Delta Airlines has made it easier for Tallahassee residents to fly directly to the city that never sleeps – New York City.
The service, offered by Delta Connection carrier Comair, began Jan. 31 with two daily round-trip flights between Tallahassee Regional Airport and New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport (JFK).
Travelers will no longer have to deal with layovers in Atlanta, Tampa or Orlando, a common connection point for the airline. According to the press release, the new service brings convenient access to the financial hub and other international destinations served by Delta from JFK and are part of Delta’s overall change in more than 50 percent of its network.
According to a press release from Delta Airlines, the company offers more seats to and from Florida than any other airline.
In the airline’s statement, Delta, which is struggling to attract more fliers and reduce costs, is the world’s second largest airline as far as passengers carried. The company announced on Jan. 20 a $2.2 billion fourth quarter loss making its total 2004 loss $5.2 billion, the worse financial performance in the industry’s history.
In December, Comair, which operates in 119 cities and carries about 30,000 passengers, canceled 1,100 flights after the failure of an overloaded computer system stranded hundreds of the Delta subsidiary’s customers on Christmas.
In January, Delta introduced an aggressive new fare structure to compete against low-cost rivals.
Students and faculty alike were excited to hear about the new direct service to New York.
“I’m tired of driving to Atlanta or Jacksonville for cheaper flights,” said Dandre Greenwood, a 22-year-old senior business administration student from Brooklyn, N.Y.
Comair provides the service through its CanadAir Regional Jet that is smaller but more efficient than regular big body jets.
Greenwood, who appreciates the convenience, said the smaller planes would not affect his decision to use Delta.
“I’m from a big city, so I’m not used to flying on small planes. But being in Tallahassee for four years, I got used to it. Plus its definitely a lot more affordable.”
David Bartholomew, an 18-year-old freshman general studies student, also from Brooklyn, said he isn’t concerned either.
“When you think about smaller jets, some people think about the jet being tossed around in turbulence. But when you think about how many flights leave Tallahassee every day, they’re pretty safe,” Bartholomew said.
According to Betty Rivers, Business Services manager of Tallahassee Regional Airport, travelers will have to get used to regional jets.
“You will continue to see more regional jets because they’re more efficient and provide the amenities passengers want.”
Rivers also said the new service to JFK is a great way to get to New York City for students and businesses.
Rosemary Bailey, the Assistant Director of the School of Business and Industry Residency/Internship program, agreed.
“It brings firms right to our doorsteps without having to be redirected,” she said.
With direct access to New York, the flights will make it easier for the University to bring in recruiters and guests from the New York/New Jersey area.
Amos Bradford, Interim Dean of the School of Business and Industry also was excited about the direct service.
“The issue is time and in an environment where time is money. This will save firms a lot of money.”
Bradford said many people will benefit from the direct flights.
“It’s a much more efficient trip, the recruiters and guests who come have got to be excited about a direct flight. We will all be benefactors.” Bradford said.
Not everyone shared the same excitement, however.
Ivan Richards a 23-year-old senior psychology student is more concerned about saving money than convenience.
“It’s all about money. I can get a ride to Atlanta with a friend and fly to New York on a cheaper flight.”
At press time, a flight from Tallahassee to New York with a 30-day advance purchase was $256.90.
The same flight from Atlanta was $206.90, representing savings of $50.
Bartholomew said the dollar savings aren’t enough when compared to the convenience.
“I don’t have to worry about a connecting flight in Orlando, Tampa, or Atlanta and I can be in New York in less than six hours, I think that’s pretty great.”
Contact Gregg Bishop at email@example.com