AirTran beats JetBlue on weekdays, but not at weekends

The US east coast is one of the most competitive markets in the world. This week in our exclusive farewatch examines fares between Boston and Orlando. The three carriers who compete for traffic in the non-stop market are AirTran with two daily flights, Delta with three daily flights and JetBlue with four daily flights. We compared the cheapest one-way fares for a two-week period for this 1,121km journey.

Chart: Boston - Orlando one-way fares
Dates in the green shaded areas are weekend days.

JetBlue has the lowest fares on average ($172), ahead of AirTran ($192) and Delta ($216). This supports the findings of the US Consumer Air Fares reports for 2006, which showed that in three of the four quarters JetBlue had both the highest market share of passengers (between 40% and 50%) and the lowest fares (around $132 on average). Our analysis reveals higher average fares as it focuses more on immediate bookings when fares are higher.

If we exclude weekend fares and focus just on weekday travel AirTran is the cheapest of the three airlines. It is only JetBlue‘s lower weekend fares, when it has lots of capacity to fill, that makes it cheapest overall.

These airlines are obviously keeping a close eye on each other, as on three days all three airlines have the same fares. The reason for the high fares from two of the three carriers on Sunday 15 July is unclear. Normally if there were some major event in Boston that people might be returning from all three airlines should be aware of it and price accordingly.

Delta‘s three departures from Boston are spread evenly throughout the day at 08:20, 14:30 and 18:20. AirTran‘s departures are at 09:56 and 12:25. JetBlue has a rather lopsided schedule with three morning departures at 06:30, 08:45 and 09:50 as well as a 14:00 departure.


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