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Why does it cost 3 times the price to fly from Detroit-to-Montreal ($750) as it would from Detroit-to-San Francisco ($220) according to bestfares.com

 

Both are non-stop flights on Northwest Airlines; however, Montreal is only 500 miles from Detroit while San Fran is thousands-of-miles away.

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Airfares are not based on distance to a destination. Passenger loads determine that cost in many respects. Simply put, more people will fly from DTW to SFO than will fly DTW to YUL. Thus there's more revenue opportuntiy for the airline by flying more seats to the destination with greater demand.

 

Another factor is tha NW uses Detroit as a major hub. Each of the airlines try to totally dominate their home turf and keep the competition to a minimum. There's likely very few competitors flying from DTW to YUL other than regionals. So without competition the airline can charge more for the destination with lesser demand and try to make up for any loss on the more competitive routes.

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You hit the nail on the head, ArVaGuy, and it is only going to get worse. Even airline employees don't understand the software involved to price seats which may include the time of day, how many seats have already sold and other things plus what you have already mentioned.

 

With airlines contracting and consolidating (it isn't over yet)and the price of fuel going up and up the ticket prices have only one direction they can go adn that is also up.

 

I am no defender of the airlines. I avoid them every chance I get. But, they are the most competitive industry that I know. We have had cheap tickets for a long time, comparable to the cheap car gas we have had, but those days are over for the short term, at least.

 

Best regards,

KMEM

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As a very frequent flyer (leaving for Ecuador today, on AA at that) I look at it this way: we wanted cheap flights and this is the system that goes with cheap flights. Deregulation, implemented in the late 1970's, was a horrible mistake and has led to this mess we now find with the industry.

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It's all about hubs and competition. You will always get the best fare -- regardless of destination -- by flying from one airline's hub to the same airline's hub in another city. You reduce your ticket price further by adding to that by flying into a city where many airlines fly ... it's about competition and hubs. That's the name of the game.

 

Try flying into one of these small places with small airports and only 1 or 2 airlines and you'll see how high the fares are.

 

Mark

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I was a little taken back by your post and verified that indeed RT La Guardia, or JFK for that matter, to Montreal can cost $415. Wow!

 

However, Continental offers a RT fare out of Newark for $337 to Montreal.

 

AND, this website offers the same Continental flight for $235.

 

http://www.cheapoair.com

 

I would recommend shopping around the web to see if you can do better than the airlines fare. Also, it's always recommended to have a flexible travle plan when you book. Mid-week versus weekend flights can be cheaper.

 

I guess this is part of the price we pay, and suffer, for the weak dollar vs other currencies.

 

 

ED

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RE: Airline problems

 

>Deregulation,

>implemented in the late 1970's, was a horrible mistake and has

>led to this mess we now find with the industry.

 

Not so much for the price variance between destinations as for everything else in the industry.

 

Privatization and deregulation has been the conservative/republican answer to everything since Reagan/Thatcher.

 

A butterfly flaps it's wings in India and the answer is to deregulate an industry crucial to national interests.

 

And it's FAILED, SPECTACULARLY, EVERY TIME. Deregulate energy, you get Enron. Deregulate banking, you get the savings and loan collapse, be stupid enough to do it again, you get the subprime collapse. Tiptoe around environmental/efficiency regulation for automakers, you get a US industry on the verge of collapse because they can only profit by selling large trucks in the middle of an oil shock (caused by the latest round of energy deregulation). There are MANY more examples.

 

It all seems to stem from Ayn Rand, her 'invisible hand of the market' bullshit. But politicians never seem willing to do more than look the other way in the name of almighty profit. A company will go from demanding the government leave them the *fuck alone* one year to demanding a handout from congress the next, so the mythical self-corrections of this batshit scheme never happen.

 

Worse, in this latest administration you have what regulatory agencies are left headed by people who are demonstrably incompetent OR who don't believe in that 'their' agency even has the right to exist and regulate at all (EPA, forestry, etc). Nowhere has this been more clear than the boondoggle with with FAA that's caused this weeks problems.

