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Airport horror stories

2007-11-14

By Robert Niles: Hi, I'm back from a long weekend visiting in-laws in Cincinnati and will be catching up with some posts later today. (I've got a list of 15 Blog Flume entry ideas that I am working through, too!)

But I wanted to take a moment to ask TPI readers in the Cincinnati area why on Earth they put up with what's happening at the Greater Cincinnati-Northern Kentucky Airport.

We visited my wife's sister, who lives in Hebron, Ky., one exit past the airport on I-275. But we didn't fly through CVG. Nope, we flew from LAX to... Indianapolis.

Why would we do that? Because by flying to Indy, we saved more than $1,000 on tickets for the four of us. I priced round-trip airfare from LA to Cincy, as well as Indy, Dayton, Louisville, Lexington and Columbus -- and by flying to any one of those other destinations, we would have saved at least $250 a ticket versus flying into Cincinnati.

Why? Delta Airlines has a virtual monopoly at the Cincinnati airport, with no competition from Southwest or any other low-price carrier that keeps airfares honest at dozens of other major airports around the country. Here's how bad it is: Some of the flights to those other cities I priced were on Delta and connected through Cincinnati. That's right: I would have saved $1,000-plus by not getting off in Cincy and instead flying on to another city. (We flew on Delta and connected through Atlanta.)

I can't understand why stockholders at Proctor and Gamble or Macy's put up with this: The inflated airfares at the Cincinnati airport must be costing those Cincinnati-based companies millions of dollars a year in unnecessary operting costs. (Is someone getting a kickback from Delta?)

Anyway, I'd love to hear from area readers about their thoughts on this, as well as similar airport pricing anomalies that you have discovered.

Readers' Opinions

From Bruce Lane on November 14, 2007 at 8:04 PM
Can't comment on Cincy, not having flown through there, BUT...

My lovely lady and I discovered an anomaly of our own. Short-hop flight, Portland, OR (PDX) to North Bend/Coos Bay, OR (OTH). We use this route to visit a small wildlife park on the Oregon coast. Takes barely an hour via a small prop-hopper (they don't need a jet on that route, and I'm not sure the runway at OTH is long enough to accommodate one in any case).

Flying this route from PDX, round-trip, is about $200 per person. Flying that same route but departing out of SeaTac (SEA) instead pretty much DOUBLES the fare to a little over $400. Essence Above, we could fly across the continent for that! If I had my pilot's license, it wouldn't even cost $200 for both of us round-trip via a single-engine Cessna!

In fact, the last time we did the trip, it was actually cheaper for us to drive 140 miles to the Portland airport to catch the flight.

AND, adding insult to injury, there is no direct flight from SEA. They simply stick you on a prop-hopper down to PDX, and have you connect to the flight going to OTH.

Go figure. And don't even get me started on the near-military security measures. Flying used to be fun -- about 15 years ago!

Happy travels.

From Derek Potter on November 14, 2007 at 8:50 PM
Don't you know it's all about kickbacks. I would assume that a company like P&G either gets a nice discount or a kickback of some kind. Everyone I know flies into Port Columbus. It's only a matter of time before Skybus and some of the other smaller operations out there expand their routes out from Columbus and put Delta out.
From Mark Hollamon on November 15, 2007 at 5:35 AM
My wife and I lived in Middletown Ohio (Middletucky as it is called by the locals) and travelled from both Cincy and Dayton. Not only is Dayton much cheaper, you can park your car literally less than 50 yards from the terminal and you can walk right to your gate with NO TRAIN!!!
From Danny Melillo on November 15, 2007 at 5:46 AM
On my trip to Orlando, we went to Cincinnatti first so we saved $300. Our flight there was delayed, so we had to run from opposite ends of the airport, I cut my knee open but did not stop, and when we get there with 5 minutes left to spare, we find out our flight is delayed 1 hour. And we hear an announcement for another flight and they say " I am sorry, but we have temporarily lost yoyr plane, sorry for the inconvenience". What type of crap is this?
From Sybil Hayes on November 15, 2007 at 10:06 AM
CVG has been like this for way too long. Living just north beyond Kings Island, I nearly always fly out of Dayton...sometimes Indianapolis or Columbus...the fares there are half of Cincys. Several times I have sat with people who work in Cincy at Procter and Gamble and other such companies. They don't fly out of CVG either. The last gentleman from P & G, said they have corporate planes that they usually take, but it was just his luck that they had all been taken when he needed his flight. My brother lives in Cincy and often drives to Dayton only to stop over in Cincy...just doesn't make sense. They have announced that Southwest is coming to Dayton, so I may not have to go to Columbus anymore.
From Adrienne McDonald on November 15, 2007 at 11:05 AM
When I was on a roadtrip, I flew into Louisville, KY for only $125 roundtrip, including tax/extra charges. Now that you've posted about Cinci, I'd rather fly into another nearby airport & drive to King's Island or wherever I was going. It's definitly worth it to save some money, unless you're short on time or don't like to drive a lot.
Thanx for the info, it does help.
From Tony Stevens on November 17, 2007 at 6:07 AM
The Cinci airport prices are a joke. When my brother got married it was cheaper for one of my cousins, who lived in northern KY, to drive to Louisville, fly from there and connect in Cinci then take the direct flight out of there to Tampa. The flight from Louisville to Cinci only took 15 minutes but she ended up driving about 4 hours to save $$$$. When it comes to the security everyone should be issued a hospital gown when you arrive at the airport and that is all you can wear on the plane. Maybe then we wouldn't have to arrive 2 plus hours before a flight.

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