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Holiday Travel

November 7, 2007

Originally, I was considering driving home for Christmas. I’m going to have vacation to burn through the Christmas week, and it would be nice to have my car to get around town. For a long time, especially since 9/11 and even more especially (this is not real English) since the London subway bombings, flying has taken almost as much time as driving, if you’re dealing with large airports. Now, with gas pricing rivaling heroin pricing, flying seems a lot more viable.

An educated guess brings me in at about 3 full tanks to drive to and from northern Ohio. That’s $45 at current prices, who knows what by late December. That’s at least $135, and doesn’t take into account wear and tear on the car, annoying traffic, being in a car for 8 hours, and feeding myself along the way.

I just booked a flight with Northwest for $165. Including a $13 flight cancellation insurance policy, so if the weather really is super shitty, I can cancel the flight and drive instead. So yes, flying does cost more, but at this point I think the perks more than make up for it. I’ll have to leave for my 4:15 flight by around 2pm, just to be safe. It’s a 90 minute flight so I’ll be at my destination by 6 or so. Then it will take roughly an hour to get from Detroit back to Ohio. So that’s about 5 hours total invested.

5 hours for $165 or 8 hours for $135. Put it this way…if the trip were totally free (say I were a courier for insanely rich people, bringing their fatass cat to them or something), would I take a stipend of $30 to drive instead of fly? HELL NO. Considering I’m leaving early (Friday the 21st), I suppose there is one serious drawback in that I couldn’t stop along the way to visit friends in Pittsburgh or Cleveland if I was flying. Currently I had no plans to do so, but it might always pop up…in that case, I’ve spent $13 to be able to be refunded my entire flight purchase price, so driving would be a total of $148.

A direct flight for so cheap seems too good to be true. My Thanksgiving flight cost more, and I booked that about 3 months in advance. Maybe airlines have HAD to cut Christmas prices, because so many flights are affected by adverse weather. By the by, I’ll be flying from Baltimore to Detroit. Murder City USA to Former Murder City USA. I think my chances of getting shot in the vicinity of either airport are probably more likely than significant delays affecting my flight plans.

Needless to say, something almost has to go wrong here. It’s just too cheap and too easy.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. Adam permalink*
    November 7, 2007 11:19 am

    It’s cheap for a reason, and that reason is BWI is an awful place.

    Most likely what will happen is you will wait in security lines for an hour or more because of all the stupid families that fly out BWI with their stupid little kids, none of whom, parents included, have been on a flight since new carry-on restrictions were passed and will try to argue that, despite what the TSA rules are, they should be allowed to bring their family sized shampoo on the plane.

    Prepare for the worst, always, when you fly out BWI. It’s the cost of flying cheap. Your only salvation is that you are not fliyng Southwest out of BWI. Few travel experiences are worse than a Southwest flight originating in BWI.

    Until I am rich enough to not notice the difference between BWI flights and DCA flights, I will probably also continue to use BWI, but be aware, it sucks.

  2. andy permalink*
    November 7, 2007 11:29 am

    A similar DCA flight was approximately $Arm/Leg.

  3. Ashley permalink
    November 12, 2007 4:30 pm

    As someone who flies out of BWI practically weekly, I am going to disagree with Adam. Flying in general these days are nothing short of a pain in the ass, but with the exception of the Southwest terminal, BWI is no different than Dulles or National.

    The lines are long but they move quickly and the busses to the parking garages to the terminal come quickly and often.

    Save your arm and your leg and just go with BWI. Hell… I’m traveling the same dates so we should look into drivingup there together and splitting the parking.

  4. November 21, 2007 9:53 am

    I am sitting in DCA right now, waiting for my flight to go home for Thanksgiving. I paid $20 more to fly out of DCA instead of BWI and let me tell you it was worth every penny.

    It took a total of 10 minutes to check a bag, go through security, and get to my gate. On the day before Thanksgiving.

    Contrast that with what would have been my BWI experience. Either driving in rush hour traffic to the airport or taking a cab to Union Station to take the MARC train (and then the shuttle from the MARC station). After that, I would conservatively guess 15 minutes in line at the check-in counter, then another 30-45 in the security line.

    Instead I am at my gate 45 minutes after I left my apartment. I love this airport.

  5. January 12, 2008 5:02 am

    Thanks for sharing these great thoughts. I’m bookmarking this for future reference. Some of these I already do, so the point resonated most strongly with me. Keep feeding the creativity.
    I am currently on holiday so, for this reason, I’ve nothing better to do than surf the web for travel ideas, lie around and update my blog. Well, more or less anyway.
    Doug C

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