Wednesday, March 9, 2011

You can't get there from here

About six weeks ago a meeting was set up in Atlanta for a leadership group of the AAR to which I belong.  It's a 24-hour sort of affair -- fly in, meet, meet over dinner, sleep, meet, meet over lunch, meet, fly home.

As a result I had to book round-trip plane tickets from Little Rock to Atlanta and back.  I was shocked to discover that I had no non-stop options under $600.  I'm used to flying into Atlanta on Delta non-stop for a reasonable few hundred bucks.  But that was outside the realm of possibility for me (such an expensive flight is out of policy for the organization paying for the ticket).

So I had to get flights that go through Dallas.  Meaning that tomorrow morning I have to get up at 5 am to make a 6:45 am flight to get to Atlanta at noon.  And coming back I have to leave the meeting early to get to a 3:30 pm flight for my first leg back.

I don't know what to think about this not being as easy as it ought to be.  Whenever anything like this happens, my immediate worry is that it will never go back to being easy.  Are the days of non-stops to Atlanta (where I have to go a lot) over forever?

On the way back from Dallas last weekend, I had a chat with a Methodist minister turned church development consultant.  Among other things, we talked about air service in Little Rock, and he confirmed what I'd heard about the number of flights to Dallas daily being reduced.  But, he emphasized, in return for losing one flight per day, we get two of the flights changing from CR-Js to MD-80s, resulting in about 20% more seats total per day.

Delta taketh away, and American giveth.  I have to go to Dallas a lot, too.  Probably that's not the end of the changes, but in any cases they're ones I can live with.

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