 

But FUCK the airlines. An FAA Airworthiness Directive stems from a real incident where something happened that could cause a crash, it's right below grounding a fleet, and Southwest had ignored some since 1999. That management at the FAA was OK with this and tried to silence whistle blowers is fucking mind blowing. For an aviation buff like me, or even anybody who flies regularly this should be the most startling failure inside this administration since Katrina. Yet nobody at the FAA seems to be loosing their jobs.

 

American's lapses are less severe then Southwest's, but they got swept up in the crackdown following the revelations of what Southwest got caught doing. I'm kind of torn though, because I've long preferred to fly on Airlines with union mechanics, knowing that one day an airline like Southwest would threaten/intimidate a mechanic on something he/she felt was a safety issue with disastrous results. I didn't think it'd be Southwest itself, I actually thought they were different, sure were--here they were also threatening the FAA!

 

But American is one of the few remaining union shops. Meanwhile, Northwest, who BUSTED their mechanics union a couple years ago and now parcels out maintenance to the lowest bidder didn't have any groundings... That's not the whole story: NWA had already stopped flying MD80s and DC-9s for efficiency reasons. But it's not what I expected. Though now that this is becoming common, with an airlines mechanics being less cohesive or valued than the TSA I'd expect more problems.

 

Something else nobody is asking is why the fuck are we still flying on antique MD80s??? The base DC-9 first flew in 1965, the manufacturer (who usually plays a key part in helping meet airworthiness directives) went out of business a decade ago!

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RE: Airline problems

 

JamesK840,

 

I agree with some of what you say. AD notes are not necessarily the result of an incident, I suppose depending upon your definition of incident. They are maintenance actions that have to be addressed but not necessarily before further flight. Those are called emergency AD notes. AD notes are almost always subject to interpretation and modification which very likely happened in the case of SW. When the FAA was formed to take the place of the CAB (Civil Aeronautics Board) they were placed under the DOT but designated as an independent agency. They were also charged with the dual purposes of promoting civil aviation in this country and policing civil aviation activities to include maintenance practices. That dual role is sometimes difficult to separate properly. Also, because the FAA does not have enough expertise on staff they designate various responsibilites, with over sight, not only to the airlines but every segment of civil aviation. Pilots most likely will take their check rides with someone other than an FAA employee. Ditto mechanics. Sometimes the FAA and its' designees do become all too cozy. I think it inevitable with close and continuous association. However, I regard that as a management issue rather than a safety issue, at least most of the time.

 

McDonald-Douglas was purchased by Boeing and Boeing by doing so agreed to take over the oversight of maintenance issues with the MD series, still being manufactured but now known as the 717 Boeing series.

 

The only way to have a perfectly safe system is to ground all aircraft permanently. In the mean time we have the safest, most efficient system in the world. We will never eliminate human error and, although a worthy goal, at what price will we continue to try? I am not suggesting dollars vs. safety but some use of reason in the application of remedies.

 

Best regards,

KMEM

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RE: Airline problems

 

Think that you got it bad? A 39 minute flight from San Juan, PR to Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic costs $450.00 (round trip) take it or leave it. American Airlines has a stranglehold on that route and they are squeezing fliers for every penny that they can!

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RE: Airline problems

 

All on Northwest:

 

1. Flight from Miami to Detroit on Sunday costs $413. RT

 

2. Flight from Miami to Detroit on Tuesday costs $189. RT

 

3. Flight from Detroit to Montreal any time costs $755 - $813. RT

 

4. Flights from Miami to Montreal via Detroit cost $247. RT

 

Logically that might mean that the flight from Detroit to Montreal should cost $58 and not $755. But that would be Aristotelian Logic, or perhaps Thomist, which are obviously out of favor these days.

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Solution ?

 

Perhaps you could buy a ticket DTW - MIA for $189 and then a ticket from MIA - YUL for $247. That would be a total of only $436, which would be a lot less than $755. You could then use the $319 you save to spend a couple of days on South Beach between flights. Unless you were going to use that money at Campus and Stock? You would also pick up lots of frequent flier miles, perhaps enough for a free flight next time!

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>The round-trip airfare on Northwest from Miami to Montreal is

>$247 and you have to change planes in Detroit.

>

>Hmmm.

 

 

I wonder if it would be possible to purchase a round trip ticket on Northwest Airlines from Miami-to-Montreal (with the layover in Detroit) but skip the boarding part in Miami (and just board in Detroit for the 2nd shift)?

