Getting there, directly

southwest jet elevating

Its direct flight to Atlanta may be "direct" -- not direct.

After seeing this week that Southwest is adding a direct flight from ALB to Atlanta, we were curious about how many places we (or you or anyone) could fly directly from the Albany International Airport -- and how much it costs (versus a non-direct flight). [Southwest] [TU]

We're now boarding with the answer...

Before we take off

There's a distinction to be made between "direct" and "non-stop." In conversation, we use the term "direct" to mean "I got on a plane, it took off, it landed and we were there." We suspect most people use the term the same way. Those people aren't in the airline industry. "Direct" just means you don't have to get off the plane -- but it could still make a stop. "Non-stop" is actually the word we're looking for here. It means pretty much what it sounds like. (We've also included non-non-stop flights below -- you know, "direct.")

As it happens, that flight from ALB to Atlanta (Southwest 978) is one-stop, with a layover at BWI. So, it's "direct," but not direct. It starts February 12, 2012.

Route lists from the ALB website. Price data from Kayak (except for Southwest, in which case we used its website). Prices are for roundtrip. The one-stop price is from the cheapest flight listed. Distances from TravelMath.

Oh, and more thing: many of these flights may be direct or non-stop one way, but not the other. Yep, you might be able to fly non-stop going, just not on the way back.

Non-stop

Direct

The -est

Of the 24 non-stop flights from ALB...

+ The cheapest were Cape Air's flights to points around upstate New York ($119).

+ The most expensive: Air Canada to Toronto ($715).

+ The shortest: US Airways flight to LaGuardia, at 136 miles.

+ The longest: Southwest to Las Vegas -- 2,237 miles.

+ The best "value" (that is, most miles per fare dollar): Southwest to Las Vegas at 4.45 miles per dollar. Southwest to Fort Lauderdale was the runner-up at 4.28.

+ The worst "value" (fewest miles per fare dollar): Air Canada to Toronto (.42) and Cape Air to Boston (.48)

+ Speaking of distance and price, we thought it might be interesting to see those charted with each other. Was it? Sort of. Maybe not:


photo: Flickr user samholland

Comments

Southwest, listen up! Atlanta is fine, but when will you link us directly to Austin (actually, non-stop, please)? Two great cities, joined together at last. A man can dream....

14 non-stop destinations that are actually flying distance

(NYC, Newark, Boston, Watertown, Massena, and Ogdensburg are not flying distance...and I'm being generous with Philly, since someone could actually need to get there for something important on short notice, unlike watertown, massena, and ogdensburg)

At least one of them is vegas. That's really the saving grace of Albany air travel...Fort Lauderdale's not so bad either

I've actually driven to Boston (Logan) the last four trips I made to avoid outrageous airfares out of Albany. It's ironic that driving to Boston saved me more than 50% on the airfare and the entire trip (drive to Logan and flight) was less time as well vs Albany. Albany airport is simply not competitive.

I'm back and forth to Toronto every month or two and I never fly for two reasons: the fare is big and the plane is small.

I go out to California roughly every two months, and the airfare out of ALB is usually around $358. I occasionally go over to Logan or down to JFK to save a hundred bucks or so, but I combine it with a few days in Boston or New York City, respectively... makes it worth the extra expense to get there. Albany's main problem, I think, is the expense and pain in the a** of international travel - let's say you want to go to Amsterdam, for example. You have to fly to Detroit, going the wrong way, and then head over the pond. It's like a lot of things in Albany - they just take more time and trouble to accomplish than the same things would in a bigger place.

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