04/24/2014 07:00 am ET

This Airline Ticket Phenomenon Makes Total Sense And We Love It


We already knew we loved JetBlue -- that legroom! That personality! Those crunchy and free-flowing Terra Blues potato chips!

But according to recent research, there’s another reason to adore the indigo-hued airline: When JetBlue starts flying a domestic air travel route, overall ticket prices on that route drop 50 percent on average.

For example, in early 2013, flights from Boston to Philadelphia were $356 on average. But after JetBlue started flying from Boston to Philadelphia last May, the average price for a flight on that route -- with any airline! -- became a meager $118.

That's a huge shift.

And it's not the only one: Spirit, Frontier, Alaska and Sun Country Airlines round out the top five airlines that (usually) cause prices to fall when they enter a domestic airfare market.

Hopper, the travel research company who conducted this study, explains that when new competition (like a new airline) enters a market (like the airline industry), it’s not unusual for prices to drop all around. But when that new airline is JetBlue, they found, the price drops are far, FAR more dramatic than with other airlines.

Consider this example: When JetBlue started flying from New York to Charleston in 2013, the average cost of a flight (Any flight! With any airline!) on that route fell from $272 to $172. When they entered the Seattle to Anchorage market, prices plummeted from $542 to $236. That’s a discount of 57 percent, just because JetBlue had increased competition by flying that route at a lower rate than many other airlines.

To be fair, JetBlue isn't the clear winner in international routes. That crown belongs to US Airways (the airline that actually causes a price increase on domestic flights). US Airways causes flight prices to decrease by about 12 percent when they launch new international routes... and that's an awesome economic phenomenon for all of us.

Thank you, strange workings of the American travel market.



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