Airline industry is confusing

I can't make sense of the airline industry. I am trying to make a reservation to Atlanta from Roanoke. I have a complicated trip, so I will try a multi-city trip, Roanoke - Atlanta - DC - Roanoke. Here is part of the trip itinerary that I got from Orbitz:

  • Roanoke - Charlotte, NC
  • Charlotte, NC - Richmond, VA
  • Richmond, VA - Atlanta

How in the world does that make sense? I first travel South, about 1/3 of the way to my destination, then I backtrack further away from the destination, to then re-travel there. Just look at this image below, it shows how insane this is.

A better option would have been:

  • Roanoke - Charlotte, NC
  • Charlotte, NC - Roanoke
  • Roanoke - Atlanta

That way if I forgot something at home, I can call my wife, she can deliver it to the airport and I can pick it up on my stop at my original destination. More flexible, more options.

Ok, so, I gave up on the multi-city. I figure, Roanoke-Atlanta round trip and I'll just drive to DC. I changed some of my parameters and stated "I prefer non-stop flights". Then I got the following options.

  • Delta Roanoke - Atlanta round trip $927
  • US Airways Roanoke - Charlotte - Atlanta $396

In these days of $4+ per gallon of gas and $130+ barrel of oil, how in the world is it that the shorter flight with fewer airport fees, fewer baggage handling, is almost 3 times as much the other choice? It just doesn't make sense.

I just don't understand the airline business model. This is just ridiculous.

That shortest path algorithm being used by the Orbitz (and approved by the airlines) has got to be more corrupt than a bookie in Vegas (no offense to bookies in Vegas intended). There has got to be kick backs in that thing like you wouldn't believe. Lets just hope that mapping services like Map Quest and Google Maps and GPS companies like TomTom and Garmin don't get a hold of that algorithm or you will be driving around your block every time you head out of your house, with possibly even going back into the garage once or twice before you get out of your neighborhood.

Posted on 06/11/2008



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