Some points are being missed here. Yield management/optimisation systems are extremely sophisticated and pricing for a journey is determined according to a number of continually changing parameters, above and beyond the obvious ‘supply and demand’. Very simplistically, and just looking at some of the parameters, the following factors apply. to the legacy/network carriers. LCCs operate somewhat differently.
The point of enquiry can be identified. This means that agent ‘A’ will see availability in a sub-class corresponding to the lowest fare, whereas agent ‘B’ won’t. Agents A and B might be in the same physical location. Therefore, making the same enquiry at the same time for the same itinerary can result in different fares.
If only one seat is available in a sub-class and the request is for >1, both seats will be sold in the higher sub-class, giving a higher fare per passenger than when the request is for one.
Fares for a journey AAA to BBB can be more than fares from AAA to BBB and on to CCC. Airlines will do this to promote a particular route.
The same agent making the same enquiry can get a different result just a few seconds apart due to the bid/offer process which is used to optimise yields.
Fares are calculated in NUCs (1NUC=1USD) and converted for local sale at fixed exchange rates. This can result in different selling fares where the origin/destination are reversed.
I think it was Willy Walsh who said ‘passengers are not meant to understand pricing, and if they do, we’ve got it wrong.’