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Why is it cheaper to fly further?

Joburg, South Africa
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Why is it cheaper to fly further?

I was looking at flying from Cuzco, Peru to Easter Island, Chile. I googled it and got this:

Cuzco-Lima-Santiago-Easter Island - all on LAN, fare around $735.

The problem is that the flight arrives in Santiago at 00:35 and leaves at 09:05. So I thought - why not split the journey and nip off to Santiago for a bit. So I googled Cuzco to Santiago, and the best fare I got (around $700) was going a tortuous route via Lima, Iguazu Falls and Sao Paulo! The direct route via Lima came in at around $780... more expensive than flying on to Easter Island.

Out of curiousity, I checked what a one-way ticket from Santiago to Easter Island costs, and it came to $461.

Please can someone explain the logic behind all of this?

Ayr, Scotland
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1. Re: Why is it cheaper to fly further?

Supply and demand ;-) We can even see it on our local bus fares! Busy routes which are shorter can be more expensive.

Liverpool, UK
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2. Re: Why is it cheaper to fly further?

Flight prices have very little to do with distance flown - the main factors that determine price are supply/demand and competition on any particular route including whether flights are direct or indirect with a stop with the former generally being more expensive than the latter.

It's not uncommon to find prices for a longer distance to be cheaper than those for a shorter distance.

Cape May, New Jersey
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3. Re: Why is it cheaper to fly further?

Also depends on where a particular airline's hub is located.

Surrey UK
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4. Re: Why is it cheaper to fly further?

But supply and demand does not explain the pricing illogicality identified by the OP. I think he is saying that it is cheaper to go A - B - C than A - B. I assume she is comparing prices for the same dates.

I too found this craziness when looking at MAS pricing for Feb 2015

London - Kuala Lumpur GBP 656

London - Kuala Lumpur - Penang GBP 564.

All flights same day, same flights, same economy promo fare.

Edited: 4:29 pm, August 17, 2014
Liverpool, UK
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5. Re: Why is it cheaper to fly further?

"But supply and demand does not explain the pricing illogicality identified by the OP. I think he is saying that it is cheaper to go A - B - C than A - B. I assume she is comparing prices for the same dates."

But the airline that is offering the A-B-C option at x price has to compete with any other airline offering flights between A - C and equally has to also compete with other airlines (which could be different) on the A - B route.

The comparison was also on one given date and could reflect the fare buckets on any of the particular flights - search on another day or for a different day of travel and you could get different results.

Trying to understand the logic of air fares is an impossible task.

Brisbane, Australia
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6. Re: Why is it cheaper to fly further?

With the Penang flight it's probably simply an airport fee/tax item. Like the UK, Heathrow is the most expensive airport to land, so often costs more (not always)

If I fly to Europe it's cheaper to land in Rome than Heathrow even though we transit through there, It's to do with fees and taxes, you only pay the tax/fees on your final destination.

As to the 3 flights cheaper than 1 thing the airline probably has empty seats on the less popular flights and wants to fill them.

Edited: 9:06 pm, August 17, 2014
Melbourne, Australia
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7. Re: Why is it cheaper to fly further?

>>>Trying to understand the logic of air fares is an impossible task<<<

It is and it isn't.

It is in that the general public aren't privy to all the factors that go into load inventory and distribution. So the public are trying to guess an equation with huge chunks missing.

It would make a lot more sense if this data was disclosed. However, that won't happen

Edited: 9:34 pm, August 17, 2014
Portland, Oregon
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8. Re: Why is it cheaper to fly further?

Yes it's all to do with market forces and supply/demand. Non stop routes are convenient and so you pay more for that convenience. Indirect routes are less convenient and so you get a price break. But with indirect routes the airline is also competing with others for the "one stop" business and so that can also drive fares down.

OP's example is complex, so let's use Carhirer' example.

"I too found this craziness when looking at MAS pricing for Feb 2015

London - Kuala Lumpur GBP 656

London - Kuala Lumpur - Penang GBP 564."

LHR-KUL is non stop and attracts a premium. For LHR-PEN Malaysia is also competing for one stop business with Cathay/DragonAir (via HKG), Singapore/SilkAir (via SIN) and Thai (via BKK). So they have to price that route to be competitive. It's quite possible you could find a cheaper fare from LHR to KUL with another airline if you're prepared to make it a one stop, as those others will have to price a one stop lower than MH's non stop fare to lure you away.

Northern Ireland
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9. Re: Why is it cheaper to fly further?

Yes I booked Dublin - Heathrow - miami - key west. It was cheaper than flying Heathrow to Miami!! Not complaining!!

Portland, Oregon
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10. Re: Why is it cheaper to fly further?

Yes I booked Dublin - Heathrow - miami - key west. It was cheaper than flying Heathrow to Miami!! Not complaining!!

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Just as long as you're aware that you will have to fly ALL those segments (Start in Dublin, end at Key West) good for you and well done.