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.