Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Air Travel News: America's Rip-off Airports


I just read an article entitled "America's Rip-off Airports." Its writers Jon Bruner and Zack O'Malley warn savvy travelers of added expense incurred when flying through their list of over-charging airports.

One would expect Bangor, Maine's airport to be on that list. Don't you have to be going only there to get to there? Not exactly a hub... The data is taken from the Department of Transportation's Origin and Destination Survey. It measures the cost of the average fare per route mile for itineraries that begin at the airport listed.

Sure, try to compare the robust destination like Florida's Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport at only .16 per mile to poor little Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport's average fare of 48 cents per mile. Hardly a fair (fare?) comparison!

Now one would expect Chicago (home of Big City Bosses and the St. Valentine's Day Massacure) O'Hare to be one of the "Rip-Off" airports but who would have suspected my favorite -- and friendly -- Minneapolis St Paul International Airport (MSP) would yield the same .34 rating? Lansing, Michigan's Capitol City Airport came in at .35 -- but who even knew they HAD an airport in Lansing? I don't even remember an airport when I lived there in the early 60s, much less a "swindling" airport.

And Appleton, Wisconsin -- a Rip-off? Isn't that near the infamous "Oshkosh Fly-In" where private pilots from all over the world choose to fly into ... no matter what the cost per mile? Or price per barrel of oil? Remember that ol' countrywestern song, "I threw up in Saginaw, Michigan?" I always thought it was from too much drinking, but perhaps it was because the pilot was trying to take the plane down too fast -- to avoid the hefty .36 per mile rating. Get out the air sick bags, please.

So what is the purpose of this "Airport Black List?" If you need to get to La Crosse, Wisconsin, what do the writers' propose? That you WALK? I just recently enjoyed flying through Memphis (and seeing all the FedEx planes) and didn't feel a bit "ripped-off."

I am sure that the poor slob who needs to get to Johnson City, Tennesee is quite happy that there is an airport there at all. He is probably even ecstatic to get fleeced the additional .19 per mile to get to JC -- wherever the heck it is.

Well at least my Arizona home town airport, Flagstaff Pulliam Airport (FLG) wasn't rated R. But, oh no! Duluth, my beloved Duluth, Minnesota situated overlooking the big lake they call Gichee Gumme* has been black-balled! Why you? Could it really be... that you are a Rip-Off airport? Say it isn't so!

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Vagabonding Lulu is a travel writer based in Northern Arizona. The Flagstaff travel writer is a frequent flier but will be DRIVING to Santa Fe and Taos at the end of the week. She loves to share travel deals and clever travel tips with her readers.

*Lake Superior



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