Pretend that you and I are sitting together on a flight.  One of us paid $100 for our ticket, and one of us paid $1,000 for the ticket.  Which person do you want to be?  The person who paid $100, or $1,000?

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My wife recently purchased three airline tickets.  Two were for our daughter, and one for a friend.  They were tickets for an international flight.    She purchased good seats (direct flights from one capital city to another, on a major airline).  She even splurged for a daytime flight (something she never does for me).

She paid $28.67 per ticket, including fees and taxes.

I did some flight shopping this morning.  I shopped for the same flight, on the same airline, same time of day.  I tried two different websites.  I found tickets for $415 apiece, and $1444 apiece.  How did my wife purchase tickets for $28.67 apiece?!

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Now in the interest of full disclosure, I should tell you that Theresa used frequent flier miles to purchase tickets for $28.67 apiece.  She uses frequent flier miles the same way some people use coupons.  She saves them, and then uses them for free air travel.

File Mar 15, 8 56 58 AM

By using frequent flier miles, she is putting two passengers on an international flight for $28.67 apiece, next to some people who will pay $1444 apiece, or more, for exactly the same seats.

How is it possible that a flight can be full of people who pay different prices for the same seats?

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Now pretend that you and I are sitting together in a college classroom.  One of us paid $250,000 for our tuition for 4 years, and one of us paid $2500 for 4 years.

Which person do you want to be?  The person who paid $2500, or the person who paid $250,000?

My daughter sits in a college classroom with classmates who all pay different amounts for their seats.  Some pay full price, some pay half price, and some pay nothing at all.

How is it possible that a classroom can be full of people who pay different prices for the same seats?

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I don’t want to be the person who pays the most to sit on an airplane, and I don’t want to be the person who pays the most to sit in a college classroom.  When airlines and colleges offer variable pricing for different customers, it makes me question the value of the product that they are offering.

If a company gives away some of its product for free, why should I pay$1,000, $2,000, or $250,000 for that product?

Hal