matched this fare).
The field of competitors along the LAX – San Francisco flight corridor is getting crowded. Options for these flyers include legacy carriers and low-cost airlines:
- Virgin America
LA – Bargain Destination
And as air travel analyst Rick Seaney points out, “Competition usually means lower airfare,” and throughout 2013, Seaney has touted Los Angeles as a bargain destination thanks to all the airlines servicing it, not unlike Denver and Boston. Interestingly, Bloomberg quotes a Delta executive saying, “[LAX] has always been kind of a Boston; no one has ever really owned all of it.” True enough, though not for lack of trying.