Simple Research Study – Flights to Boston

Total Flight Duration in Air in Hours vs Price

Introduction

Background

Recently, I graduated from Boston University with my masters. As I was preparing for the trip, we needed to purchase some airline tickets to Boston. Later, this got me thinking about doing a micro-study about flights from Salt Lake City to Boston. For this study, I am pulling the top 20 cheapest flights to Boston per day, for the entire month of June. With this data, I am able to explore layovers, arrivals, departures, mileage, and cost of the air fares.

Hypothesis

Multiple layovers to the destination does not decrease the overall cost of the flight from Salt Lake City (UT) to Boston (MA).

Methodology

Scrape data provided by ItaSoftware.com, a company owned by Google, which tracks flights in real time between destinations. This service is used by the following companies: Air Canada, AFKL, Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, China Southern, China Eastern, Delta Air Lines, Hawaiian Airlines, Iberia, S7, Turkish Airlines, United Airlines, Virgin Atlantic Airways, Accovia, Aimia, Club Premier, Northrop Grumman, H.I.S., Kayak, NuTravel, Orbitz, Deem, Red Tag, GetThere, StudentUniverse, Travel Impressions, Travelzoo.

Data Set

Date Pulled: 6/1/2017 8:46 pm

Total Flights Pulled Per Day: 20

Days Pulled: 6/1/2017-6/30/2017

Raw data

Results

Total Flight Duration vs Airfare

The first metrics I compared across all carriers is the total flight duration in hours and the total price of the flights in USD. The correlation is quite strong, 0.52. The slope of the regression line is 38.15, which means that generically speaking, you are charged about $38.15 per hour from the time you depart till the time you land in Boston including layovers.

Total Flight Duration in Hours vs Price

The following graph below excludes layovers. The correlation is 0.48 and the slope is $58.93, or in other words, for every hour in the air, we pay $58.93. However, with regression, it is easy to go to far on the regression line. This graph predicts fairly well between 6 and 12 hour flights.

Total Flight Duration in Air in Hours vs Price

Total Layovers vs Airfare

Similar to flight duration are the number of layovers you have to take on your flight to Boston from Salt Lake City. The correlation is also strong, 0.56. The slope of the regression line is  $193.56, which means that you are, on average, paying $193.56 per layover flight.

Total Flight Price vs Total Layovers

Total Flight Miles vs Airfare

The total duration of the flight and the total miles are highly correlated, 0.73, minus the average speed of the airplane. However, what I am interested in is how much an average consumer pays per mile. The correlation between airfare and miles is 0.44, lower than expected. The average price paid per mile going to Boston is $0.14.

Total Flight Price vs Total Miles

Conclusion

In summary, multiple layovers to the destination does not decrease the overall cost of the flight from Salt Lake City (UT) to Boston (MA). Other findings from this study includes:

  • You are charged about $38.15 per hour from the time you depart till the time you land in Boston including layovers
  • For every hour in the air, we pay $58.93
  • You are, on average, paying $193.56 per layover flight
  • The average price paid per mile going to Boston is $0.14

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