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casper May 8, 2014 4:52 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by rike5 (Post 6569308)
Winnipeg is notorious for travelers deciding to hop across the US border to catch cheaper flights out of North Dakota or Minnesota from places like Grand Forks. I don't know exactly how extensive the problem is from a purely quantative standpoint (the news may be exaggerating somewhat), but i'm sure it adds up to alot of lost revenue for airlines operating out of Winnipeg International.

You hear the same thing about Vancouver (Bellingham - Seattle), Toronto (Buffalo), Montreal. The reality is the people who are doing this on average on low yielding vacationers. In a business setting once you factor in the time your paying your employee to do this and the ground transportation costs there is not much of a savings.

Honestly I don't think the airlines care that much. If they were losing passengers that purchase tickets last minute and are willing to pay the premium for the non-stop flight they would care.

roccerfeller May 8, 2014 6:19 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jmt18325 (Post 6569084)
Wtf is wrong with Winnipeg? The city is growing but the airport traffic isn't. I don't understand.

definitely head scratching

plus, you'd think of how isolated the city is and the hub it is for the general region, that it would have more travelers than less

north 42 May 8, 2014 12:27 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by rike5 (Post 6569308)
Winnipeg is notorious for travelers deciding to hop across the US border to catch cheaper flights out of North Dakota or Minnesota from places like Grand Forks. I don't know exactly how extensive the problem is from a purely quantative standpoint (the news may be exaggerating somewhat), but i'm sure it adds up to alot of lost revenue for airlines operating out of Winnipeg International.

Same with Windsor and area, most head to Detroit Metro Airport as it's cheaper, has way more options than our airport, and is only 20 minutes away. Windsor International Airport struggles to increase passenger levels, but has been slowly growing it's numbers.

isaidso May 8, 2014 1:15 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by roccerfeller (Post 6569404)
definitely head scratching

plus, you'd think of how isolated the city is and the hub it is for the general region, that it would have more travelers than less

As well as the region is doing, it's still a very sparsely populated part of the world. It's a hub for about 1.5 million people tops and doesn't benefit from being a connecting city like Halifax does.

esquire May 8, 2014 1:43 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by rike5 (Post 6569308)
Winnipeg is notorious for travelers deciding to hop across the US border to catch cheaper flights out of North Dakota or Minnesota from places like Grand Forks. I don't know exactly how extensive the problem is from a purely quantative standpoint (the news may be exaggerating somewhat), but i'm sure it adds up to alot of lost revenue for airlines operating out of Winnipeg International.

The WAA claims that 250,000 people a year from Winnipeg or Southern Manitoba fly out of Grand Forks/Fargo/Minot/Minneapolis. That number seems impossibly high to me... almost 5,000 people a week, really?

Grand Forks is the most convenient of these airports and it's still over 2 hours away... it only has a handful of flights a day, just some Delta Connections to Minneapolis and Allegiant flights to Phoenix, Vegas and Orlando. Whatever the number, I don't doubt that many people drive south. But when you consider that these are generally the most price-sensitive vacation travellers, I'm not sure that it has that great of an impact on the airlines insofar as their Winnipeg operations are concerned... WAA probably feels it a lot more since everyone pays the same AIF.

I suspect that Winnipeg's flat numbers probably have more to do with the fact that: a) the city's economy is not growing at a fast enough rate to push those numbers up significantly, and b) the airport is not the hub that it once was... it used to be somewhat common for people heading east-west to connect here, but that virtually never happens anymore. Sask was pretty much the last holdout feeding into Winnipeg, but now they have direct flights to just about everywhere you can go from YWG.

Biff May 8, 2014 2:31 PM

I don't know, our office has about 12 people and at least 5 almost exclusively use Grand Forks as their vacation gateway to US destinations. We just had friends over on the weekend who do all of their US travel through Grand Forks. It seems that it is used more than we think. The kicker is it seems only reasonable for families who would save on the price of 4 tickets for example.....I don't think it makes sense for a single traveler.

SignalHillHiker May 8, 2014 2:56 PM

Update from St. John's International Airport:

Due to the overwhelming success of WestJet's sales for its new service between St. John's and Dublin (starting June 15), the airline has announced service has been extended until October 25th. WestJet has also started offering daily direct service t/f Ottawa and an extra flight to Toronto will be added for the season.

