Better service, at a fraction of the cost – but it will all come down to reliability …
That’s our assessment, flying Great Lakes Airlines in the first weekend of service to Northwestern Minnesota. We caught the 3pm flight out of the Regional Airport Friday, and that’s where we ran into University of North Dakota Student, Jared Lennon – on a college student budget and short on time, determined to get home to his brother’s high school graduation in Marion, Illinois Saturday and back in time for UND Summer School, starting today.
Jared booked his ticket through Delta on-line and got a great rate, checking his baggage in Thief River Falls through to his destination in St. Louis, Missouri. He said he found out about the fare from his mom, tipped off by grand parents in Fosston – so he booked the flight and drove from Grand Forks finding a bonus in free parking. We ran into him again on the return trip and asked how the overall flight had gone. Jared said he would have given it a top 10, except for the delay in Minneapolis – so he had to drop it to an “8.”
Ah, yes – the delay – 2 and a half hours in the Twin Cities for mechanical or weather related problems. It was frustrating, but the sunny afternoon and sunny attitude of our flight attendant did much to ease the anxiety of arriving at 6:30pm instead of 4pm, dropping us off in Thief River Falls in one short hour while the rest of the passengers flew on to the Oil Patch in Williston, North Dakota.
Yes, I did say flight attendant, and there was a bathroom on board, the afternoon flight served by a larger aircraft than the early morning and evening flights. For the News Room, the flight delay seemed typical of aviation in general. We were impressed by the ease of finding ticket counters, the much more convenient concourse gate, and the fact that bags fly free … and we will be reviewing our experience on Great Lakes when we talk with Mark Allen today, on Open Line.