What signal does being prepared to stay overnight on a Saturday give to the airlines?

10/30/2018 7:06:36 PM

What signal will “a trip with an overnight stay on Saturday” give to
the airlines and how would they possibly react?

Almost none at all.

The accepted answer used to be correct maybe 15 years ago, but much less so today. Prices are set by complicated revenue optimization systems that apply data mining on booking behavior and patterns, historical data, current booking rates and artificial intelligence. Apparently there isn’t a whole lot of actual correlation between “willing to pay more” and “not staying the weekend” and as a result the price difference between Sat night stay or not has pretty much disappeared.

I just checked a a routes I regularly fly and there was almost no difference between a Tue-Thu (same week) or Tue-Tue (including Sat night) trip. It’s more expensive on Mon and Fri since more people travel on these days; non-stops are more expensive than connections; but I couldn’t find any significant price difference for a Sat night stay.

10/30/2018 1:47:51 PM

It tells them that you’re most likely not travelling for business. The common airline-industry knowledge states that most business travelers will leave during the early part of the week and return home on Thursday or Friday in order to spend their weekend at home. If you’re willing to stay over the weekend you’re probably (or so the thinking goes) travelling for leisure and getting the most out of your vacation by staying for the weekend.

Business travelers are generally paying with a company credit card (or getting reimbursed) so they typically care far less about the cost of their tickets. Thus, airlines can get higher prices from them. Leisure travelers, on the other hand, are usually paying with their own money and are thus more price sensitive customers. Hence, the discount for staying a Saturday night may help attract them to purchasing a ticket.

This practice of finding dividing lines between types of customers (such as the Saturday night stay) is called “segmentation” and allows airlines to charge customers according to the features of their trip that are most important to them. This is the basis of an airline’s Revenue Management department, whose job it is to find these segments and set out different price points in the market according to the needs of each different segment.


About me

Hello,My name is Aparna Patel,I’m a Travel Blogger and Photographer who travel the world full-time with my hubby.I like to share my travel experience.

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