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Air Companies Explained How Plane Ticket Fares Are Formed

We decided to learn more about plane tickets and tell our readers about how the prices of plane tickets are formed. As it turns out, the fares are set according to strict rules and unlike what most people think, they are not just whatever the company wants them to be. At the end of the article, there is a useful bonus: a few tricks that will help you save money on flights.

After reading this article, you'll see that it's not as difficult as it seems and you'll be more prepared to plan your trips. We at Bright Side are convinced that it's easier than you think. And much cheaper.

Aircraft fuel — 26%

Aircraft fuel is one of the most expensive parts of the plane ticket cost. Each plane needs a different amount of fuel, and usually, it's information that can be found on the website of the air company or the company that constructed the plane.

Here is a simple calculation to give you a basic understanding: a direct flight from Moscow to New York is about 4,600 miles and it takes the Airbus 70 tons of aircraft fuel. 70 tons cost around €34,000.

Passenger and luggage service, both in airports and on planes — 26%

This percentage is made up of several parts. First of all, it includes passenger service on the flight such as food, water, blankets, kind flight attendants, and more. Second of all, storing and transporting the luggage is also considered. Then, you can also include call-centers, websites, statistics, and customer service. Finally, the work with the plane itself: "parking," express checks, and so on.

Aircraft service — 16%

This is about insurance and small repairs: painting and routine maintenance of the plane.

Salaries — 10%

This part includes the salaries and bonuses of the air company employees: the pilots of all ranks, flight attendants, and other staff.

Depreciation and leasing — 8%

Depreciation (amortization) is a gradual decrease in the cost of the plane itself which is caused by its aging. If the plane is property, then these costs are covered by the owner. However, if the plane is rented (this is so-called aviation leasing which is a very common thing) then it's paid by the person who is using the plane at the time.

Advertisement and administrative costs — 5%

This is the money that air companies use for marketing, promotion, taxes, and some other expenses. These costs depend on the situation in the country where the company is from.

Air navigation fees and, meteorological support — 9%

This includes meteorological support, tracking of the aircraft during the flight, and payments to the airports.

Bonus: Tricks that will help you save money when buying plane tickets

Use different aggregators

Aggregator websites are the ones that you can use to search for plane tickets. They compare the offers of all of the air companies and make a list of the flights that you need. Basically, it's the simplest and most reliable way to find tickets at the lowest price: you need only one website to see all of the offers out there regarding the route you need.

Different search engines can sort the results differently, so we recommend that you use different aggregators. The price difference can be from 2% to 7% of the full ticket cost.

On top of that, such aggregators have a lot of convenient features like email subscriptions to the best offers, bonuses, and other cool stuff that can help you save a lot of money.

Choose connection flights

Connection flights are cheaper than direct flights most of the time. The thing is, air companies try to sell tickets for all the flights which are required by their basic airports (otherwise known as hubs.)

You can organize the connection in a smart and productive way. Travelers often use stopovers — connections that are longer than 24 hours. This is a great way to see more and to save a lot of money. After you buy a connection flight ticket, you need to apply for a stopover. However, before you do that, make sure that your flight supports this feature.

Use the "Sunday Rule"

According to this rule, if you spend the night from Saturday to Sunday in the destination, the tickets will be much cheaper. "The Sunday Rule" was made up in the US where there is a big difference between business flights and nonbusiness ones. It is believed that businessman really want to spend the weekend at home and they are ready to pay a little extra for that. Tourists don't really need this. So, use this to your advantage.

Fly on the "right" days

Many air companies change the plane ticket prices depending on the departure days. Most of the time, the cheapest days are Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. From Friday to Sunday, and on holidays, the tickets are more expensive.

However, this rule doesn't work for popular business flights because businesspeople take such flights on weekdays.

Change dates

If specific dates don't really matter to you, change the departure and arrival dates: 3, 5, or 7 days difference can save you a lot of money. Some aggregators offer special calendars for these purposes.

By the way, if the departure time really doesn't matter, for example, you just need to fly sometime that month, you can use the same calendars. They will show you the prices for all of the tickets available that month.

Sign up for a loyalty program and save miles.

Clients get miles, coupons for purchases in duty-free zones, free tickets, and discounts for staying in hotels for signing up for loyalty programs. Practically all air companies offer bonuses and discounts for their loyal clients.

Pay attention to the details.

When paying for tickets, we advise you to double-check all the terms. The thing is, some aggregators and air companies can charge you some strange fees: for online payment, for a printout when paying offline, or for booking a ticket. It's a good idea to stay cautious.

Do you have any life hacks that you use when buying plane tickets? Share your knowledge and experiences with us in the comment section!

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