One month to go! One month to go!

I did something useful today. I went into ‘internet lockdown’, yes sireee… I sat in my room with its super fast internet connection and its handy dandy internet cable plug thing and I UNPLUGGED MYSELF! I didn’t check my email for six hours! ooooooooooooo….. And I’m gonna do it again tomorrow!

I learned something interesting about flights and market segmentation yesterday. I talked to a travel agent about flight prices. I knew that somehow if you booked early enough, you got cheaper tickets. How does that work? Does the airline go, ‘Okay, a month before take-off, all the prices go up! Suckers, those people who don’t book early!’

In fact, the rules that govern the system are different, even if they appear to have the same effect. What the airline does is release all its seats at different prices. I don’t mean that seat B2 is more expensive than AK5, no. What they do is, ‘Okay, a hundred seats will be on sale for £400, a hundred will go for £450, another hundred for £600…’

So, yes, your chance of getting a cheap flight does improve if you get in early but the availability of the cheap fare also depends on demand. I mean, how many people would be the same seat for £450 if they can get it for £400?

So the question remains: Why do airlines do this? Is it to capture the poor-but-organised segment of the market (like concession fares for movies)? Is it to encourage people to book early? Is it to entice travellers if the market demand is low? Is it to make money from desperate or disorganised people who book two weeks before the flight?

It is an interesting and clever business model…

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