Incredible fares to Moscow on United!

United has some amazing fares to Moscow right now. Gray over at Wing and a Prayer reports booking a $383 all-in ticket from New York to Moscow, which is both a great mileage run and weekend trip. Fares from other parts of the country are also excellent, as low as $500 all-in.

I hate to question the suits at revenue management, but why publish a $383 all-in fare, with a base fare of $177? That means the airline is getting somewhere around $87.50 for transporting you in each direction (about 5,000 miles), which has to be below marginal cost. I realize the loads on this route are awful, but I’m not sure how selling seats at what must be substantially below marginal cost helps. Don’t get me wrong, I love fares like that, but I’d love to understand the reasoning, maybe from someone that has RM experience.

About lucky

Ben Schlappig (aka Lucky) is a travel consultant, blogger, and avid points collector. He travels about 400,000 miles a year, primarily using miles and points to fund his first class experiences. He chronicles his adventures, along with industry news, here at One Mile At A Time.

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Comments

  1. The visa process, from my investigations, is what’s going to keep one from mileage running to DME.

  2. Visas to Russia (even for transit) cost at minimum $100 and that is for 2+ week processing. For anything beyond a transit visa you must get a Russian sponsor (e.g. hotel) and fill out a three page application. Albeit a terrific fare, it is probably too much of a hassle for a simple MR or weekend trip. Though its a really nice place to visit.

  3. @Chris – In general, Russian visas only take about six days to process, and our hotel, the Moscow Marriott Grand, has sent us a simple form to complete for our sponsorship, which we complete, fax, and they fax our letter of sponsorship to us. So, I’m sure that while obtaining a visa will be slightly annoying, it’s not as terrible as most think. And, yes, we’re sucking it up and going for the weekend because I had vouchers sitting around, and my friend had Marriott points. Combining forces and saving so much money on airfare and hotel makes the visa costs a lot less irritating.

  4. I would imagine these super-cheap fares are designed to bring some attention to this new route. Obviously they can’t stay this low…

    I’m smarting at these $383 fares, though. I booked a few weeks ago at about $950. Of course, I’m flying in NC… ; )

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