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UNITED US-Italy flights cost to Americans up to 3 times more what they cost to Italians

I am a dedicated United frequent flyer and love the way they have improved food and service, so I have no intention of picking on United, BUT . . .

A couple of days ago, I was checking out flights to Italy for the end of May, when I saw a very very good price.  I was about to book the trip when I noticed that I erroneously placed Rome as the starting point of the round-trip ticket.  I then reversed to Washington as the starting point, and the cost of the trip nearly tripled !!  I saved the image of my computer screen.   


Here is the screenshot of the flight prices, booked from  the US 

To make things easier, here are neatly typed down for you, the prices of a flight from Washington DC (IAD, Dulles) to Rome (FCO, Fiumicino) as shown on a website accessed in the US: 


Tuesday, 24th of May 2016,  from Washington Dulles to Rome Fiumicino: 

Basic: 916 USD 

Economy: 1,421 USD

Business: 3.762 USD


Taken aback from the prices, I decided to try something: check the same flight, but as if booking it from Italy. Check it out…


… and here is the screenshot of the same flight… if booked from Italy 


No… you read it right, I guarantee you: 


Tuesday, 24th of May 2016,  from Washington Dulles to Rome Fiumicino: 

Basic: 304 USD

Economy: 482 USD

Business: 1,364 USD


So the SAME flight, if purchased from the US,  costs 3.01 times more in Economy, 2.94 times more in Economy Flexible  and 2.7 times more in Business. Actually, buying Business class in Italy would cost you less then getting Economy class purchased from the US. 

So, what is the story here? How come the prices are so different? I would understand there may be some differences due to different markets but 3 times as much seems an unacceptably large and discriminatory difference. I tried to go around the United trick and try to reserve a One Way ticket with the intention of buying the return ticket from Italy.  Here is what I got:


FireShot Capture 18 - Flight Search Results I United Airline_ - https___www.united.com_ual_en_us_f.png


One WAY cost $2773 dollars!!!   So that would make the price of the round trip $2773+$306 = $3079.

Does United discriminate against Americans?  Well ‘de facto’ any US resident does not have a way around this 3 times price increase for ‘US’.

Is this business policy ? I would understand some difference for different markets but 3 times seems a bit large.


I run this website but during the daytime I am a realtor in the DC / Maryland area. We have to do a lot of training aimed to prevent discrimination based on your race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status, or disability. Is this discrimitation vs National Origin?  Well I do not think that is the case but probably United didn’t think this through; I would like United to justify the disparity in cost based on their business model.



I just tested what would happen from NYC with American airlines – This time trying to book a round trip one way and then the other way. American must be more American than United since they only double (more or less) the price for US.  


FireShot Capture 23 - Choose flights – Fli_ - https___www.aa_.com_reservation_revenueSearchProcess.do_.png

FireShot Capture 22 - Choose flights – Fli_ - https___www.aa_.com_reservation_revenueSearchProcess.do_.png




*  You are free to use the article and the images as long as a direct / follow link to this article is provided.


By Paolo Nascimbeni


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