Apr 1, 2014 - Robert H. PeckIt's cheaper to fly from New York to Islamabad and from Denver to Riverton
As an out-of-state college student, I've been affected several times by Riverton's sometimes unpredictable air service in my quests to return home as quickly as possible over brief holiday breaks, and get back to Connecticut in time for classes.
To be fair, most of it has been weather-related. When it's snowing in Denver, Great Lakes Airlines seems to be one of the first to be affected, either coming or going.
However, I didn't quite grasp another aspect of air service until a few days back.
My roommate, Ken, a twenty-something American heavily invested in his family connections in Sri Lanka, was plotting a trip back to the old country a few months in advance.
Sitting in our room, the two of us looked at flights together, he for his trip to Sri Lanka and I for a flight from Denver to Riverton during our summer break.
Struck by the urge to see how the other half lives, we decided to compare our travel plans.
His flight: an Etihad Airways transatlantic voyage from New York JFK to Islamabad. Flight time 13 hours. Passengers will be served two full meals, sit through three feature-length films, and be offered a quilted blanket and surround-sound, noise-canceling speakers in a color of their choice, all complimentary.
My flight: a Great Lakes Airlines flight from Riverton Regional to Denver. Flight time one hour 10 minutes.
His plane: a Boeing 777, the world's largest twin-jet aircraft with a possible carrying capacity of 451 and a range of 9,380 miles. A remarkable feat of engineering, the 777 was the first computer-designed and computer co-piloted commercial plane ever built, made to traverse vast distances in a single jump. It serves eight airlines.
My plane: an Embraer-120 Brasilia, a turboprop with a possible carrying capacity of 30.
His travel distance: 6,760 miles, across an ocean, three continents, and nine time zones.
The areas served are so disparate that his booking page, like the pre-flight security briefing and the three movies, is presented to him in five languages.
My travel distance: just under 300 miles (no new times zones involved).
His price: $465.
My price: $492.
It seems to me that if Etihad Airways can manage transnational travel for such a price, then there's got to be a way of swinging something more affordable in Wyoming. At the very least, I could use the $27 difference to check the bag that he checks for free both ways.
That's part of what the new task force studying air service to Riverton will be looking into, I'm sure.
In the meantime, Ken decided to book his flight.
Me? I'm thinking it over. A ride from DTS -- the Dad Taxi Service -- still might be the way to go.
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