The Price Of Air Travel
Steve Sexton at the Freakanomics blog has an informative post about the cost of air travel. But the costs he discusses are not the kind that affect ticket prices; rather, he analyzes the cost of time for delayed and canceled flights. He writes:
Researchers at MIT and George Mason University estimate that delayed and canceled flights imposed on passengers an aggregate delay of 28,500 years in 2007. The cost of these delays, and of risk-averting behavior like traveling early to destinations, was estimated at $15.3 billion, a startling number that accounts for the opportunity cost of time but doesn’t measure the consequences of missing critical appointments like weddings or job interviews.
While Sexton refers specifically to airline cancellations, his larger point is about the time costs to passengers. This study mirrors recent observations from SaveKCI’s blogger Kevin Koster:
Yesterday, I had to make a day trip to Denver. As I tweeted yesterday morning, it literally took me only 8-minutes from the time I locked my car in the KCI garage until I was through security and standing at the gate ready to board. By comparison that afternoon in Denver, it took me 45 minutes from the time I was dropped at the curb until I was at the gate – and I was told the security lines were unusually short.
More impressive though was our return to KC. It took me less time to get from the gate to my home than it did in Denver to get from the gate to a waiting cab outside. To the business traveler time is money – on average $150/hr. We should be selling KCI’s “private jet speed” convenience to businesses in other markets, rather than considering destroying it.
Airport administrators want to move to airport models used elsewhere in the country to maximize revenue. Kansas Citians like Kansas City International Airport because it allows them to be efficient with their time. For many in the region, this time cost is the most important.