This post is less about the American Airlines Philadelphia PHL – Los Angeles LAX $275 roundtrip airfare and more about why you should search one fares when checking airfare for flights within the USA.
American Airlines website did not reveal a PHL-LAX $275 roundtrip fare to me in my searches. American Airlines lowest fare shown for PHL-LAX roundtrip was $344.75 even when I entered the exact dates when a $275 fare was available.
Shaving $70 off this airfare came about through Google Flights one-way fare searches. This article shares my experience using Google Flights and American Airlines to search airfare and how Google Flights showed me an airfare $70 less than American Airlines lowest fare returned for Philadelphia to Los Angeles round trip.
How a $344 PHL-LAX roundtrip ticket was reduced to $275
The $250 roundtrip airfare on American Airlines/US Airways was a good fare last night between Los Angeles LAX or San Francisco SFO and Philadelphia PHL. Today, the fare increased from $125 one way 12 hours ago to $137 for LAX/SFO -PHL and $143 Philadelphia to California for one-way tickets or $280 round trip once you figure how to book the low fare.
Los Angeles LAX – Philadelphia PHL $280 round trip on American Airlines/US Airways.
So, why is $344.75 the lowest roundtrip fare American Airlines shows me on its website for LAX-PHL?
When I check Google flights for SFO-PHL roundtrip, the search results show fares in the mid-$300s.
When I search one-way flights for LAX-PHL and PHL-LAX, the lowest one-way price for each direction is $138 to PHL and $143 to LAX and all flights are operated by American Airlines and US Airways.
American Airlines LAX-PHL $280 roundtrip, but only if you overnight in Las Vegas. A night in Vegas might even be a benefit feature of this fare.
At time of posting, there were still six dates with $138 fare LAX-PHL on Tuesdays and Wednesdays to May 12. Other days at $176 widely available. Five dates were available for return flights from Philadelphia to Los Angeles at $143 up to May 5. $172 to $178 widely available.
Google Flights quickly showed me I could buy two one-way tickets for LAX or SFO and Philadelphia at $281 roundtrip, but I did not see any roundtrip fare close to that when I searched Google Flights or American Airlines for PHL-LAX.
PHL-LAX Roundtrip $344.75 April 28-May 6, 2015
Why you should search one way for fares within the USA
For flights within the USA, searching one-way and piecing together two low one-way fares is often easier for finding the lowest price than searching roundtrip. Of course, this strategy only really works if you do not need to travel on specific dates.
American Airlines shows me $344.75 is the lowest roundtrip airfare PHL-LAX.
Google Flights rate calendar agreed when I checked roundtrip airfare PHL-LAX. Yet, one way fares on Google Flights calendar showed dates with $138 and $143 airfare in each direction. And these flights are American and US Airways flights. Why were two one-ways not pricing into a roundtrip at the same fare?
PHL-LAX one-way = $143 on April 28
Flight itinerary has an 8-hour overnight in Las Vegas with 11:00pm arrival and 7:am departure. Get a cheap hotel or party and gamble all night.
LAX-PHL one-way = $137,40 on May 6
These fares are one-way fares and together create a roundtrip ticket Philadelphia to Los Angeles for $280.40. Yet, when I plugged in the dates April 28 and May 6 into American Airlines search, the lowest fare returned was $344.75.
Once I found low one-way fare dates on Google Flights and plugged those dates into Google Flights for roundtrip PHL-LAX, a $275 airfare appeared on Google Flights with a link to purchase the fare on American Airlines website.
Google Flights did not show a $275 roundtrip airfare in a general search of the fare calendar when checking fare for PHL-LAX roundtrip.
American Airlines did not show the $275 airfare for PHL-LAX roundtrip, even when the exact dates April 28 and May 6 were entered on the AA site.
Google Flights link to American Airlines saved $70 on this ticket which can be better spent for a hotel room in Las Vegas or blow the savings on a budget night in the desert town before reaching Los Angeles.
Searching one-way fares in the USA on Google Flights was the key to finding a lower fare roundtrip ticket.