Estimated reading time: 3 minutes, 13 seconds
I'm very analytical on everything I do... so it's no surprise that when I travel, I try to get the most for my money. After all, the extra money I am giving to the airlines could be working to make me additional money on my marketing endeavors.... Yes, everything unfortunately has a cost. More specifically, everything has an opportunity cost. What am I giving up by spending more on a ticket? What am I forfeiting by driving 4 hours to an airport to save 1K? Could the time I spent traveling be better spent making money and opting for the closest airport instead? Fortunately for me, I can be productive about anywhere that has an internet connection or in the very least electricity. But not everyone has that option.
But it's not ALL about the money for me. I also take into consideration what cities I will get to sample during the layovers and even the type of aircraft I will be flying on. In the Chicago example, we would get to sample London. I've always wanted to go there, it'd be a neat way to get a taste of the country before actually committing to it.
So as you can see, it's not all about the money. Don't get me wrong, I'm not one to jump over dollar bills to pick up pennies. It's so easy to do that if you don't plan carefully and take everything into consideration.
This brings me to my goal: I would like to visit Berlin, a place I used to live as a child. To get this done the way I want it and get it done cost effectively, I start crunching the numbers, as illustrated in the table below.
The following table highlights flights originating from different cities for two (2) passengers arriving in Berlin, Germany (TXL - Tegal Airport) at varying times.
**You can scroll by swiping the table to the right (mobile or touch screen) and by using the scrolling bar at the table's bottom.
|From Columbus, OH (CMH)||From Chicago, IL (ORD)||From Huntington, WV (HTS)||From Washington, DC (BWI)|
|Total Airfare: 2521.92 American Airlines - American Airlines||Total Airfare: 1,002.90 - American Airlines||Total Airfare: $2,598.92- American Airlines||Total Airfare: $1295.92 Wow Air - Iceland|
|Bags Included Carry on: No fee 1st checked bag: No fee up to 50 lbs 2nd checked bag: $100.00 up to 50 lbs||Bags Included Carry on: No fee 1st checked bag: No fee up to 50 lbs 2nd checked bag: $100.00 up to 50 lbs||Bags Included Carry on: No fee 1st checked bag: No fee up to 50 lbs 2nd checked bag: $100.00 up to 50 lbs||Bags Included None Carry On: $67.50 per leg 2nd Carry On:|
|Total Travel Time 13 Hrs 59 Min Outbound 14 Hrs 07 Min Inbound||Total Travel Time 11 Hrs 20 Min Oubound 14 Hrs 07 Min Inbound||Total Travel Time 14 Hrs 6 Min Outbound 27 Hrs 7 Min Inbound||Total Travel Time Unknown|
|Total Rewards Miles (coach) 9086||Total Rewards Miles 9092||Total Rewards Miles 9472||Total Rewards Miles 000|
|Equipment (Inbound and Outbound) Regional Jet (outbound) Airbus A330 (outbound) Regional Jet (inbound) Airbus A330 (inbound)||Equipment (Inbound and Outbound) Boeing 747-400 Airbus A320 Boeing 767-300||Equipment (Inbound and Outbound) Dehavilland Dash 8-300, Airbus A320||Equipment (Inbound and Outbound) Airbus A320|
|Total Layovers 1 Outbound 2 Inbound||Total Layovers 1 Outbound 2 Inbound||Total Layovers 2 Outbound 2 Inbound||Total Layovers 1|
|Layover Cities Charlotte New York City Chicago||Layover Cities London||Layover Cities Charlotte, JFK||Layover Cities Reykjavik, Iceland|
|Drive Time to Airport 20 Minutes||Drive Time to Airport Aprox 6 hours||Drive Time to Airport 3 Hours (from Columbus)||Drive Time to Airport 6 Hours 30 Min|
|Extra Expenses (gas, hotel, parking) $28 Uber or long term parking at CMH.||Extra Expenses (gas, hotel, parking) $40 Gas, $115 Hotel, $60 Airport Parking||Extra Expenses (gas, hotel, parking) $35||Extra Expenses (gas, hotel, parking) $50 Gas, $115 hotel, $70 Airport Parking|
|Total Estimated Cost $2549.92||Total Estimated Cost $1217.90||Total Estimated Cost 2633.92||Total Estimated Cost $1530.92|
**Remember, to see all options, scroll the table above by swiping to the right (mobile or touch screen) and by using the scrolling bar at the table’s bottom.
One thing I like to consider are rewards perks. You can often get a free flight or nice upgrades (especially useful on a long journey) if you stay loyal to one airline. I prefer American Airlines or Delta; but my calcuations are based on American below.
**based on an economy fare. You can click on the image to get a better view.
There are advantages to flying First/Business class, especially if you are going a long distance. If you are interested in how I evaluate that, check out my post below.
Traveling the World First|Business Class - Getting the Most for Your Money
Below is a sample Rewards Chart from American Airlines.
So as you can see, specific attention needs to be made in the number of miles you are giving up by not being loyal to a particular airline. Is it worth the extra costs? It just depends on your goals and your situation in life. The point is, to get the best value for your situation, you need to look at everything that goes into the equation. By flying to an airport away from your home base you most likely will incur extra costs such as gas and lodging. Be smart and choose your options carefully.
Personally, I chose to leave from Chicago on this trip. Why?
- It is relatively close and I've made the trip a couple of times before.
I get American Airlines miles for the trip.
It's more than half the cost of leaving from Columbus - money I can put into something else. Why let the airline have it?