Sunday, July 21, 2013

Give Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport (KAVP) opportunity to take flight

Due to the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport's history of spotty service and high fares, many local travelers reflexively look elsewhere when planning their itineraries.

Airport managers are on the mark in urging local travelers to consider the entire picture before booking a flight from another airport.

The airport has installed a cost calculator on its website ( that estimates the total cost for a local resident who takes a flight from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, as opposed to Lehigh Valley, Newark and Philadelphia. Those airports are favored by Northeast Pennsylvania residents who bypass AVP, according to the local airport's management.

The calculator includes not only comparable fares, but travel time to the other airports along with mileage, tolls and long-term parking costs.

Those factors often equalize the differences between fares, all the more so for travelers who often book hotel rooms near distant airports to more easily make early-morning departures.

There are, of course, many other factors that drive booking decisions. Some travelers prefer direct flights rather than changing planes. Some prefer larger aircraft to the regional jets and commuter aircraft that dominate local service.

But, since overall price is a key consideration in almost all travel, AVP officials are wise to emphasize the total costs when a local fare is higher than one at a competing airport.

Ultimately, successful service breeds more service, and that breeds competition that can bring lower fares.

Sometimes, the local airport won't be able to match fares from Lehigh Valley and the big hubs at New York and Philadelphia. But it's worth taking a look, and assigning a price to a short ride home, through minimal congestion, after a long flight.

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