No…I’m not talking about the dark circles under my eyes from my late night of Chiefs-watching and poker domination…I’m talking about the airplane flight options of the late-night variety…or lack thereof.
Yesterday afternoon, my wife and I tried to find a flight that would have left Kansas City late last night to arrive in Cleveland. Both of these cities are decent-sized cities, but for some reason, neither of them is really on the radar in the world of domestic travel. The latest flight out of Kansas City to Cleveland was on Continental and left at 7:30pm. Would have worked OK if Alli’s mom could have driven down from Iowa in time to make the flight, but that wasn’t going to work, so we tried to search for the earliest flight we could.
Midwest Airlines (the best commercial airline I know of) had a flight that left in the 5:00 hour, but connected through Milwaukee and had a plane switch. They still would not have arrived before noon. The flight we eventually settled on was a Southwest flight that left at 6:55am and made one stop (no plane change) in St. Louise. In Cleveland by 10:30 this morning. Still not making it in time to see Grandpa prior to his 11:00am surgery, unfortunately.
They say that competition is good for the airline industry. In most economic cases, it’s very good. But the options for flying are not nearly what they used to be. And sites like Orbitz, Travelocity, Hotwire, and Expedia really don’t give more options to the last minute traveler who is looking to get to a certain place and fast. Airlines used to offer emergency fares for things of this nature, but even those are gone. Some might attribute the struggles of the airline industry to 9/11, but I think that the problems are much deeper than that. Union control of workers and the greediness of executives have all contributed to the failure of the airline industry to serve the best interests of Joe Consumer.
I don’t have any suggestions for reform…I just think it’s unfortunate.