I have to go to Minneapolis next week for a meeting or two. It’s a one day trip out of necessity as I have things going both before and after that require my being close to the office. It’s about a 2 ½ – 3 hour direct flight to get to Minneapolis from a New York area airport. Kind of like going to Chicago and it’s normally pretty easy and reasonably priced to get to Chicago.
Not so much for Minneapolis. Direct flight – (and there are a few but not many choices) – $ 1,470.00. No I did not use Priceline as I need to be there at a particular time and cannot deal with the uncertainty that is Priceline. But going through Detroit to get to Minneapolis and coming back to New York City through Cincinnati the fare was $ 163.00. Not $ 1,163.00. $ 163.00 ROUND TRIP! I am thinking it is unlikely the Detroit and Northern Kentucky (where the Cincinnati Airport is located) Airport authority is that strong a lobby to build traffic for wayward travelers, (however it would be terrific idea if they had!). But by flying more total miles and taking 4 planes instead of 2, I saved more than $ 1,300.00
How can this make any sense? It doesn’t for me so it must make sense for the Delta/Northwest right? Both Detroit (Northwest) and Delta (Cincinnati) have hubs in these cities and have many flights going every which way from those hubs. So I imagine that there are unsold seats on planes leaving from those hubs and somehow it makes good business sense (to the airline) to fleece the customer who wants to go direct from New York to Minneapolis. What they end up with is a customer who is aggravated and I have not even gone to the airport yet. Yes I will be fine and people who live further from major cities like New York have to deal with this all the time.
I have done quite a bit of traveling this year and plan to continue that trend. I have not had big time complaints with the airlines this year. Most flights I have taken have been reasonably on time and the service (less and less) was pretty much what I expected. Yet out of all the things I have done this by far bothers me the most.
Customer loyalty? Why would I be loyal to an airline that runs me through the wringer? Why would you? It’s not a service proposition – domestic air travel here in the United States is pretty uniformly dreadful. So price continues to rule the day. Would I have paid more to go direct? Yes but nowhere near $ 1,300!
I’m willing to bet that almost all people do not run their business this way. How long would our companies last if we did? What say you?