As flights to multiple cities get costlier, a recent survey suggests passengers are getting savvier about avoiding higher prices.
A new airfare pricing rule rolled out by American Airlines, Delta and United Airlines may add up to hundreds of dollars to tickets booked for multicity trips — the kind many business travelers take to visit more than one city on a single trip. Although a group of airline passengers and travel agents is fighting back by filing an antitrust lawsuit against the airlines, the rule could prove costly for passengers in the meantime.
However, a new study by OAG Aviation found that a good number of travelers are already adjusting to the reality. OAG data showed that fliers are skipping multicity ticket prices offered up by the airline booking sites, instead opting to "self-connect" by booking separate tickets to several different cities — often on different airlines. Experts say that booking that way is more cumbersome, but in many cases can be cheaper.
OAG surveyed more than 2,900 travelers, finding that 40 percent of travelers have already self-connected. Meanwhile, 92 percent are willing to self-connect under the right circumstances, and 37 percent are willing to wait more than four hours on a layover in order to save $200.
For millennials — a group not noted for being interested in waiting around for things to happen — the survey found that number jumps to 55 percent.
More expensive multicity travel "absolutely plays to the consumer in terms of encouraging self-connecting travel," said OAG senior analyst John Grant.
"Savvy passengers will quickly start scouring the internet for connecting opportunities between airlines as much as within an airline network," he said. "In time, this may lead the recent changes to be adjusted back to the current status quo."