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Number of stopovers

Old 8th Nov 2013, 17:19
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Number of stopovers

I am looking for some kind of research or general theory on how many stop-overs (connections/legs) passengers are willing to make to get from A to B depending on underlying factors like total trip distance, costs, etc.

Thanx for help!
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Old 8th Nov 2013, 17:44
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I am not aware of any non-propriatory research on this. Of course airlines analyse every one of their potential markets in order to set their prices vs their competitors.

Every market is different, every market component is different as well.

Good luck.
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Old 8th Nov 2013, 18:47
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I am looking for some kind of research or general theory on how many stop-overs (connections/legs) passengers are willing to make to get from A to B
You might want to start by tightening up your definitions - the terms "stopover" and "connection" aren't synonymous in airline-speak.

I suspect you mean the latter, but I may be wrong.
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Old 8th Nov 2013, 19:00
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Yes, I mean connection.
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Old 9th Nov 2013, 00:50
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It's not quite on your topic, but if you look, you'll find some offerings that involve an incredible number of connections.
For example, I was booking a flight GEG to either CVG or DAY (either works for us) several years ago and I ran across one published offering booked through a major carrier that involved four connections for an A to B distance of ~2000 miles.
I wanted to book it since I wanted a flight on one of the aircraft that would have been involved, but I didn't since the connecting time at SEA would have been only thirty minutes, which was less than I was comfortable with at an airport I wasn't familiar with.
The flight would have been dirt cheap.
I was searching for flights to the Carribean one year and actually saw one involving a codeshare with JAL, which featured a connection through Tokyo. IIRC, it routed DAY-JFK, and went international from there. It then routed back through maybe LAX. This was actually available to purchase. I kid you not.
Turn off all of the filters on a site like Kayak and you'll be amazed at some of the strange routings available for purchase.
What they have in common is that they're cheap and they're slow since they often take you way out of the way of your destination.
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Old 9th Nov 2013, 00:56
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Paxing All Over The World
 
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Can you define further, GSLOC?
... passengers are willing to make to get from A to B depending on underlying factors like total trip distance, costs, etc.
I'm not in the business, just a long term user of it (month short of 48 years since my first commercial flght), so this is my guess: If any research exists it will be out of date.
It used to be the case that you could make many hops to save money but numerous countries now charge a panoply of taxes (landing, departing or whatever they can think of, not to mention Visas) that the cost of hopping is now more expensive.

I recall a few years ago, looking at making a series of hops with some connections and some stopovers for UK/Oz and the costs quickly spiralled.

Secondly: Time. Those that have the time to make such a route are probably few and far between.

But that's just a 'from the hip thought'. For myself? Being older, I certainly want to cut down on the connections! If I was 18, I probably wouldn't mind - if it would save money.
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Old 9th Nov 2013, 01:19
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GSLOC,

You are looking to intelligently apply something like QSI - Quality Service Index. Let me share one example of how it can be used, and you can of course adapt QSI to your needs.

EXAM QUESTION
The market share of an airline can be estimated using the QSI method. The current timetables for the Sydney-Auckland route (both direct and indierct) are shown in the following table. The total passenger traffic (all routings) for the route is 21000 per week in each direction.

AIRLINE Outbound flights/week. Via Aircraft
Air New Zealand 28 Direct Boeing 767
Qantas 35 Direct Boeing 767/747
Qantas 7 Melbourne Boeing 747
Lan Chile 7 Direct Airbus A340
Virgin 10 Brisbane Boeing 737
Emirates 7 Direct Boeing 777
- What is the expected market share of each airline? (marks = 50%)

- What should the market and fares strategy of Emirates be in the face of this competition? (marks = 10%)
Other revenue sources, low fares

- What are the competitive advantages and disadvantages of Virgin on this route, and how important is this route to them? (marks = 10%)
ADV = low fares, pick up traffic in Brisbane. DISADV = indirect route, narrowbody aircraft. Unimportant.

