I’ve lost count of the amount of times that I’ve been booking a business trip with colleagues, or a colleague was booking one for themselves and they complained about how high the ticket price was. Every time, I ask – “Are you including a Saturday night stay?” – which is always met with a perplexed look. I proceed to tell them that having a Saturday night stay in your book will almost always change the ticket price, usually making it lower, much to their shock. It’s known as the Saturday night rule.
What is it?
The Saturday Night Rule is a way that Airlines use to determine whether you are travelling for Business, or leisure. If it’s for Business, they will often charge more. Why? Because they can. They know Business travellers have less flexibility in their travel arrangements and will often pay more to stay with a particular Airline alliance for their Frequent Flier benefits, or because in some cases their company policy dictates which Airline they must fly because they have a direct relationship with them.
A real example of the Saturday night rule
I want to go to New York for a week. A popular destination for both business & leisure, in this example, offered by Virgin Atlantic.
Image 1 shows departure from London on Saturday and returning the following Friday. It includes an overnight stay on the Saturday (the first night of the trip).
Image 2 shows departure from London on Sunday and returning the following Friday. It does not include an overnight stay on the preceding Saturday.
Notice the huge difference in price between the two options. Having a Saturday night stay only costs £444.22 where as without it costs a whopping £1089 more, £1533.22 in total. Crazy!
Lot’s of factors affect airfares, too many to even begin to discuss. But my default rule for researching trips is always to include a Saturday night somewhere in the trip. It almost always has positive effect.
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