Southwest Departs; US Airways Still Ripping People Off

Southwest US Airways traveler“I miss you, Southwest.” (Photo via ThinkStock)

This past weekend marked a sad day for New England, when Southwest stopped direct flights between Boston and Philadelphia, as well as flights to Philly from Manchester, New Hampshire, and Warwick, Rhode Island. Prior to the cancellation of those routes, you could almost always score $100 round-trip, non-stop Southwest flights between Boston and Philly (provided you booked your flights a couple weeks in advance). It was a boon for tourists and businessmen alike, but Southwest wasn’t making enough money on it, so they withdrew from the market.

So, what’s a Bostonian interested in getting to the City of Brotherly Love have to pay these days? US Airways is the last remaining airline flying directly between the two airports. I hopped on to Kayak for a quick look and HOLY CRAP. Tickets are $530! Really?! But Philly is pretty close! It’s only 320 miles away! I can fly to Dublin for cheaper than $530!

Granted, we at Boston mag might be a little more sensitive to losing Southwest, seeing that our sister publication is in Philly, and we like to go hang out with them and drink Yuengling at happy hour prices. And furthermore, we realize that Southwest was trying to undercut US Airways with their $100 fares. But there’s no way it’s costing them five times as much as Southwest to run profitable trips between the two airports. Know why? Because US Airways is running round-trip nonstop flights from Philly to Phoenix for $336 and to Denver for only $281. Phoenix is 2,000 miles further away from Philadelphia than Boston is, but somehow US Airways can make that flight $200 cheaper. It’s magic!

No, we know why we have a price discrepancy: US Airways now has a monopoly on travelers. And clearly, they have no problem with squeezing every last penny out of us.

Please come back to Boston, Southwest. We miss you. (If you don’t, we’re calling JetBlue or Virgin America.)

  • Janelle

    Time to start using hidden city ticketing to Philly…

  • Rick

    And here is another idea for those of you who make regular trips to and from Philadelphia and Boston. Book two round trip tickets – one originating from Philadelphia and one originating from Boston – the next part of the trick is make sure you book the trips over a weekend since US Air (like other airlines) sticks it to the business traveler traveling within the week, but they cut a break to the personal traveler going over a weekend, the round trip prices are lower if you stay a weekend night. The final part of the trick is to coordinate your trips so that you get the right combination of to/from trips.

    For example, book first round trip from Boston to Philly and return March 20 to March 28. Book second round trip from Philly to Boston and return March 21 to March 27. Therefore you have Boston to Philly on the 20th; Philly to Boston on the 21st and then Boston to Philly the 27th and return the 28th. Using this strategy saves $600 at today’s prices on the US Airways website.

    Note, if you change your flight time, you are screwed. Also, I don’t know if this breaks any rules of US Airways, but it seems like a legitimate way to get good pricing. Good luck!

  • Eddie B

    For that price I’ll drive, red eye road trip from Boston to Philly is about 6 hrs, add in the hassle of getting to the airport, parking bag fees, overpriced refreshments and inability to drive back as much Yuengling as you can cram in a sedan…. Driving is soooo worth it!

  • jgargas

    Apparently this author is clueless on airline capacity demand and how pricing works… Get a little educated prior to commenting on thoughts or ideas you have no idea about. Talk about a one-sided article, great communication here, opinions, no facts.

  • Samuel B

    First, I love the picture you used, a blonde babe sitting in first class Biz jet seats, complete with rosewood paneled cup holder…yeah that’s the Southwest experience. Believe me if Southwest was making a profit at $100 a seat they wouldn’t have pulled out. Buy a one-stop on Delta next Tuesday for $311. Or if convenience is important buy the expensive non-stop for $530. Even that, I might add, is far less expensive than that Biz Jet seat the babe is sitting in in your photo… convenience has a price. Finally, the Airlines (even Southwest) have figured out that they need to make a profit to survive.

  • JimmyZ

    That blonde is flying the Trump Shuttle!