Students make flight plans home for holidays

Rattlers are returning home this holiday season, and some students from as far away as overseas are taking airlines such as Delta Airlines or U.S. Airways out of Tallahassee Regional Airport.

FAMU’s significant number of out-of-state students, those from Chicago or D.C., for example, are dependent on air travel to return home to their respective families.

Eighty-five percent of the commercial air traffic on an average weekday comes in some form of USAir or Delta, said Assistant Superintendent of Airport Operations Jim Durwin. This includes shuttles such as AirTran and long-distance airfare.

Some students live too far away to take automobiles to get home, so they have no other choice but to deal with airline prices and layovers.

Tylon Chaney, a senior computer information systems student from Hartford, Conn., said he doesn’t know which airline he’s flying on to get home, but he knows he’s flying.

“I’m probably flying out on Delta or USAir,” he said.Flights from these two companies make up the large majority of flights going out of Tallahassee, according to Durwin.

Durwin said 70 percent of Tallahassee Regional Airport’s commercial air traffic belongs to Delta alone. Its most common layover out of Tallahassee is in Atlanta.

Fifteen percent of commercial air traffic is taken by USAirways. Its most common layover is in Charlotte, N.C., according to the companies’ respective Web sites.

Both Continental and Northwest Airlines serve the remaining 15 percent of flights out of Tallahassee.

For Rattlers, price comparisons have shown Delta flights are generally the cheapest.

Gregory Beacham, a junior jazz studies student, said he got his round-trip ticket home to Washington, D.C. for less than $200 with Delta Airlines.

“I usually fly Delta,” he said.

Some students travel to Jacksonville, Atlanta or Orlando to fly home. This is because certain flights from these cities have cheaper rates or non-stop flights, saving money and time.Beacham, 20, plans to fly out of Jacksonville.

“This past summer I got sick of [flying out of Tallahassee],” he said. Beacham also said that at Jacksonville’s airport he can just “go and get out” of otherwise long security waits.

Shaletha Litt, a fourth-year business administration student, has a long way to travel when she goes home. Her parents live on a military base near Tokyo, Japan.

She said her total flight time from Tallahassee to Atlanta all the way to Narita, Japan will take about 13 hours.

“I don’t care for making that flight,” Litt said.She said keeps to herself and occupies her time with her iPod and in-flight movies.

While air travel can be more expensive and more hectic during the holidays, it is important for Rattlers to stay informed and travel safely.