- What low cost carrier strategies can/cannot Virgin use on this route? (Marks = 30%)
CAN = Standard fleet, maximise utilisation, cheaper product design, lower travel agent fees, outsourcing
CANNOT = Secondary airports, point-point service
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Old 9th Nov 2013, 12:54
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You probably need to define what type of passenger you're targetting. The "time is money" type will generally opt for the most direct route overall including the terrestrial component (I have relatively recent CAA survey saved somewhere that makes this point, PM me if you this is the kind of info you want) ; whereas leisure travellers may be prepared to make a connection into a stop-over and get "two destinations for the price of one".
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Old 9th Nov 2013, 17:04
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I do a lot of flights from London to various less obvious parts of Africa and also a lot of London - South America. That means most of the time I need to change at least once. If there's no direct flight my strong preference is to change somewhere in Europe into a long-haul direct to destination, ideally overnight.

So, Libreville is a change in Frankfurt onto the somewhat odd 737's with the mostly biz configuration; Lome probably best via Accra, Freetown I would go direct, and so on. South America tends to involve Madrid.

But, because I'm not paying, it will be any direct flight unless an easy alternative is much cheaper. All this in biz class.
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Old 15th Nov 2013, 16:51
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Purely personal point of view

I like flying. In the past I have chosen to fly because of a specific aircraft type and, in one case, because of the stops the plane was going to make (versus a non stop).

Nowadays I take the view that I can't be bothered with all the fuss of rushing around an airport, if I can avoid it, to make a connection. But there is a more serious issue and that is safety. Despite the improvements that have taken place in my flying life (which is now at over 50 years of flying) there is little doubt that take off and landing are the two most dangerous parts of a flight. Why risk more than I need to?

So it's non-stop flights for me and I'll pay for that.
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Old 20th Nov 2013, 05:19
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I just flew from CNS to LAX via Guam and Hawaii. Not ideal changing aircraft ths often, but my wife and I got a screamer deal with United return.

Actually wasn't too bad changing aircraft, running around airport, customs, etc. A little annoying but also meant each leg wasn't as long.

Thumbs up for the United flyboys on the 14th/15th this month who handled the big bore twin beautifully from GUM-HNL searching for smoother air and caressed the runway like a women on arrival!




None of that answered the OP's questions, but hey, close enough is good enough.
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Old 20th Nov 2013, 05:48
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Let me tell you where I am on this. I prefer to fly with the minimum number of stops, unless the stop over is somewhere where I want to stay for a day or 2. If it is, it makes the ticketing a lot easier. I'm just back from Thailand (LHR to BKK) and flew EVA Air as;

1. They offered non stop.
2. They have cheap premium economy.
3. The fare was £400 cheaper than BA who I fly the most.
4. I did not want to stop/stay over in the Middle East on this trip.

I am not prepared to lose 9 hours of my holiday by way of a stop over in a dismal airport somewhere in the Middle East to save £30 on an air ticket.

If travelling to Australia from London I fully appreciate that the aircraft will need to stop at least once for fuel etc. Last time I did that (25 years ago) the turn around was under 90 minutes at what is now Don Mueung airport in Bangkok (back then it was the international airport for Bangkok) and we were off again.

Whilst in Thailand I flew Air Asia who were fast, efficient and arrived early on 2 of the sectors and on time at the third destination (I visited multiple cities / beach destinations whilst on holiday).

I am not aircrew or a pilot, but I do fly a lot for work and pleasure!
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Old 20th Nov 2013, 08:32
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Back in the early 1970s I was briefly attached to the BOAC Eastern Routes planning office, where I was tasked to develop a ‘passenger preference model’ to predict demand on Australia routes taking into account number of stops, day of week, VC10/707 etc (I don’t think the 747s were on the route at the time) – all based on historical data. From memory the slowest flight had seven stops.

I crunched numbers for a week or two, and proudly emerged with a set of formulae which I knew were bullshit but impressed my masters.

My reputation preceded me when I moved to the transatlantic division and I was in great demand when the UK repudiated the US bilateral and insisted on mutual capacity cutbacks, got whisked off to Washington and NYC to evaluate various proposals e.g. BA and TWA would be restricted to 5pw on Chicago but could choose their days. Once again I knew my figures were hogwash but everybody believed them.
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Old 20th Nov 2013, 10:18
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I went to Dubai via Air France a few years ago as changing at CDG was cheaper than a direct Emirates. About £500 vs £800.

