Time and $$ or Why I don’t fly out of Albany

My third-grader came home from school a few weeks back with a math project assignment.  My His task was to consider and solve a “real world” math problem.  We decided to use his math skills to create a budget for our summer trip to Florida, figuring out travel expenses, which parks to visit and where to stay.  We sat down at the iMac and got busy.

The first component of our trip was airfare.  I mentally estimated $300 a ticket, a generous number I thought considering the trip would be in August. I mean, who really wants to go to Florida in August?  Using Travelocity, I plugged in our dates and destination (trying both Orlando and Tampa) and was shocked by the result – $401 per ticket and 7+ hours of travel with 2 stops between Albany and either destination.  Are you kidding me?

I know that Southwest, an airline which wouldn’t show  up in a Travelocity or Expedia search, has a nonstop flight between Albany, but their schedule isn’t yet open for our late summer dates.  I decided to change our departure airport and see some other options.  I was pleasantly surprised to see that we could fly nonstop from Bradley Airport (84 miles from Albany) for a total of $340. That’s for both of us.

I quickly checked a couple of things – how much will parking be?  Approximately $7 or $8 per day.  What is the baggage policy of the airline (Jetblue) offering this stellar fare of $170 r/t? One bag free.  I mentally did some math…

Driving to Hartford should take about 2 hours, which means that ultimately it will be faster to drive to Connecticut, park my car and board a nonstop (2:50 minutes) flight than it would be to fly from Albany.  Parking will cost about $75, gas and tolls perhaps another $35 or $40 for a total of approximately $460, or $340 less than flying from the lovely little airport less than 20 minutes from my house.

If you’ve been around here for any length of time, you know that I love to travel.  In the past two years, I’ve flown only once from Albany International Airport, choosing Logan (Boston), JFK, Newark and now, Bradley, instead.  If the difference in price is $40 or $50, I wouldn’t  mind spending a little more for the convenience of local, but when you’re talking about $100s, well, I just can’t do it.  Unfortunately, choosing local when it comes to air travel, isn’t nearly as palatable as choosing local for produce is.

$800+ to travel from Albany to Florida in August is a price I’m just not willing to swallow.

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4 Comments

Filed under Albany, Boys, Local, Rants, road trips, Summer, travel, vacation

4 responses to “Time and $$ or Why I don’t fly out of Albany

  1. Kevin

    You seem to be going out of your way to come up with such a difficult and expensive itinerary? Southwest Albany to Orlando, non-stop with free bags is $308 person as far out as their schedule goes at the moment.

    • Yes, Kevin, I believe that is probably correct. However, their schedule is not open for August and I wanted to get my flights in place so I can book accommodations and other trip details. Still, $600+ is substantially more than $340, no?

      • Sean

        I’m inclined to agree with Kevin on this one. Like you said, flying to FL in August is probably not the most popular ticket. That being said, there’s a great chance you’ll be able to wait until the Southwest schedule reaches that far out and then book your tickets. You’ll be flying direct and save a ton of time / hassle. It seems the deciding factor at the moment is your determination that you have to book NOW, as opposed to taking your third-grader’s research a step further, combining it with Kevin’s and waiting a bit.

      • Thanks for your comment. I know understand Kevin’s point better and agree that Southwest may have been able to do the job, for a total of $600, if I were willing to wait it out a bit. That is, however, still $260 more, which seems excessive. At that price, I would still choose to drive to CT for a summer flight since I have the time off.

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