Pondering Semantics and Travel…

There were some travel related headlines that seemed to be right in TC’s wheel house. His response? This ponderable which truly transcended the topic.
Read on! – the editor

Talk about click-bait. I have trained myself not to react / respond immediately like I used to. It may be a sign of my aging: to breathe first, ask questions second, then respond.

Case in point two news stories that were posted that in the end, depending on who you are, are pretty much non-stories (as in “nothing to see here, move along).

The first surrounded my old hometown of Atlantic City, and its tiny and underused International Airport (AKA ACY).

Spirit Airlines has been around for over 30 years. That, may be news to some, but I digress… Spirit has been the biggest airline serving this underused ACY International Airport. After all, its origin was shuttling customers from many cities to Atlantic City and it’s 12 casinos.

While these customers were gaming, the airline ran local NJ residents to various Florida cities and Myrtle Beach, SC. They never left ACY, even when more subsidized carriers like United, US Air, Northwest, AirTran, and Delta came and left. Now American “flies” to ACY via a “bus bridge” connecting Atlantic City to their Philadelphia hub. Other than these two and a few charter flights, this is it. Yet Spirit could support 8 to 10 flights daily on Airbus aircraft seating 150 to 200 passengers. Average airfares were lower than rival airports in Philadelphia and Newark.

This click bait article noted that Spirit was shutting down a crew base in Atlantic City.

A crew base does not eliminate service to that city! It just means that the flight crews will not start and end their days in ACY. While I feel for these 150 employees who will be transferred to another crew base, this is not new. Essentially flights to ACY on Spirit come and go from other crew base cities. After a botched JetBlue/Spirit merger, both carriers are restructuring operations.

These airplanes are not cheap. A plane at a gate until morning in ACY is not productive. A plane operating a red-eye flight brings in revenue. Red-eye flights make sense out of Ft Lauderdale and Orlando. ACY? Not so…

If Spirit was really losing money in ACY, they would be gone by now. Also we have other ultra-low cost carriers who could take its place, like Frontier, Avelo, Allegiant, and Breeze. Any of these could come in and fill the gap, although with less frequency, which the customer base at ACY has been spoiled with. Frontier and Spirit have been chipping away at the American Airlines stronghold at their Philly (PHL) hub, along with untapped and even more underused airports (and cheaper) like Trenton NJ and Wilmington,DE.

So, direct non-stop flights from Florida and Myrtle Beach to Atlantic City are NOT going away.

Meanwhile, on the Left Coast…

On the other coast, my editor alerted me to another “crisis”. This time in the Bay Area. The unthinkable thought — action of including San Fransisco in the name of the Oakland International Airport.

As far as I’m concerned, I’ve always treated the Bay Area’s three airports, SFO, OAK and SJC (San Jose) as the same city, just like I did with New York City’s three airports– JFK, LGA, and EWR (Newark). The 3 letter code, OAK is not changing, so I do not believe it will confuse people that much, unlike some American tourists who may book a trip to the UK and realize that they are flying into London Gatwick airport versus London Heathrow, the preferred and closer airport. London City or Lufton airports are not even an option for international flights from the USA, so that would really confuse them.

As an outsider looking in, it is not a big deal. But to locals, and especially SFO –who has been trying for years to boost domestic low cost carriers to flights out of its huge international airport (dominated by United Airlines and to some extent Alaska Airlines), may confuse non-informed travelers to book the wrong and more distant airport.

However, look to Orlando, where a mere 35 miles from Orlando International Airport stands Orlando Sanford International Airport, a secondary airport that is a huge operation for Allegiant Airlines. Clearwater International Airport does the same to Tampa and Punta Gorda Airport to Fort Myers. Right?

I feel for the Bay Area. They had a lot thrown at them recently. Pandemic did not help them. My sense is… a few years down the road, things will get better, and this will be a non-issue. Looking back, we will all get a few laughs (remember when…?).

That’s a Wrap…

Nuff said! Okay but back to what this piece is really about… When you see a headline that triggers your curiosity (and your click finger), perhaps you should just: Pause. Breathe. Ask questions. And then, react / respond.

Now let’s take that one step further. Maybe travel decisions need to be made with the same aforementioned approach:

Pause. Breathe. Ask questions. And then, react / respond…

No matter what, my editor says to… #StayCurious!

Thanks for reading and hanging out with me!–TC


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