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-   -   Springfield v. Branson/Allegiant v. AirTran (http://www.1branson.com/forum/showthread.php?t=65814)

NotJLB 03-01-2012 09:57 AM

Springfield v. Branson/Allegiant v. AirTran
 
So sorry, I know, it's not the best time for a business as usual discussion, but we did not plan our first use of the Branson airport to not coincide with Mother Nature.

Before the fact, there was much discussion concerning the wisdom of building a new airport in the same service area of an existing regional airport. It was speculated that one or the other may do the other, or the other, in, by divvying up the business disproportionately (assuming there was business to be divvied up).

Some said, "If you build it, they will come", I guess assuming they were not already coming or having a second airport in the same area would tap into a whole new market. It's funny how fictional taglines are applied to reality as if they are axioms. Well, not funny funny.

Also kinda interesting is that Springfield also now has a new airport, a very nice one. Anyone see that coming?

One could say that the verdict is now in.

We have flown Allegiant to both Tampa (sorta) and Orlando (sorta) out of Springfield many times, and there has never been an empty seat. The service has been Spartan, but reliable and convenient.

Yesterday we had to opportunity to fly Airtran to and from Orlando and Branson, roundtrip. The service was reliable. It was convenient on the Branson end.

But, there was/were probably not 30 people on the flight back, the leg from Branson to Atlanta.

One could surmise that it is like much of the major decision-making in Branson, that big projects that appear to be a shot in the arm, or might be the shot in the arm, that Branson needs, wind up being another anchor. Public funds have been committed to the benefit of private individuals on a number of the major projects. Since the airport is, in fact, a private project, that should influence the powers-that-be in further committing public funds. You would think there is a limit to how far they would be willing to give away other people's money.

By the way, how's it gone in Branson for the person responsible, or most responsible, for the airport being built?

Incidentally, a website I found the other day hyping Branson said the airport is built on land once owned by Tennesse Ernie Ford. Anyone know if that is true, or just good copy?

As for the upside of the Branson airport, it's cute, and you get an nice aerial view.

Have a sunny day.

MNtraveler 03-01-2012 10:54 AM

I've flown Allegiant out of Springfield to LA once and to Vegas twice. I've flown Air Tran out of Branson to Orlando four times. I far prefer the Air Tran/Branson combination for the following reasons:

1) The fees on Allegiant are absolutely ridiculous. Assigned seat fees (not for premium seats... to have ANY assigned seat), a $40 "convenience fee" for booking a ticket over the internet (and you thought Ticketmaster was bad!), some of the highest checked baggage fees I've ever experienced, charge for soft drinks served during the flight, and on and on.

2) Parking in Branson is far closer to the airport than in Springfield. I think the Springfield airport designers were concerned that terrorists might pack nuclear weapons in the trunk of their cars and wanted to make sure they were far enough from the building that the blast would not impact the terminal.

3) Air Tran has daily flights to Orlando. Allegiant only flies there a few times a week. The Allegiant schedule may work when planning Orlando vacations. When you are flying to Orlando to take a cruise out of Port Canaveral it doesn't work so well... Allegiant seems to never fly on the day the cruise sets sail or returns.

4) Air Tran flies to MCO where Disney offers free transportation via the "Magical Express" to Disney resorts. Allegiant flies to Sanford where no such service is available.

5) Although Nixa where I live is much closer to Springfield than to Branson, it takes about the same time to get to either airport. Since the Springfield airport is at the far north end of Springfield you drive the entire distance through the city on streets with stoplights every few blocks. The only north-south freeway through Springfield is 65, located on the eastern edge of the city. The airport is on the western edge.

6) If you are willing to fly through Air Tran's hub in Atlanta you can get to virtually any destination in America. Allegiant flies out of Springfield to just a handful of destinations... many times to secondary airports with limited connections to elsewhere.

7) Air Trans weekly non-stop flights to Orlando are always packed. Their daily flights to Atlanta not so much, but then they have two flights a day vs. Allegiant's four times a week.

8) Branson airport has Famous Dave's. 'Nuff said.

:) :)

NotJLB 03-01-2012 11:02 AM

These are not decisions reserved for the mere-mortal.

http://www.flyspringfield.com/blog/?cat=35

ggh 03-01-2012 07:14 PM

A few observations of my daughters - she's been flying to and from Orlando once a month for the last 2 years.


Daily flights via BKG (AirTran) are a plus - dd lives a couple miles from SGF (Allegiant) but appreciates the later in the day, daily return from Orlando.

