Letter: Words from a frequent flyer

Airlines, like any other business respond to competition

Disclaimer: I like Jake Kimberley and respect what he has done for our town.

However, Jake’s comments about airline fares (Western News, Feb. 14, Soaring costs of flying) is perpetuating myths. I refer to his comments about the supposed savings he made by flying out of Kelowna’s airport (YLW). Like many others in this town he only looks at the airfare when calculating trip costs. Add in the hotel costs, the parking, the round trip mileage costs for one’s auto (50 cents/km) and quickly the savings evaporate.

But there is more. Airlines, like any other business, respond to competition. YLW has been more aggressive promoting itself than Penticton (partly because Penticton’s (YYF) is still operated by Transport Canada, but let’s leave that issue aside for the moment). The more passengers going through its terminal, the more airlines want to access those clients. If Jake and his colleagues would always use YYC there would be much more demand than current flights could accommodate. Suddenly Air Canada would fly YYF to Calgary (YYC) and Westjet would fly to Vancouver (YVR) and prices would drop – how much, not sure, but I often check the cost of flying Westjet YYF to YYC and it is more than going YLW to YYC. So I am willing to bet that with competition, that fare would come down as I believe would also happen if AC had competition to YVR.

So let’s not raise our voices in horror about the price differential, but rather encourage everyone to use YYF. Even the Vees last year took their bus to YLW to take their trip through YYC when they could have used the WJ flight out of YYF. Jake, you argued for SOEC to keep entertainment dollars in town. Use the same logic and help us get people to quit thinking they are saving money by driving up to Kelowna to fly. I remember when two airlines flew through YYF daily and the prices were very competitive; but people thought otherwise and slowly YLW took more and more south Okanagan business. It’s time to reverse the drain, before we lose our airport altogether.

If you are a frequent flyer, use your air carrier’s website and you’ll often save even more – at least I do.

Glenn Sinclair


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