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All things being equal — which they never are — San Francisco Airport and British Airways emerged from a Yapta benchmarking study as the most volatile airport and airline, respectively, in terms of wildly fluctuating airfares.

Yapta tracks airfare price drops for corporations and consumers. It studied corporate airfares between July 2013 and December 2013 and found that San Francisco, New York-JFK, and Denver airports showed the greatest proportion of airfare fluctuations as origin airports, and New York-LaGuardia, Houston, and Minneapolis were the most stable.

On the airline side of things, British Airways, Air France, Lufthansa, and American Airlines subjected business travelers to the most volatile airfares while Alaska and US Airways were found to have the lowest proportions of airfare volatility.

The Yapta report (embedded below) did not analyze why these airports or airlines produced airfare volatility — or didn’t — for business travelers.

The following two Yapta charts detail its airfare volatility findings:

Origin Airport Airfare Volatility


Source: Yapta

Airfare Volatility by Airline


Source: Yapta

Among other findings in the study:

  • The busiest days for airfare price drops were Tuesdays (21%) and Wednesdays (19%).
  • Most airfare price drops take place outside of business hours (54%).
  • Most (68%) of Yapta’s FareIQ price-drop alerts (sent when it is considered worthwhile to reticket) were for a different class of service within the cabin originally ticketed. The remanding price-drop alerts  (32%) were for the exact same class of service in the originally ticketed cabin.

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Photo Credit: San Francisco Airport, in a Yapta study, had the most volatile business-travel airfares as an origin airport. Pictured is Boarding Area E at San Francisco Airport. San Francisco Airport