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Why so High??

Small airport drives up prices.

By Damon Arnold
On April 21, 2016

Students are not pleased with the prices offered by Tallahassee International Airport. Flights are overpriced and inconvenient.

Many students that attend Florida A&M University (FAMU), Florida State University (FSU), or Tallahassee Community College (TCC) know the hassle of trying to find an affordable flight out of the Tallahassee airport, which recently received international status last year.

Jordan Bailey, a fourth-year broadcast journalism major from Houston, TX, explained the troublesome of not being able to commute in Tallahassee.

“Not being able to fly into Tallahassee because of extremely high prices is an inconvenience and time consuming. I had to drive from Panama City,  because I couldn’t use my buddy pass to save money because my airline didn’t fly to Tallahassee.”

Yes, Tallahassee is a smaller city compared to other cities in the state, but the city is also one of the most important. Tallahassee is the state capital and serves the educational needs of three colleges and universities. That factor alone should be grounds for immediate expansion.

Students work menial jobs to pay insignificant bills such as cell phone, car insurance, or just to have money for emergencies i.e. a new tire, or fixing an iPhone screen. Students can’t afford to spend anywhere from $340.00 up to $1,000 on a plane ticket when needing to travel on short notice, or even long-term.

Tallahassee International Airport (TLH) is a small airport that is served by three major airlines, American, Delta, and Silver Airways.  

These airlines only fly to eight cities four of which are in the state of Florida; Charlotte, Dallas/F. Worth, Miami, Atlanta, Tampa, Orlando, Fort Lauderdale.

Conducting a general search on flights flying out of Tallahassee and Tampa on the same day, at the same time, to the same destination, produced drastic results.

According to Priceline.com, if a flight were booked for May 20th, 2016 to Kansas City, Mo, from TLH, with a layover in Charlotte, NC through American Airlines, it would cost approximately $350.20. The flight would take 6 hours and 48 minutes.                         

If a flight were booked with the same criteria as the aforementioned but changed the departure location to Tampa, FL, (which is 213 miles south of Tallahassee) would cost $246.70. This flight would take only 5 hours and 14 minutes even though it’s further away from its final destination, and is $103.50 cheaper.    

The reason for these variances in prices is due to the size of Tallahassee’s aviation community. With there being only three airlines to choose from with very few destinations, the airport raises the prices to compensate itself.

A large population of Tallahassee hosts FAMU, FSU, and TCC students. Many decide to travel by car because of the outrageously priced flights, which has peaked the city’s interest, as it is the owner of TLH.

The City of Tallahassee hosted an aviation conference at TLH in early April to showcase the city’s need for airline expansion. Sixel Consulting Group specializes in providing smaller airports the opportunity to converse with major airlines and plead the demand for service.

“The bi-annual three-day conference brought more than 120 airline officials and over $90,000 for the city,” said Alison Faris, employee of the city of Tallahassee’s communication department.  

The exposure of the conference is a step toward affordable rates for students and residents of Tallahassee. In doing so, students will be more inclined to fly home or to other destinations in times of emergencies, breaks, and holidays.

Hopefully the city of Tallahassee will make aviation expansion a top priority so the students residing in the area can catch a break in the pockets.

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