Confessions of an Airline Revenue Manager

Did you know the Delta revenue manager responsible for those December 26th mistake fares (see Delta Mistake Fares, What Did BoardingArea Readers Snag??) was fired? This and a few other interesting tidbits in Airfarewatchdog’s article:

Is there a best time of the day or best day of the week to buy airline tickets?
No. We constantly read stories from pundits who proclaim that Tuesday nights are the best or Saturday at midnight is the lowest time for airfares, but that is not entirely true. Each airline loads fares at different times of the day every day. To say that there is one time of the day or one day of the week that is better than another is false.

Plus, fares are so dynamic since they are based on market conditions and the actual number of passengers who are currently booked on a specific flight that they can change rapidly at any time. Many airlines tend to announce sales on a Monday leading other airlines to match certain fares the following day, but this is not a hard and fast rule. It truly varies from airline to airline.

How do airlines post mistake airfares and what are the consequences?
Quite simply, its human error. A revenue manager might attempt to do a global reduction on all North America fares for example and lower all fares by more than he intended. We have warnings and systems in place to catch these fat finger fares but they dont always work and it takes a while to correct them. The consequences vary depending on the damage done. Usually you get one mistake and a warning. However, I heard through the grapevine that the guy responsible for that Dec. 26 Delta fare glitch got fired immediately. It probably cost the airline over a million dollars in lost revenue.

Continue reading here.

Revenue Management

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  1. I like the statement toward the end of the article about award space opening up at the last minute. It makes me think that you could do well to keep searching for better flights once you’ve already booked your award space in the off chance that a better seat, cheaper award or better flight opens as long as you can cancel your original seat for no or little penalty and don’t have to pay much to book an award at the last minute.

  2. If someone made a similar mistake (like the DL mistake fare) at my company, you can be certain they’d be sacked immediately.

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