Allegiant's flights to Sanford are an hour from Orlando, you have to rent a car to get from the airport to Disney. Like MNT mentioned, flying AirTran means you can be dropped off at the door to the resort, no rental needed.

DD has never had a flight delay with either AirTran or Allegiant of over half an hour in all her flights - she has had some substantial layovers in Atlanta with AirTran. She's had the option of being bumped on more than one occasion - but unable to accept the 2 RT to anywhere in the US offer, due to scheduling her flights so that she can spend every minute possible in Florida. She prefers the direct no layover option offered by Allegiant, but uses AirTran for her return about every other flight, because it gives her an extra day in Florida. She always compares price - it's almost always cheaper to fly SGF.

She NEVER pays for a seat, even when her daughter is with her - and never takes a check in bag, regardless who she's flying with.

Branson charges to drive through the parking lot - Springfield allows 30 minutes free - AND they have a cell phone lot at the edge of the airport, so they can call, and you can pull through, pick up your traveler w/o even pulling into the parking lot.


MNT - from Nixa, the easy way to get the Springfield Airport IMO, would be to drive from 14 and 160 north to James River Expressway - JRE west to West Bypass, north to Chestnut, or JRE to I44. I take that route, in reverse a couple times a week - it's a much easier drive than 65 IMO.

MNtraveler 03-01-2012 08:21 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ggh (Post 733070)
MNT - from Nixa, the easy way to get the Springfield Airport IMO, would be to drive from 14 and 160 north to James River Expressway - JRE west to West Bypass, north to Chestnut, or JRE to I44. I take that route, in reverse a couple times a week - it's a much easier drive than 65 IMO.

I've tried that route and it seems better than some of the others. One I haven't tried but am curious about... how far out of the way would it be to stay on JRE until I44 and then double back east?

:)

I can sure tell you one way NOT to take... Campbell to Chestnut Expressway!!

:duh: :duh:

ggh 03-01-2012 09:22 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by MNtraveler (Post 733087)
I've tried that route and it seems better than some of the others. One I haven't tried but am curious about... how far out of the way would it be to stay on JRE until I44 and then double back east?

:)

I can sure tell you one way NOT to take... Campbell to Chestnut Expressway!!

:duh: :duh:

You would back track on I44, Mile Marker 69 to Mile Marker 72 - so approx 3 miles - BUT if you take that route, it's almost exclusively 70 mph, and not a stop light to be had until you exit I44. :)

My dd use to work on South Campbell at JRE and lives near the airport, I don't think it ever occurred to either of us that it was even possibe to drive down South Campbell to get there! That's like driving from 65 down 76 to get to SDC - why would you do it?

MNtraveler 03-02-2012 12:57 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ggh (Post 733094)
My dd use to work on South Campbell at JRE and lives near the airport, I don't think it ever occurred to either of us that it was even possibe to drive down South Campbell to get there! That's like driving from 65 down 76 to get to SDC - why would you do it?

Oh, I don't know. Probably because I was new to the area and on the map it looked like the shortest route!

:D :p :D

ggh 03-02-2012 05:58 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by MNtraveler (Post 733106)
Oh, I don't know. Probably because I was new to the area and on the map it looked like the shortest route!

:D :p :D

I had hoped that was a rethorical question.

That shortest route took you to the heart of downtown from south to north, then all the way to the ends of the edge of the county cow pastures to the west...might have looked a short distance but midday could easily take and hour plus to drive, but you know that now, huh?

Im pretty sure you wont try that again, huh? LOL! Sorry, I would have helped you avoid that had I known.

JRE west to West Bypass - the exit to Battlefield, and go north to Chestnut, and west on Chestnut to the airport, it's an easy drive, there are a few lights, some traffic, but not bad, it moves even during rush hour.

NotJLB 03-02-2012 06:33 AM

I'm not sure why we're talking about service that is going to end, but I'll go along with it.

GGH, on those frequent flights to Branson, how many have been on the plane? Has it been full?

Is there really that much need for daily service from Atlanta, or Orlando?

That link I posted sure includes convoluted thinking. I believe it says an airline cannot be subsidized with public funds if the airport is being subsidized by public funds, but it can be subsidized with public funds if the airport is private, but being subsidized by public funds.

I think that's what it was saying as to why SW cannot be subsidized to serve Springfield, but can to service Branson, although the discussion was about Columbia!

I guess I get lost in important discussions.

:cool:

Anyway, as to my OP, do we not have a disaproportionate number of public subsidy that benefit private enterprises/people?

