Air taxes

Lotta hubub lately about air taxes.

Buy a ticket from a major airline, part of your money goes to fund small airports. Yep, your ticket money is paying to help rich people with corporate jets….well, and hobbyists with $30K Cessnas, but nevermind them.

Presumably this is nothing new. So how come it’s suddenly an issue?

Maybe some airline PR department and/or lobbyist got worried about this.

“could radically change the airline industry by disrupting the hub-and-spoke system we all know and despise”…yep, them small airports gotta go.

They’d better shut em down fast, tho. The reason the small airports need the taxes is that they’re underutilized. Looks like that’s about to change.

NASA has been working on this for years, by the way. They know the hub system is reaching its limits. They’ve been working the air traffic control side…trying to come up with new systems that can handle a lot more planes in the sky. Companies like Eclipse are building the cheap little jets – a million bucks for a jet, way cheaper than the smallest corporate jets a couple years ago. Now Dayjet is getting the on-demand scheduling nailed.

And when they do…well, driving an hour to your nearest big airport, showing up two hours early, sitting around for six hours when your flight gets delayed, layovers, lost bags…all that mess is a lot less appealing than scheduling an air taxi and driving five miles up the road when it’s twenty minutes from flighttime. And once it really catches on, I bet it won’t cost that much more, either.

The little jets won’t take you across the continent. But for a business traveller who’s not going too far, this can’t be beat. On my last flight, a plane that was supposed to leave at 7 pm didn’t take off until 10:15. I was annoyed, but not nearly so much as a fellow passenger, who was only on this flight because his lunchtime flight had been cancelled. He’d missed a meeting because of it. He said it happened in that airport a lot, and sure enough, my return flight was cancelled too. I made out ok, but another guy got put on a 2-hour taxi ride. Last year, an airline cancelled all flights to my destination for the next twenty-four hours…I had to fly to another city and hunt for a rental car and hotel. At midnight.

The hub system is obsolete. It’s too inflexible and brittle; poke the schedules and they break. The airlines are dinosaurs, and they know it. If they don’t get congress to take out the mammals, they’re done.

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3 Responses to “Air taxes”

  1. Keith Says:

    These little “personal” planes you are promoting, do they have more than one engine? I have been on a plane that has had an engine flame out and I was damn glad that there were three more to keep me in the air. If I was a regular business flyer, I think I would like to place myself in the safer aircraft.

    Also, I know someone who used to like to fly so they could make-out with whoever was sitting next to them. That would be impossible in this “New Travel World” that you are suggesting.

    On the other hand, I guess I would not worry about hijackings in a small plane where I am the only passenger (or with a few friends).

  2. Dennis Peterson Says:

    Eclipse has two engines: http://www.eclipseaviation.com/

    Don’t know how safety would compare to the big jets, but on the other hand, there was a story in USAToday recently about an increasing number of near-midairs at a lot of the hub airports, and at least you bypass that.

    Your friend is either luckier or less selective than me, but as far as that goes, Dayjet might be better…you’re not necessarily flying alone, you’ll get scheduled to go with someone else who’s heading your way…and you’ll have more privacy too

  3. A Fly on the Wall Says:

    You know, the proposed changes wouldn’t just affect the jet traffic at smaller airports, but also the little single-engine (horrors!!) private planes, owned just for (again, horrors!!) pleasure by everyday people. The restrictions and fees would, for all intents and purposes, wipe out recreational aviation. Not a big loss, disinterested parties may say, yet there are worthy individuals who partake in that hobby who feel otherwise… 😉

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