Why are airlines like American, United, Air Canada or Delta so expensive?
All the airlines have laid back on in flight amenities, even on the big airlines like I listed, so why are they still expensive? I live in Toronto, Canada and I wanted to book a flight to Raleigh, NC and Air Canada has direct flights but they were asking over $400 for a flight. All the others wanted about the same and of course the cheaper U.S. domestic airlines don't fly in/out of Toronto. So I checked Buffalo (a lot of Canadian fly out of Buffalo for cheaper prices) and found a roundtrip flight on Southwest (w/ a connection in Baltimore) for $132. Out of interest I checked American Airlines from Buffalo, and they had a connection in Chicago but it was just as expensive as the flight from Toronto. So why do the bigger airlines charge so much? I donâ€™t understand why people would want to pay so much extra just to fly with them when the discount airlines are so much cheaper.
Air Travel - 7 Answers
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the bigger airlines have taken a huge hit since 9/11 and due to the rising gas prices...many have gone bankrupt and are trying to recover
fuel and union wages !!!
big airlines are corporations. they have to charge that much to keep up with the others. they also provide better things, such as return policies. alot of small airlines wont let you return you ticket for the smae price as you bought it. but they are cheaper, and i fly smaller. not as many people
Discount airlines have several factors going for them. First they do not have massive pension plans to support. Second, they carry many routes and carry non profitable routes to feed into their main hubs. Third, they are encumbered with older planes that require costlier maintenance. Fourth, the average employee for the bigger airlines make 1/3 more then the smaller airlines Firth, the smaller airlines only fly the profitable routes. So they can cut fares to lure customers. The larger airlines use their profitable routes to subsidize their smaller routes.
I live in Boston and fly constantly. USAirways and American are always the cheapest on the routes that I fly frequently (San Francisco, Washington DC, Chicago, Miami, and Seattle). Even on the routes that I fly not too often I almost always find those airlines to be cheaper.
Basically it is just supply and demand. Yes, airfare has risen in the past due to rising fuel costs. And to the other people's answers: Delta does not have a union for flight attendants or ground personnel. And we happen to be one of the lowest paid carriers out of all carriers (even Southwest). And Southwest is now reporting troubles. They have expanded too much, and have been losing money on a lot of their routes. And to add to my answer...airlines charge this much, because they can...and most people will have to pay if they want to get from point A to point B.
One factor no one else has mentioned is safety. There have been numerous instances in the years since deregulation of discount airlines cutting corners on safety practices. Sometimes they "get away" with it, but sometimes it catches up and then you have a horrifying crash. I'm sure some discount airlines are every bit as safety-conscious as the legacy carriers, but some certainly do play fast and loose with their passengers' lives. Another factor is that the low-cost operators are flying on a financial shoestring, and if that snaps all the ticket holders are out of luck. Just ask yourself: whatever happened to PeopleExpress, New York Air, Air California, Pacific Southwest, Vanguard, and too many more to mention. And then in Canada there have been CanJet, Jetsgo, and a few more as well. Part of what you pay for is the security of the company that won't just shut down overnight without any hints of what is coming! And finally: if you are going to add in the cost of driving to Buffalo (including bridge tolls) and parking there, or going by bus, you may very well find that your bargain airfare isn't such a great bargain after all!