Originally Posted by Find Finn
That is what they say, but I can't imagine it's wrong.
There are a ton of variables in there. Pricing on various routes and all of that has a ton of variation which is dictated by planning and competition...and then there are huge costs in infrastructure and labor.
But the top marginal cost is fuel by far. If you bring 50lbs of extra shit, they have to pay to carry it. Fuel costs won't explain why sometimes its cheaper to fly a route that stops in atlanta and then goes somewhere else than it is to just fly straight to atlanta, but cycles in fuel prices still heavily drive airline ticket prices year over year.
One of the reasons southwest did so well through the financial crisis times is that they were very well hedged and were able to keep buying fuel at low rates long after everyone else had to pay high costs.