Brokate 03-05-2012 02:03 PM

The 1 flight I took through Branson had 100% full flights to and from Denver (last September). I have also picked up family from Texas and had family use fly through Branson and all of those reports have been full or nearly full planes.

I'm not suggesting this is always the case, but that it certainly does happen because those have been the experiences I have had.

NotJLB 03-05-2012 03:03 PM

Pricewise, right now it is hard to find a low price on any flight to and from Florida. In our recent searching, I saw one Airtran that was $1100 RT. Through Tampa, $400-500 is standard. Through Orlando, more like $400.

No deals on Allegiant either.

But, if flights are full, or near full, why aren't airlines beating a path to get in on it?

Jalva2 03-05-2012 03:44 PM

Looking at this entirely from the outside, and seeking a little better understanding, so some questions:

Isn't this an odd time of year to expect many full flights to and from Branson? Particularly if the airport is offering DAILY service? (Are they really offering daily service at this time of year?) These questions based on:

Is my expectation correct/incorrect that the lion's share of traffic through that airport must be people coming TO Branson on vacation/or returning home from their Branson vacation (where it's still off-season for the most part)?

Are Branson airport's flights ever being routinely filled with Branson/Ozarks area residents heading somewhere else, especially (again) in late Feb/early March? Is there really sufficient area population for that, especially with competing airports not too far away?

NotJLB 03-05-2012 04:09 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jalva2 (Post 733813)
Looking at this entirely from the outside, and seeking a little better understanding, so some questions:

Isn't this an odd time of year to expect many full flights to and from Branson? Particularly if the airport is offering DAILY service? (Are they really offering daily service at this time of year?) These questions based on:

Is my expectation correct/incorrect that the lion's share of traffic through that airport must be people coming TO Branson on vacation/or returning home from their Branson vacation (where it's still off-season for the most part)?

Are Branson airport's flights ever being routinely filled with Branson/Ozarks area residents heading somewhere else, especially (again) in late Feb/early March? Is there really sufficient area population for that, especially with competing airports not too far away?

Those are questions that were probably asked, and speculated on, by those who wanted to build an airport in Branson.

Whether it's season, or off-season, it is not paying for itself.

All, I'm saying is, wasn't that pretty predictable. Like you say, there are two airports, pretty close, competing for the same business.

Jalva2 03-05-2012 05:09 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by NotJLB (Post 733822)
Those are questions that were probably asked, and speculated on, by those who wanted to build an airport in Branson.

Whether it's season, or off-season, it is not paying for itself.

All, I'm saying is, wasn't that pretty predictable. Like you say, there are two airports, pretty close, competing for the same business.

I'm just trying to understand it, as again, I'm looking at it from the outside. I just can't imagine why an airline would offer daily service from Branson to Orlando or Atlanta during the off-season. I really can't even imagine how daily service from Branson to a hub like St. Louis or Memphis would be viable at this time of year, but it makes more sense than daily service to other places. Just saying, how many daily flights does Oklahoma City even offer to Orlando? A handful a day to serve the largest metropolitan area in Oklahoma? And at a premium, at that.

That's why I asked my questions. As I said, I'm looking at it from the outside with no real knowledge of what the developers' business model was supposed to be. I can't believe it's this, so I was wondering if you guys know something I don't know, or if my understanding of what's available up there is even correct.

NotJLB 03-05-2012 06:15 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jalva2 (Post 733832)
I'm just trying to understand it, as again, I'm looking at it from the outside. I just can't imagine why an airline would offer daily service from Branson to Orlando or Atlanta during the off-season. I really can't even imagine how daily service from Branson to a hub like St. Louis or Memphis would be viable at this time of year, but it makes more sense than daily service to other places. Just saying, how many daily flights does Oklahoma City even offer to Orlando? A handful a day to serve the largest metropolitan area in Oklahoma? And at a premium, at that.

That's why I asked my questions. As I said, I'm looking at it from the outside with no real knowledge of what the developers' business model was supposed to be. I can't believe it's this, so I was wondering if you guys know something I don't know, or if my understanding of what's available up there is even correct.

Yeah, trying to understand it!

I think what I'm trying to say is that it is hard to imagine there being enough business to have two airports 60 miles away doing the same thing any time of year.

&, I'm asking is that what has been proven?
- - - - -
As far as Allegiant, their plan makes more sense. Regional airports directly to and from popular tourist destinations . . . Tampa, Orlando, Phoenix, LAX, Las Vegas twice a week.


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