There are several reasons for this.
First, the practical.
I have charted the routes and done the math, and for virtually any trip I could take that would require 10 hours driving or less, flying is no longer automatically faster.
Checking in at the airport at least three hours before one's flight is scheduled to leave is now standard. To this we must add:
45-90 minutes (in my case) to get to the airport, depending on traffic and which airport.
30 minutes average needed to navigate long term parking and get into the terminal.
20-40 minutes the plane will possibly be delayed past it's posted departure before I can board.
30-120 minutes I can expect to spend sitting on the tarmac waiting for permission to take off.
30 minutes on the other end I can expect to wait to claim any checked luggage. And goodness knows how long I may have to take if the airline has lost my luggage (which they have managed to do 3 of the last 5 times I flew).
I haven't factored in the duration of the flight and I'm already at five and a half to eight and a half hours.
Now the money:
$100-$450 for a domestic (nonstop) round trip ticket most places in the US within 10 hours driving distance of my home.
$40-$150 plus for travel once I arrive - rental car, cabs, subway (assuming I have places to be other than the hotel). This fee varies greatly, of course, depending on rental agency, type of car, number of cabs etc.
$25-$50 for checked luggage now on most domestic carriers.
$20-$40 for food and beverages on the plane and in the terminal if you don't pack your own. Even if you pack your own snacks, you're out of luck on drinks once you pass through security and gone are the days when airlines fed you complimentary meals on flights. And good luck not paying $3 for a 12 oz soda that would cost you 45 cents in any grocery store or, at most, $1.25 at a typical non airport fast food joint.
Total: $150-$540 ish
When I plan the same trip by car, I come up with $50-$135 for gas, depending on how far I'm driving, the type of car and the gas mileage it gets and the price of gas in various localities. Add $20 to eat at a fast food spot along the way (or simply stock up the car with cheaper groceries).
So much for the practical reasons.
Now some personal ones:
Like most people, I am fed to the teeth with the new security restrictions, courtesy of every whacko on the planet who wants to blow me up along with his shoes, underwear, whatever. I'm not blaming the TSA for this - I'm blaming the whackos. It doesn't matter. The upshot is that I have to spend a tremendous amount of time trying to find little bitty bottles of every toiletry article I own, I have to submit to pat downs so intimate I should be married to the TSA agent, and I have to worry about my electronic items being either stolen by other passengers while on the security belt (I kid you not) or messed up through radiation/manhandling etc..
None of the security stuff is the fault of the airline. I know that. That's not why I'm boycotting them, it's why I hate flying.
Here's why I'm boycotting them.
They don't like me.
They don't like you either.
They don't like any of us.
They see us as cattle to be prodded through their little profit making machine and have lost sight of us as consumers.
Many of the planes are old and filthy. The staff have been downsized to the point that they are all crabby and tired from working too many shifts. (And dealing with too many disgruntled, irate passengers).
The seats get smaller and smaller and smaller and smaller.
They offer a seemingly good fare, only to carve back their profit margin by nickel and diming us to death over meals, bag fees and the like.
They pretend the flight is "on time" well past the point that we all know the fog has allthe flights grounded until further notice.
And, willy nilly, they just cancel flights all over the place with no concern over what that will do to our plans.
I'm tired of giving money to an industry that values my customer satisfaction so little.
They think they don't need me. That there will be plenty of other suckers (ahem, customers) to take my place.
They could be right.
But not if you join me.
Copyright © 2010 by Anne Morse Hambrock, all rights reserved