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Jun 25th 2008 3:53PM The cost of air travel is, for most people, not the actual cost associated with the purchase of the ticket. It is the inconvenience, lies, and unpredictable (and sometimes, seemingly unsafe) nature it has taken.
(Also, there's another factor with air travel in the Midwest I'll touch on in a moment.)
When a person pays that $400 or $500 for their round trip ticket ($235 round-trip? did you reserve it a year and a half in advance? that kind of price is nice when you can plan your life that far into the future) a month in advance, they're expecting for it to run smoothly. They've just paid a fairly large sum of money for a trip - for which their travel dates and times have been verified. That is the product they have just purchased.
Then, when they get to the airport, and they are fed an entirely different line of thought, they'll feel cheated. Because they paid $100 extra to leave by 1pm, and they're still leaving on the 4pm flight due to "delays". Or because they scheduled their flights mid-week to cut on cost and ensure a lower likelihood of delays, and the airport is packed, with cancellations and delays which were only common during the holidays, during bad weather, up until very recently.
And then, when you miss your connecting flight due to the official excuse of "flight delayed", the airline does nothing about but knock you to the next flight.
As for traveling on other modes of transportation, it's not reasonably tenable if you're in the Midwest. We're talking a full day of travel (24+ hours on-the-road) by car to get from the Midwest to a coast.