The unprofitable history of the airline industry raises questions about how effectively airlines price their product. In this study, we use option pricing theory to examine the value of the put option embedded in refundable airline tickets. Specifically, we examine whether the time to expiration of the embedded put option is properly priced. Compiling daily real-time ticket price data for Delta and Southwest over 3.5 months, we find little evidence to suggest that airlines price the value of time in the embedded put option. However, we do find evidence suggesting that options are priced higher on business-dominated routes than on vacation-dominated routes.
- Contingent claims
- Ticket pricing