Looks like an Airfare War is Heating Up in Los Angeles

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+.

JetBlue entices business travelers with new perks

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:

  • American
  • Delta
  • Southwest
  • United
  • Virgin America

Virgin America – Is this the best airline?

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.

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Published: August 7, 2013