Saturday Night Sensation
When travel journalists get bored, they write about airfares and how these have been reduced. Great. Well, airfares haven't. Gone down, that is. If anything, they are increasing and that by leaps and bounds.
Sure, if you spend long enough searching through offers, you will find a cheap fare to some city for a weekend break in January, when the temperature is probably about minus several tens of digits and there is a keen wind that means the hold bag you have to pay for, is not enough for the myriad of heavy jumpers you will need to stave off hypothermia if you spend any longer than 2 minutes outdoors.
Most people (and in business travel, all people (probably)) do not/ cannot plan that far ahead and for most, travel as a necessity, for whatever reason, is something for which one gets fairly short notice and where one is constrained as to the "when and where".
The "Saturday Night" rule is still one of the greatest impediments in travel. It does not exist within Europe (much) but as soon as you start looking at long haul and especially, across the pond, then it is a different matter. It also depends on which way around you are travelling. In the case of the USA, it is more expensive, to fly to London than it is from London.
I had to book some flights from Charleston SC to London. The dates I have used in this example, is from the 15th to the 25th September. This, you will observe, does include a Saturday night stay. The best fare (and in this instance, I was required to use a specific airline) from Charleston (CHS) was £1000.17. If we went the other way around, on the same dates and flights (but the other way around) the cost would be £785.37.
What happens if we are working and do not wish to spend the weekend in the US?
Here, the difference is more marked. Using the 25th September to the 27th (so, no Saturday night) booking from London (LHR) to CHS, would set us back £1225.37 BUT the other way around, from CHS to LHR would cost an eye-watering £2192.17. That is a round trip fare, in coach, with no favors.
So, I check on Expedia, in case I am missing something. £2198.43 is their answer and on the airline's own website, £2198.92. Cheapflights offered £2412.60. Interesting how I, as a homeworking travel agent, had the cheapest fare. True, by only a small margin and in all fairness, I charge a fee - but that fee covers time spent emailing, option providing, including extra stops and, and ... (on the extra stops part, I saved the client about $350 alone - so my fee can be justified!)
A simple search engine check for the itinerary, promised "Cheap flights to Charlotte from £343" (that magic word - "from") following the link, there were cheap flights .... but in October. Great. And no where near the "from" figure.
Business travelers and those that cannot or choose not to sacrifice their weekends do pay a heavy price. One has to question if penalising business traffic to fund leisure traffic, where business supports any nations GDP and leisure traffic detracts from it, is right.