 

It's interesting that both Detroit and New York are just a few hours drive from Montreal (6-12 hours); yet, Northwest charges almost $900 for round trip airfare these days.

 

Last year, I was able to book a ticket on Northwest Airlines for a DIRECT and NON-STOP roundtrip flight on a DC-9 from Detroit-to-Montreal for a total of just $240 (wich INCLUDED the taxes!). The base price was around $188 roundtrip.

 

Today Northwest Airlines is asking around $700-$900.

 

Gas prices are hovering around $3.50 per gallon. Montreal is around 600 miles each-way from my house. Parking garage fees in Montreal are also expensive.

 

I like the convenience of not having to worry about my car or having my eyes tired out from 11 hours of highway driving. I'd simply rather just sit on an airplane for 2 hours and go through customs.

 

I also wonder if Priceline.com would work here, like it does for hotels. The thing I don't like about Priceline regarding airfare is that you cant "order" only non-stop flights.

 

Priceline also dictates what time you depart and how long your layover will be... which sucks.

 

I wonder if they have 50% off airfares like they do on their hotels?

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RE: Solution ?

 

>There's another option, if you have the time. Canada Rail

>runs from Windsor, Ontario through Toronto to Montreal several

>times a day. The trip is between 10 and 12 hours, and at

>regular fare costs just under $400 Canadian.

>

>http://www.viarail.ca/

>

 

 

Wow! I found roundtrip on Via Rail for a total of only $239.40 Canadian when I plugged in the dates May 21st through May 26th.

 

I wonder, though, if I could handle 10-11 hours on a train with seat mates LOL

 

I'm 6'4 350 size 16 shoes and big beer belly!

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RE: Airline problems

 

Yep, deregulation has been terrible for the average consumer. That's why it's cheaper -- in real dollars -- to fly today than it was in the 1970s. That's why the average person can actually fly today rather than just an elite group of travelers in the 1970s.

 

Yep, every problem of modern man was caused by Reagan and Thatcher. What a bunch of knee-jerk nonsense.

 

One sometimes wonders if people on the left actually have brains to think with or do they just automatically blame bogeyman for everything?

 

Mark

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RE: Solution ?

 

My guess is that your seat will be at least as big if not bigger on the train, and you can walk around etc. Plus -- think how much it will reduce your carbon footprint!

 

Take the train, a couple of good books, and enjoy.

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>I also wonder if Priceline.com would work here, like it does

>for hotels. The thing I don't like about Priceline regarding

>airfare is that you cant "order" only non-stop

>flights.

>

>Priceline also dictates what time you depart and how long your

>layover will be... which sucks.

>

>I wonder if they have 50% off airfares like they do on their

>hotels?

>

I have often wondered the same. I use Priceline a lot for hotels and cars, but never air. If I could afford to waste a day (each way) with up to 3 stops and long layovers I would not hesitate.

If you notice, Priceline has preferred "partners" for hotels. There are a limited number of airlines that fly to particular places so I could envision flying to Montreal from Philly via Los Angeles :D

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RE: Airline problems

 

Ariadne1880,

 

Jimmy Carter was the president when the final push to enact "deregulation" of the airlines happened. So, you can blame him for that and several other malfeasances during his term in office. Ronald Reagan fired the controllers for going on strike during his first term.

 

NW and all the other airlines will cancel your ticket the moment you do not show up for any leg. Buying a cheaper ticket from some other place to go where you really wanted to go was a ploy that was ignored several years ago and was called departing from a "hidden city". Even then you had to use carry on baggage only as they would wonder why you were checking something in the middle of your trip. :)

Today, the only way you can do this would be to go one way only and get off in the middle. Probably buying an advance purchase round trip ticket will still be the cheapest even though you will throw away 3/4's of it.

 

Best regards,

KMEM

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RE: Airline problems

 

You want nonsense, try the idea that national interests must not only be privatized, but that profit is the only metric that matters, and government can't have any say in protecting consumers, workers or the environment.

 

You know what? I'll gladly pay more for a ticket to know the airline isn't going to fold between purchase and travel date (ATA and so many others). I'll pay more for a ticket at an airline that sees fleet modernization, security, and maintenance as more than an expense to be cut as much as possible--at any cost. And I'll pay more for a ticket to not be treated like cattle.

