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On the Cheapness of Air Travel

We’ve blogged quite a bit about the vagaries of airline travel. One point we’ve made is that, thanks to fierce competition, the cost of airline travel is, relatively speaking, dirt cheap. This also means, of course, that airlines have to try to make people happy on skimpy revenues, even as prices for things like fuel, labor, and insurance may rise.

But I was reminded this past week of just how dirt cheap airline travel can be. I flew out to Chicago to do some work with Levitt, and my round-trip ticket from LaGuardia to O’Hare cost less than the combined ground travel: a car service from my apartment to LaGuardia and back, and a taxi from O’Hare to Levitt’s house and back. That is an amazing testament to either the high price of ground transportation, the low price of air travel, and/or both.

And what about the airline experience, which in this case happened to be aboard United? It was dreadful — although I am sick of complaining about it, which means I’m sure that you’re sick of hearing about it, so I’ll spare you the details.