Airline ticket prices seemingly change every day, week, or hour, without notice, but there’s actually a real science behind this. Some people spend their whole lives trying to figure out how much to charge each passenger when they fly, because there are many factors that go into ticket pricing. In order to understand this science better, the most competitive transatlantic flight in the world, American Flight 33 from JFK to LAX, demonstrates the universal airline pricing strategy on a much smaller level.

In a three month time span of ticket pricing for economy seats on Flight 33, fares range from $129 to $472 per seat. Each price has a purpose, so the lowest priced tickets at $129 are the most competitive simply because of the low cost. In three months, this ticket price only appeared three times, all on Tuesdays, which is actually one of the cheapest days to fly. Business travelers typically depart on a Monday and return on a Thursday or Friday, so airlines raise their prices knowing they can afford the fare. Airlines also raise base fares during busy seasons, like the summer. In all, the prices reflect what people will pay, and people will pay what flights are priced.