Wish I hadn't - lost bag, took 48 hrs to get it back. Was only in Dubai for 4 days so it cocked things up a bit!
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Old 20th Nov 2013, 11:10
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Paxing All Over The World
 
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Devil

That's a great story, The SSK.

Nowadays, with the computerised data collection, you would be able to get closer to what was happening - but predicting pax behaviour requires a lot of smoke and mirrors (bearing in mind that smoking is not allowed on aircraft and mirrors only tell you where you've been ...)

On the subject of impressing the boss: I recall a manager of mine asking his team to find background and planning information on a project we were formulating. He said:

"I want lots of information - it's got to be real in case he reads any of it - but the main thing is we need a big fat document. I want thudware - it has to make a thud when I drop it on his desk to impress him."

I've never forgotten that. It told me that my manager completely understood the chain of command. From then on, I'm always wary of anyone who produces a document so large that no one is going to read it and, the more so, if it makes a thud.
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Old 20th Nov 2013, 11:40
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A Runyonesque Character
 
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I was also a one-man pioneer of yield management. When the transatlantic APEX fares came in, much lower than anything that had gone before, one of my jobs was to decide what the allocation of APEX seats would be on each flight - zero, 5, 10, 15, 20 or 25. I had to do it a month at a time, for every US flight, in either direction, and it was sooooo boring.

I knew if I mixed the numbers up with no observable pattern, they would look as if more science and less repetition had gone into them, so that's what I did. I'd spend an hour or so using my best judgement then just randomise the rest to get the job done.
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Old 20th Nov 2013, 16:52
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Paxing All Over The World
 
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The SSK
I was also a one-man pioneer of yield management.
You must feel so proud of the heritage that you helped to create.

I'd spend an hour or so using my best judgement then just randomise the rest to get the job done.
Fantastic!! Well done and a brilliant move.

You were also in a rising market of travel which (I venture) would have helped almost any set of figures to look good? Or am I being too unkind?
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Old 21st Nov 2013, 00:43
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The SSK
I was also a one-man pioneer of yield management.
Are you THE Peter Belobaba, or did you pioneer him? His doctoral dissertation was the seminal “Air Travel Demand and Airline Seat Inventory Management,” which proposed the expected marginal seat revenue methods still used by many revenue management systems.

Belobaba must be about 55 years old now, which (according to published age) makes The SSK the true pioneer. Belobaba's doctoral dissertation is still classifed confidential by MIT and is not obtainable despite various attempts to do so. I now wonder if that is because it is also based on a set of formulae which were bullshit but impressed the MIT masters
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Old 21st Nov 2013, 18:38
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For me it depends on the savings and the other advantages. We're flying AKL to Orlando at Christmas this year. Choices are basically Air NZ to US West Coast and then United to Orlando - or Qantas via Oz and connecting through Dallas with AA on to Orlando.

So extra time for Qantas as have to fly 3 hours in wrong way, only to double back on yourself again, and additional connection in Dallas. Advantages though in that you don't have a very long flight with a US based operator and US levels of "service". Also savings of $4,000 for the family of 4. So we are going Qantas.
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Old 22nd Nov 2013, 09:48
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Every market (and market segment) is going to be different.

You have markets with many non-stop flights (LHR-JFK/EWR or LON-GVA),
You have markets with a few non-stop flights (LHR-YYZ)
You have markets with one 'direct' flight (GVA-YYZ)
You have markets with no non-stops but with a few single on-line connections (GVA-YVR: via LHR, AMS, FRA, YUL)
You have markets with only interline connections (AMS-YXS)

To offer a connecting service LHR-JFK or LON-GVA, for the business market you will have to be a lot cheaper. For the VFR/Tourist market - quite a bit cheaper.

LHR-YYZ connecting service the schedule is likely to be as important as the price. Same with GVA-YYZ.

GVA-YVR - Everyone is connecting - price much less important as long as you are 'competitive'

AMS-YXS - Sum of sectors plus all of the above.
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