Flights from Seattle to San Francisco average about $150 dollars. Now imagine if you flew that route for just $5.
That's what's happening in China as Chinese airlines dramatically slash their prices to stay afloat during the coronavirus outbreak.
Here are some of the shocking flight deals that have been going on in China, according to a Wednesday report in the South China Morning Post:
- A Spring Airlines flight from Shanghai to Chongqing, which is a distance of about 870 miles (roughly equivalent to Seattle to San Francisco), is going for $4.10.
- A one-way flight from Shanghai to Harbin, which is a distance of 994 miles (a little more than the distance from Chicago to New Orleans), costs $9.80.
- A Shenzhen Airlines flight from Chongqing to Shenzhen, which is a distance of 621 miles (about the distance from Cincinnati to New York City), costs $14 and is usually about $276.
While coronavirus is beginning to spread more outside of China, the situation is beginning to stabilize within the virus' country of origin. The Chinese aviation authority said this week that it wants flights to gradually resume as the country begins to return to normalcy.
Still, dozens of airlines have canceled flights in and out of China over coronavirus concerns.
"Considering lower average costs of operating in mainland China, carriers could potentially offer deeper discounts while making slim profits or just breaking even," Luya You, an aviation analyst with Bank of Communication International, told SCMP. "As outbreak numbers stabilize or even decline, carriers will likely adjust their fares as well, so these low fares will not last if the situation quickly turns for the better.
"Many Chinese carriers do receive subsidies for operating key domestic routes, so this also skews the economics as well. If it is a key route, for example, the carrier may choose to continue operating regardless of fares or loads as the route constitutes a major link in the domestic network infrastructure."