In the era before online searches and instant information, airline fares defied comprehension. Travelers, through their travel agent, would learn universally that they, like everyone else aboard a given airplane, had overpaid.
Gone are those days!
Now if I want to fly to Phoenix, I can learn instantly that US Airways is the only carrier with non-stop service from Boston. Instantly too can I learn what they charge for the route.
Flight 654 to Phoenix + Flight 220 to Boston: $399 plus taxes and fees
And instantly once more I can learn what one of those segments costs if I want to fly US Airways in only one direction:
Flight 654 to Phoenix. $872 plus taxes and feex.
A one-way flight is more than double the price of the round trip on the same dates.
It’s a good thing we have computers.