I'm checking online for flights from Baltimore to San Jose, CA, for the middle of March. On one major US airline's site, where I explicitly ask for the lowest available fares, I find a good deal. This is for a one-stop via Atlanta, with not too long a delay in Atlanta between flights, for a total airport-to-airport time of about 8 hours, ticket price about $130.
Pretty good, right? Sure.
But let it be said, the major airline offers several lip-smacking alternatives to this itinerary. One of which goes like this: Fly from Baltimore to Albany. Three hours in the exotic Albany airport. Fly from there to Atlanta. Three more hours in the charming Atlanta airport. Then take another flight -- as it turns out, the same one as in the one-stop option mentioned earlier -- to San Jose. Total airport-to-airport time of over 18 (eighteen, dix-huit, athara, 18) hours. Ticket price, $572 (five hundred and seventy-two, cinq cent soixante-douze, paanch sau bahattar, 572 it is indeed).
That is, this option gets me out of Baltimore, and over the next 12 hours flies me somewhat pointlessly up and down the east coast. Including over Baltimore. Then it puts me on the same flight to San Jose.
For this ride of a lifetime, I pay over four times the money. (And spend over twice the time).
Why would an airline offer a potential customer such an option? Which potential customer would willingly sign up for such an option? May I have some of whatever she smokes?