Incredible fares to Moscow on United!

United has some amazing fares to Moscow right now. Gray over at Wing and a Prayer reports booking a $383 all-in ticket from New York to Moscow, which is both a great mileage run and weekend trip. Fares from other parts of the country are also excellent, as low as $500 all-in.

I hate to question the suits at revenue management, but why publish a $383 all-in fare, with a base fare of $177? That means the airline is getting somewhere around $87.50 for transporting you in each direction (about 5,000 miles), which has to be below marginal cost. I realize the loads on this route are awful, but I’m not sure how selling seats at what must be substantially below marginal cost helps. Don’t get me wrong, I love fares like that, but I’d love to understand the reasoning, maybe from someone that has RM experience.


  1. The visa process, from my investigations, is what’s going to keep one from mileage running to DME.

  2. Visas to Russia (even for transit) cost at minimum $100 and that is for 2+ week processing. For anything beyond a transit visa you must get a Russian sponsor (e.g. hotel) and fill out a three page application. Albeit a terrific fare, it is probably too much of a hassle for a simple MR or weekend trip. Though its a really nice place to visit.

  3. @Chris – In general, Russian visas only take about six days to process, and our hotel, the Moscow Marriott Grand, has sent us a simple form to complete for our sponsorship, which we complete, fax, and they fax our letter of sponsorship to us. So, I’m sure that while obtaining a visa will be slightly annoying, it’s not as terrible as most think. And, yes, we’re sucking it up and going for the weekend because I had vouchers sitting around, and my friend had Marriott points. Combining forces and saving so much money on airfare and hotel makes the visa costs a lot less irritating.

  4. I would imagine these super-cheap fares are designed to bring some attention to this new route. Obviously they can’t stay this low…

    I’m smarting at these $383 fares, though. I booked a few weeks ago at about $950. Of course, I’m flying in NC… ; )

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