 

The real problem with deregulation is it's never enough. Some may well be necessary to keep up with changing markets. But no sooner is it passed then the CEO is telling a politician at the next fundraiser it's not nearly enough, that company X from country Y is eating them alive, that it'll cost American jobs if the politician doesn't make it so the executive can outsource everything himself.

 

Overall, air travel is safer and cheaper than ever before, I'll grant that. But at what cost? It was clear to anybody with a brain that airport security was a disaster waiting to happen pre-9/11. An airline like El-Al is mandated by the government that supports it to think of security first, because the potential opportunity cost to the airline and the country is too great to do otherwise. Not us though! And thank god, I'd rather have that 50 cents a ticket for every flight in the 90s than, you know, the WTC towers still standing.

 

Even today, the fucking tobacco lobbyists successfully got congressmen to again pressure the FAA to allow lighters, even though if the 'shoe bomber' had known he could've used one instead of a match we might still be wondering what happened to his flight.

 

Now, I'd like to hear you defend banking and energy deregulation. Hell, BushII has managed to go even farther, having those industry's lobbyists write not only the laws that govern their industries but write in their own additional handouts and tax breaks--IN TIMES OF RECORD PROFIT.

 

Where is the unqualified deregulation success that justifies the push for ever-more?

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Guest zipperzone

RE: Solution ?

 

>There's another option, if you have the time. Canada Rail

>runs from Windsor, Ontario through Toronto to Montreal several

>times a day. The trip is between 10 and 12 hours, and at

>regular fare costs just under $400 Canadian.

>

>http://www.viarail.ca/

>

 

That sounds like a lot of hay for a train trip of roughly 600 miles.

 

I presume that is a round-trip ticket, right?

 

Given the choices - I'd still drive and have the convenience of having my car for excursions at destination. Not to mention the possibility of a cute hitch hiker or two :-)

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RE: Airline problems

 

National interests being privatized, eh? Well...I guess you will really ptich a fit when they start selling off the airports and privatizing them later this decade. In fact, Chicago Midway is the first major airport that will be sold to the highest bidder later this summer.

 

The FAA has been pushing privitization of the airport infrastructure since 1996 (hmmmm which Republican administration was in power then?). The US is one of the few major industrialized countries where local or federal authorities own the major airport.

 

What will be really funny for me will be to watch which politicians will start demonizing this issue when it builds up a head of steam. The Dubai Ports fiasco was only a couple of years ago. This sudden fear of "foreign ownership of critical infrastructure" will be an easy way for politicians to make the public think they are looking out for them.

 

The stated goal of the Open Skies Agreement, finalized after 10 years of bilateral talks this year, seeks to better integrate the US and European airline markets. According to what I've read, the deal favors the US more than Europe in the long run.

 

However, with European carriers being slightly more healthy than US carriers at this time, it's going to be interesting to watch the fallout. The current proposed merger of Detal and Northwest is only the start of this process. Along with Air France and KLM, the DL NW merger seeks to fully integrate the Sky Team Alliance into a coordinated marketing effort for Transatlantic flights on these airlines. Within the next five years look for the merger of several US and European airlines in to single entities.

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RE: Airline problems

 

I actually experienced an airline bankruptcy, and it was not in the US. It was in the Promised Land of Total Regulation, our neighbor to the north, Canada. It was the fall of 1999. The airline was Canadian. I had been at a meeting in Toronto and had to get back to New York.

 

Now, in the US, when an airline goes bankrupt, they do a dance called a reorganization. Which makes the lawyers a lot of money, but also allows the company and its customers to come in for a softer landing -- i.e., you still get where you need to go because someone at the affected company puts you on another flight, etc.

 

None of that in Canada. One day it's up and running (and selling tickets, of course), the next day it is gone. Literally. Gone as in a recorded voice on the telephone informing you that even though you had bought and paid for a ticket, there would be no flight and no attempt to find you a replacement. Period. Full stop. Solution: Swallow the (considerable) loss, rent a van for all affected, and drive back, arriving too late for planned events at the other end.

 

I always remember that when I hear people bashing the current American system, which at least tries to get its stranded passengers where they've paid to go. Ohhhhh, Canada.

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