why is a return flight cheaper than a single?

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this doesnt make any sense. anyone care to enlighten me?

with BA, a flight from london to montreal in May costs something like £364 return, but a single costs £605

i mean, whats the point? you would just get a return ticket and cancel your return flight

and its not just BA, KLM and airfrance also do the same thing except you go from something like £1800 down to £500
 
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still doesnt make sense from a purely profit-making view, unless im missing something about the importance of filling a seat
 
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Cos they lose money flying the return with 1 empty seat. If someone happens to buy a Single from Montreal they are quids in, but its not very often people buy a single ticket.

If however, you book a return and then dont make the return for whatever reason they then resell your seat and make even more money. Oh to have any airplane company shares :)
 
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scott.holmes said:
If however, you book a return and then dont make the return for whatever reason they then resell your seat and make even more money. Oh to have any airplane company shares :)
But surely if you buy a single and they manage to sell the seat on what would be the return journey, they will make even more money, as that seat has effectively been paid for 3 times.
 
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Psyk said:
But surely if you buy a single and they manage to sell the seat on what would be the return journey, they will make even more money, as that seat has effectively been paid for 3 times.

Theoretically yes, hence why they charge you more for a single. They might not sell the return seat, so have to make money. But if they do mange to sell it on the return, they make more money.

Win Win for them really.
 
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yeah but if i only want to go one-way, then i'm only going to go one-way...

i flew to paris recently from edinburgh with a return ticket, but i had the courtesy to phone airfrance to tell them i didnt intend to return (hence i am still on the continent). The alternative was for me to not say anything and deliberately miss my flight, which as an EU citizen, i could have easily done...

is this the kind of behaviour airlines are trying to encourage?

nb the return ticket was also cheaper than the single in this case
 
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If you buy a single, it means someone else has to buy a single on the way back for them to fill the seat, otherwise it will be empty. Therefore they charge close to double in order to recoup the money from that empty seat on the way back.
 
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qwerty said:
If you buy a single, it means someone else has to buy a single on the way back for them to fill the seat, otherwise it will be empty. Therefore they charge close to double in order to recoup the money from that empty seat on the way back.

okay, so i buy a return ticket which costs about half, and then i dont bother to return (and lets say i also dont bother to inform the airline), how does the airline profit from that?
 
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scott.holmes said:
Cos they lose money flying the return with 1 empty seat. If someone happens to buy a Single from Montreal they are quids in, but its not very often people buy a single ticket.

If however, you book a return and then dont make the return for whatever reason they then resell your seat and make even more money. Oh to have any airplane company shares :)

They dont lose money from flying an empty seat, For them to charge double a return they are effectively charging you 4 times as much as a single should be.
So why charge double a return, why not charge the same for both, if they dont want you to go one way.
 
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Quite a lot of people are listed for flights as standby who are staff, like my dad and my family so we are always standby. 9 times out of 10 get first or business class :D
 
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jim5000 said:
It's basically like anything, buying in bulk gets you a discount.
Yeah but it still doesn't make sense that buying one actually costs more than buying two. I could understand if a return cost 1.5 times as much as a single, that would be a discount, but I still don't get why a single should actually cost more.
 
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