We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Why is connection cheaper if destination is connecting city?

New York City, New...
posts: 50
reviews: 6
Why is connection cheaper if destination is connecting city?

Sorry if the title is confusing. I was trying to word my question so that it would fit in the title and make sense but I think I failed. lol. So my initial question was about whether I can miss a connecting flight but it looks like that topic comes up often on the forums so I found my answer...but it did raise another question.

I want to fly from NY-JFK to Rome-FCO in October. Alitalia wants about $1,300 per ticket for a direct flight. My final destination is actually closer to Naples so I checked to see if there were any cheaper direct flights to Naples. There werent any cheaper direct flights but they had flights from JFK-FCO-NAP that were CHEAPER than the flight from JFK-FCO. The exact same direct flight from JFK-FCO would be cheaper if I then got on another flight and went on to Naples. I just dont understand this. How is JFK-FCO-NAP cheaper than JFK-FCO even on idential flights from JFK-FCO.

Sorry if I'm not making sense here. I just dont get it.

Edited: 3:47 pm, June 09, 2014
8 replies to this topic
San Diego
Destination Expert
for San Diego
posts: 46,669
reviews: 61
1. Re: Why is connection cheaper if destination is connecting city?

Airlines don't price flights by distance. It is all complicated by how much demand there might be for that route and other factors .

Usually round trip NYC/Rome is less expensive than a flight NYC to Naples but you have found the exception I suppose. You could definitely book the NYC flight to Naples and get off in Rome BUT then your flight home would be canceled so not a great idea at all.

Have you priced the flight on Delta?? I've gone NYC to Rome with them many times.

Then I just take the train to my actual destination in Italy.

New York City, New...
posts: 50
reviews: 6
2. Re: Why is connection cheaper if destination is connecting city?

Thanks for the feedback. I was thinking of skipping the connecting flight but read on the forum that they would cancel the remaining flights on my trip so I'm definitely not doing that. I looked into Delta but the prices are the same as Alitalia. At this point I think I'll just connect in Rome to Naples. I just dont get why the flight to rome is cheaper if I then ADD ON a flight to Naples.

Loughborough...
posts: 2,106
reviews: 20
3. Re: Why is connection cheaper if destination is connecting city?

Competition is the answer. They offer a cheaper fare to undercut other airlines. Since there are no non-stop flights from the NYC area to Naples, everyone has to connect somewhere. Alitalia want you to connect in Rome so they get at least some cash from you. If you didn't connect in Rome you might fly via Frankfurt for example, and then Alitalia would get nothing and Lufthansa take the lot.

For people who actually want to go to Rome itself, Alitalia has the non-stop flights as its advantage over European competitors, and a revenue-sharing agreement with Delta, leaving just one AA and 1 United flight (from EWR) as real non-stop competitors.

Syracuse, New York
Destination Expert
for Seven Mile Beach, West Bay, Syracuse
posts: 2,897
reviews: 84
4. Re: Why is connection cheaper if destination is connecting city?

The summary is: supply and demand. Related ot that is what competition do they have on the route? Usually the more demand they have for a particular route and the less competition, the higher the price. Has nothing to do with distance.

Combine that with a related issue - why does it cost more to fly direct to a destination rather than flying via a connecting airport? it surely costs the airlines more for the two flights, right? Fact is, people are willing to pay a higher price for the convenience of the direct flight, so it's priced more expensive.

Brooklyn, NY
Destination Expert
for New York City
posts: 20,490
5. Re: Why is connection cheaper if destination is connecting city?

Because people are willing to pay more to fly directly to Rome than they are to take a connecting flight to a Naples. That's really all that matters in airline pricing: what are people willing to pay. Naples is a less popular destination from JFK than Rome, and connecting flights cost less than direct flights. Distance is irrelevant.

Portland, Oregon
Destination Expert
for Air Travel
posts: 19,006
reviews: 5
6. Re: Why is connection cheaper if destination is connecting city?

The others have provided the answer - Market forces and Competition.

You can look at it another way. You are paying more for the convenience of flying non-stop JFK-FCO. If you'd like a cheaper flight to Rome then you can look for one stop options via another European city which take longer and are less convenient, so the airlines have to offer a price break to attract you. I just did a search on http://matrix.itasoftware.com for random dates in October, and saw $1349 for the non stops. But there are one stops for a lot less: Aeroflot $847, Turkish $912, and Aer Lingus for $1052. Now I personally wouldn't bother with Aeroflot via Moscow, but I'd certainly consider Aer Lingus via Dublin to save $300 (and get Preclearance at DUB on the return). There may also be one stop options from Newark using the various Star Alliance hubs (FRA, BRU, VIE, LIS), yup $993 on TAP via Lisbon for the same random date.

Although in your case it makes sense to fly to Naples anyway as that's still close to where you want to go.

Edited: 9:31 pm, June 09, 2014
Ferrara, Italy
posts: 319
reviews: 4
7. Re: Why is connection cheaper if destination is connecting city?

Actually there ARE nonstop flights JFK to Naples. Meridiana Airlines fly this route seasonally (until about mid-October) twice a week. Further reason for Alitalia to offer a cheaper fare for travelers who have Naples as their final destination.

Bingley, United...
Destination Expert
for Edinburgh
posts: 27,874
8. Re: Why is connection cheaper if destination is connecting city?

Let's say you want to go from A to B.

You could fly directly A to B

You could fly via C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J....or Z

To get you to choose A to B via C then the airline has to offer a lower fare than direct A to B as few people would choose a connection over a direct flight if everything esle is equal

To get you to choose A to B via C rather than A to B via D the airline has to offer a lower fare / better flight times / other incentives to make you choose them rather than the other airline.

Marketing 101.

Reply to: Why is connection cheaper if destination is connecting city?
Get notified by e-mail when a reply is posted