Flight Blog

Apr 16 2010 "These are acts of God, force majeure..." BY sgf-adminTAGS Misc.


By now we assume that anyone with a passing interest in air travel has heard about the havoc created in Europe by the volcanic eruptions in Iceland. The New York Times has some good advice on how to adjust your European travel plans.



Mark emails us with these thoughts:

"I have a company in the area that has clients who regularly fly to Branson/Springfield area.  I am struggling with your website, because I cannot find out on what day what flights come in and out of the airport.  With this information I would be better able to help assist my clients on what days to travel from what cities.  On another note, has there ever been talk about adding a direct flight to the northeast such as Philadelphia, Newark or Washington/Baltimore?  Many of our clients fly to and from this area of the country and I assume that a sizeable number of people fly to the northeast since it is such a hub of population."

Mark...  We've have found that trying to publish a dependable airline schedule is like trying to nail jello to a wall. That's because airlines are continually adjusting schedules. We have also found that few people have the expectation of seeing a published schedule. When they want to travel they typically go to an airline or travel web site. They input where they want to go and when. They are then offered choices and they choose. In this day and age very few people begin the travel itinerary process by wanting to see a schedule.

We can make the general statement that the service offered from Springfield by Delta, American and United is daily service. In other words, each of these airlines fly to their Springfield destinations daily. On the other hand, Allegiant airlines typically flies to each of its Springfield destinations several times a week. You can find airline and destination information here.

As for you thoughts about service to the Northeast...

It's a matter of the airlines deciding they want to fly directly from Springfield to a Northeast city. The current state of the airline industry works against us in this regard. Here are a couple of the factors:

  • For the past ten years the airlines have mostly served small market airports, like Springfield, with regional jets. These are small jets that typically carry fifty people. The economics of flying regional jets doesn't usually allow for a flight any longer than 600 miles. After 600 miles regional jets start to loose money in a hurry. The distance from Springfield to NYC is 1067 nautical miles.
  • Springfield is a small air market. From the airline perspective there isn't enough demand in Springfield to justify service to any one NE city. So what do airlines do? They collect passengers from small markets, like Springfield, and fly them to large hub airports. At the hub, small market passengers are, in effect, collected and deposited on bigger airplanes and flown to NE destinations. Most travel to the NE, from Springfield, is done through the hub airports in Chicago, Memphis, Dallas, or Atlanta. This is called the "hub and spoke system." Our airport is a spoke.

Bottom line: from the airline perspective we have service to the Northeast. We just have to connect through a hub to get there.


Apr 07 2010 Catch As Catch Can BY sgf-adminTAGS Customer Service


Several items of interest today...

Spirit Airlines says it's going to start charging a fee for carry-on bags. Yes, you read right. The airline plans to charge $45 for each piece of carry-on luggage, starting in August. Let's pause for a moment to let the steam blow out your ears...

Feel better?

Spirit was savaged this morning on the network news programs, with anchors making one disparaging remark after another. And, well, who can blame them? I suspect they spoke for anyone who flies. We all understand that the airlines need to make money, but at what point will they get serious about CUSTOMER SERVICE? When will they start making the customer a priority?

Will other airlines follow Spirit's lead? Depends on how much heat Spirit gets. If it's minimal, the other airlines will probably follow.

Meanwhile, European airline Ryanair is reportedly working on a scheme to charge customers for using the lavatory. That's leading to such headlines as, "The Ultimate Airline Insult: Pay to Pee!"

The business press has been busy the last couple of weeks reporting on increased revenue for domestic airlines. It's missing the flip side of the story: "Solid Worldwide Airline Growth Trends Continue in April, with the Exception of North America." The report from OAG contines, "All regions, except North America, continue to show solid growth in capacity and frequency."

Aviation analyst Mike Boyd reinforces the point:

"...the 3Q will be strong for the US airline industry because they are not adding capacity. Plus, most have safety valves to pull down capacity if the recession deepens (yes, deepens - who's kidding who? with 9.7% unemployment, close to 20% under-employment, higher taxes in the wind, jive-time "job creation" stats that are bulked out with census workers, and $85+ oil, this isn't a robust picture of the future. Any credible passenger forecast must consider these factors.)

No doubt about it, the aviation news today is not warm and fuzzy.


Mar 23 2010 Carry-On Crunch BY sgf-adminTAGS Customer Service


You're not the only one who hates the fees for checked bags. Flight attendants do too. Or at least that's what one union says.

The Association of Flight Attendants-CWA says it recently conducted a survey of its membership,  "in which one out of two flight attendants witnessed carry-on items falling from overhead bins in the previous 60 days. The survey validated anecdotal reports that carry-on baggage is out of control, mostly due to recent fees to check luggage...According to the survey, over 80 percent of flight attendants sustained injuries over the past year due to dealing with carry-ons in overhead bins. The most common injury being strained and pulled muscles in the neck, arms and upper back."

The union has set-up a website dedicated to this subject.



We've got good news, good news, and some more good news. It's good news in spades.

Let's start with Delta. Beginning June 10 the airline restores our service to Detroit and Minneapolis. We got word earlier this week in a face-to-face meeting with Delta's general manager for network planning. Our airport lost service to those cities during the depths of the recession. The fact that they're returning is testament to the tremendous growth our airport has seen over the past year.

Delta says the Minneapolis service well probably be seasonal (meaning a summer schedule only), unless it sees strong advanced bookings for the fall season. On the subject of Detroit, the airline says its "intent" is to make the service year-round. Delta plans to add several western routes out of Detroit, including Honolulu, Sacramento, and Phoenix. So that means Springfield customers will have more options for connecting West.

Allegiant good news! The airline's summer schedule is out and it is, in a word, awesome.



Take a look at this graph:  The blue bar represents 2008. Red is 2009. Gold is 2010. The number on each bar shows the number of Allegiant flights in the given month. Look at July.

In July 2008  Allegiant flew 50 flights from Springfield. This July the airline plans 102 flights. That's more than a 100% increase over the same month in 2008! No doubt about it — Southwest Missouri loves Allegiant and Allegiant loves Southwest Missouri.

Now we're to the spades. Our 2009 momentum, that made us the only airport in the region with positive growth numbers, continues to roll!  In February the airport's total passenger numbers were up 5% over the same month last year. It's our 14th consecutive month of positive or flat growth, and we did it with 16% fewer flights (in February).