Sunday, December 16, 2012

How much? To where?

Give me a vector, Victor.

Airlines confuse me. 

Not that I don’t understand how airplanes work. Curved upper surface of the wing creates a low pressure area as the air is accelerated over the wing causing lift which overcomes the downward force of gravity. 
I get that.

I don’t understand the airline pricing structure. At all.

Take, for instance, our most recent crew change. 

I usually fly out of Charlotte, NC. Airport code: CLT. This week, it was going to cost approximately $700 for a direct flight from CLT to Houston, TX. Now take into consideration that CLT is about 600 miles closer to Houston than New York City. So you could reason that a 600 mile difference would make the flight from CLT cheaper than one from New York.  However, it was also going to cost the rest of the crew approximately $700 to fly direct from the New York City area.
So much for that theory. 

If you fly with a connection through a hub airport, such as Atlanta, flights are usually cheaper. So my company booked me on a flight with a connection. I mentioned Atlanta because that happens to be Delta’s hub in the southeast. So, naturally, you would think that on a flight from CLT to IAH (Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston) on Delta airlines, you might pass through Atlanta. You would be wrong.  Did you know Delta also has a hub in Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota? You do now. For some reason, a flight from CLT to IAH is cheaper to fly north, almost to the Canadian border, and then south to Houston. How much cheaper you ask with piqued interest? $580 cheaper. You heard that right. A flight from CLT > Minnesota > IAH was only $120. Someone please explain that to me?  

The shortest distance between two points is a straight line. Or is it?

Perhaps it’s an anomaly. 
A one-time thing. 
Some crazy sale on flights through beautiful Minnesota. 
They all seem to be that way.

Well, there's your problem right there.

When it’s time to go home the prices are just as screwy. Flights from IAH to LGA (LaGuardia Airport) are about $250 on average. 
IAH to CLT?   $600!!!
Here is where the airlines lose me again. 
The flight from IAH to LGA goes THROUGH Charlotte! 

Here is when I’m going to save you intrepid travelers a few of your hard earned greenbacks.

If you ever have to fly with just carry-on luggage (if you are packing enough luggage to go on some sort of 9 week vacation, this won’t work) and your flight ends at a hub airport, book a flight to somewhere else. On my flights home I have booked my destinations to Chicago, St. Louis, Miami, New York, and Tampa to just name a few. All of which have a connection that goes through Charlotte. It is cheaper to book to somewhere else and just get off the plane when you land at the hub. Easy.

The flight routes don’t make much sense either. Obviously, the Minnesota detour seemed a bit odd. But we also did a crew change in Norfolk, VA that made just as much sense.

My flight went from Charlotte, north to Newark, NJ and then back to Norfolk, VA. The rest of my crew went from Newark, NJ, south to Charlotte, and then to Norfolk, VA. So we passed each other in the air, went to the airport where the others started their flight from, and then backtracked back to the airport that we had already flown past. It doesn’t take a Rhodes Scholar to figure out it would have been easier for me to fly from CLT to Norfolk, since there was a flight from CLT to Norfolk anyway. And the rest of the crew to fly from Newark to Norfolk, since that was where my connecting flight was coming from.

So not only do we have to worry about when, and where, we are crew changing. But we also have to have some sort of an advanced degree in order to figure out how, and how much, it is going to cost to fly home. 

 I have to stop now. It’s making my head hurt.

1 comment:

  1. I lost you somewhere over Chicago? Is that a hub or just a stop?

    Also, What's your clearance Clarence?