Sunday, November 13, 2016

Ron Lattner: Santa Fe Municipal Airport is cute — but doesn’t work

Ron Lattner gained his private pilot’s license at the Santa Fe airport in the mid-60s, then flight instruction and commercial flying in Denver, Reno, Nev., and Portland, Ore., while working full-time for a major corporation in the computer industry. He finally retired and lives in Santa Fe with his wife.

Living in Santa Fe, it seemed really convenient to be able to fly out of Santa Fe instead of having to drive to the Albuquerque airport for departure and arrival. Of course the trip options are basically through Denver or Dallas, but that seems to be improving with the addition of flights to Phoenix. The airport terminal is really cute and Santa Fe-ish, and with the recent remodel, it has greatly improved. This is all really good for Santa Fe.

The downer in this whole situation is the poor reliability of the airlines serving the airport. It seems that in a high percentage of our flights from or to Santa Fe, the airlines have been so late that we miss our connections. This has been due to late arrivals, crews not showing up on time and the inability to service more than one aircraft at a time. One flight being late prevents the next flight from operating on time. We have been stranded in other cities overnight because of these conditions, even on international flights.

On a recent United Airlines flight for my wife, departure was so late that it would miss her connection in Denver with no other United departure from there to her destination. She talked with the representatives at the airport about booking through an alternate airline, and they did not help in any way. She was told that she should take it up with the United Airline reps in Denver after she had missed the outgoing flight. I was able to call the United help center and connected with a lady who was wonderful to deal with. She was able to book my wife on a Delta Air Lines flight from Denver to Salt Lake City, and then another to her destination. As it turned out, her rebooked Delta flight had left Santa Fe after the United flight on which she was booked. In other words, in Santa Fe, she could have just boarded the next outgoing Delta flight.

Our flight failures have not been just on one airline but have been consistent on all three — United, Delta and American Airlines. We have come to the conclusion that we can no longer tolerate the flight delays inherent in flying from Santa Fe. This is something that Mayor Javier Gonzales needs to take a hard stand with the airlines on. The airport is just not working.

Original article can be found here:

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