Airline Ticket Prices Shown to Vary Wildly Among Seats on the Same Flight

Did you spend eight times more for ticket than seatmate? Report says, possibly.

ByABC News
August 11, 2014, 1:14 PM

-- Need another reason to complain about your airline seatmate? He or she may have spent less than half what you did for the ticket.

The price of airline tickets purchased within the same cabin can vary by as much as $1,400 on a single flight, according to a new study. Researchers at this morning said they've confirmed what disgruntled travelers have long suspected: Airlines can charge passengers wildly different rates for seats on the same flight.

The travel site, which examined millions of airfares across a number of domestic carriers, revealed that travelers can expect to pay anywhere between twice and eight times as much as their fellow passengers.

The research corroborates an informal study ABC News correspondent Linsey Davis conducted for the network on a flight last year, she said on “Good Morning America” today. En route from New York to Atlanta, travelers in coach reported fares that ranged from $235 to $600.

Delta Airlines told Davis that "fares are determined by market supply and demand," but the carrier could not comment further. Research, however, suggests that such economic forces do not affect all airlines equally.

Of the carriers it analyzed, Hopper found Spirit Airlines had the most uniform and consistent ticket pricing. Fares tended to vary by around 5 percent on Spirit, 15 percent on Virgin America and 18 percent on United Airlines.

And while Yahoo Travel editor in chief Paula Froelich agreed that "the findings from this study are pretty shocking," she said the "upside to high price variability is that, yes, there are very good deals. If you can have the time and if you've got the planning, and it's not last minute, you can get some really awesome deals."