As of this past Saturday, my brother is now a married man. He and his wife live in California, and I spent Halloween attending their wedding and the past week visiting with my family in that state. I am happy I was able to take a week off from my day job and spend it with my relatives for the occasion. It was a beautiful ceremony and a fun reception and party, and within a few weeks, the new couple will be traveling to Costa Rica for their honeymoon.
The wedding was on Halloween, but costumes were not required.
I was happy to find a great deal on airfare for the cross-country travel. Delta Airlines offered a rate of $250 including tax for the round trip travel from John F. Kennedy International Airport to Los Angeles International Airport. This rate is about $100 less than the lowest rate I have ever paid for a trip for the Philadelphia or New York area to the Los Angeles area and several hundred dollars less than the typical rate.
In order to qualify for this low rate, I had to make a few sacrifices:
- JFK is not my preferred airport. Either Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) or Philadelphia International Airport (PHL) are more convenient.
- When checking in for departure online, I was charged $15 for checking a bag in addition to my carry-on luggage.
- After arriving at the airport, checking my luggage, and proceeding through security, I was directed towards a shuttle bus to take us to our gate at a different terminal.
- On the flight, we are treated to amenities like a full-featured, personal media center but if we want a meal we would need to pay at least $8.
- The seats on the flight offer less legroom than I am used to from other airlines like JetBlue and Continental. By the time I booked the flight, exit rows and bulkhead seats were unavailable.
- LAX is not my preferred airport, either. A better choice for the Los Angeles area, where my brother lives, is Long Beach Airport (LGB). When visiting my mother, I would prefer John Wayne Airport (SNA) in Orange County.
- Unable to check in online in advance for the return trip, I was charged $20 for having a bag checked. I also left a tip for curbside check-in.
Considering the price was half of what I might otherwise pay for a trip to California, I was willing to put up with a few annoyances. Although I like JetBlue, I feel no particular loyalty to any one company. I do not travel enough for frequent flier rewards to have any impact on my purchasing behavior.
Do you have a favorite or preferred airline or airport? Do you stick to your favorites or are you willing to compromise on comfort for a great airfare?
Photo credit: Hong Kong dear Edward
Updated January 16, 2010 and originally published November 2, 2009.