Ah the good old days. Remember back in 2005 when Delta introduced SimpliFares and they were going to cap fares at $599 each way and end Saturday night stays? Those days are looooooong gone.
This article notes that a number of airlines (including Continental, American, United and Northwest) have re-introduced Saturday night stays in a handful of markets (ie, where they have no low fare carrier competition), and they’re happy with the results. Continental has also imposed 3-day advanced purchase rules where once there was no advanced purchase requirement. The airline has noted no falloff in demand, so look for these rules to grow to more markets.
Speaking of which (sort of) — A friend was recently flying between New York and Cincinnati and tickets were a very reasonable $1600 round trip (about the same cost as a business class ticket to London on SilverJet). So to combat this ridiculousness, I set him up with 2 one-way hidden city tickets which lowered the cost to about $600. Great. Except they canceled the flight home and I was terrified that instead of routing him to New York, they would route him to the final destination on the ticket, rather than to the stopover city. In the end, they did not. But I bring this up mostly as something to keep in mind should you buy a hidden city ticket — have a backup plan if your flight is canceled.
(if you’re wondering what “hidden city” means, it’s this: Let’s say a ticket from New York to Detroit was $1200, but a ticket from New York to Minneapolis with a stop in Detroit was $200, Detroit is the so-called “hidden city,” because that’s where you’re going to get off the plane. Should you try this, remember not to check any bags and to NOT give your frequent flyer number, as airlines can, theoretically, retaliate against you if they find out you did this.)
(Quick follow up: Long time Reader Doug asked what I meant by “retaliate.” If an airline figures out that you’ve done a hidden city ticket — which goes against the contract of carriage — they are not above closing down your frequent flyer account and taking away your accumulated miles. If you’re going to do this, DO NOT give your frequent flyer number.)