I'm so excited about this one. I'd love for us to start building a stronger contemporary connection with Ireland - especially culturally. I'd like for people here to be as intimately familiar with Dublin as they are with mainland Canadian cities, primarily HFX and TO. Even though we expect to be similar, it's always a shock in both directions just how identical things really are. I want that shock to be erased.

Even the other day, Ayreonaut's friend from Ireland told him she'd booked her flight to Toronto and sent him the message, "I'm after booking my flight to TO." - he had to share it with jeddy1989 and I because that's how we talk. :haha:

SignalHillHiker May 8, 2014 3:06 PM

Everyone I knew in Winnipeg who flew south for the winter, which was A LOT, flew out of North Dakota. Flights and vehicle storage were WAY cheaper.

drew May 8, 2014 3:11 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by roccerfeller (Post 6569404)
definitely head scratching

plus, you'd think of how isolated the city is and the hub it is for the general region, that it would have more travelers than less

It's not that hard to figure out.

We get absolutely bent-over in terms of what flights airlines will offer us here. Very limited selection, essentially the same flights offered from either Regina or Saskatoon. People always use the excuse that there is no demand for more routes in Winnipeg, but it's kind of a catch 22. There is no demand, because there are no flights, and for better or worse, Winnipeg is not a market that anyone seems to want to take a chance on.

And yes, the Grand Forks option is always there for much cheaper and more convenient non-stop flights to major US locations.

SignalHillHiker May 8, 2014 3:31 PM

I don't think people in Canada's largest cities realize how detrimental the stranglehold Canadian airlines have on domestic/international travel is for everyone else.

Take me, for example. Right now I can fly to Dublin direct on Westjet, and then get a separate RyanAir to any destination in Europe for cheaper than it would be to fly just about anywhere else in Canada - and WAY cheaper than it would be to fly anywhere you'd actually want to go, like MTL or TO.

I'll probably spend less going St. John's-Dublin-Moscow than it costs to go St. John's-TO. giallo can fly from Shanghai to TO for cheaper than I can usually get St. John's-TO flights.

That's ridiculous.

You do that in areas with easy access to U.S. airports, and you lose passengers.

Just checking for next week on Air Canada...

The cheapest direct flight from St. John's to TO (approximately 3.5 hours in the air each way) is $909.93, non-refundable, return. It's almost double that for the same seat, just refundable/insured.

For Westjet...

It's $917.84 return.

For Halifax-TO (approximately 2.5 hours in the air each way), it's $671.39. For Halifax-St. John's (approximately 1.5 hours in the air each way), it's $582.94.

On RyanAir, going from Dublin to Zadar would be $236.78, return.

esquire May 8, 2014 4:00 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Biff (Post 6569627)
I don't know, our office has about 12 people and at least 5 almost exclusively use Grand Forks as their vacation gateway to US destinations. We just had friends over on the weekend who do all of their US travel through Grand Forks. It seems that it is used more than we think. The kicker is it seems only reasonable for families who would save on the price of 4 tickets for example.....I don't think it makes sense for a single traveler.

Agree with you there. The only people I know who drive down to Minneapolis (7 hours by car) are those of families of 4 or more, and the savings can be reasonably substantial with that many people. It's far less appealing a proposition with only 1 or 2 people travelling.

On the other hand, the shorter drive to Grand Forks means that it can make sense for smaller parties.

I'm not sure that this bleeding to the US is really that much of a game changer, though... if GFK and FAR didn't exist, I think at best we might have a few more flights a week to Vegas, and year-round daily service to Phoenix... that's about it. It's not like Grand Forks is preventing Winnipeg from getting service to Europe or something like that.

drew May 8, 2014 4:19 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by esquire (Post 6569771)
Agree with you there. The only people I know who drive down to Minneapolis (7 hours by car) are those of families of 4 or more, and the savings can be reasonably substantial with that many people. It's far less appealing a proposition with only 1 or 2 people travelling.

On the other hand, the shorter drive to Grand Forks means that it can make sense for smaller parties.

I'm not sure that this bleeding to the US is really that much of a game changer, though... if GFK and FAR didn't exist, I think at best we might have a few more flights a week to Vegas, and year-round daily service to Phoenix... that's about it. It's not like Grand Forks is preventing Winnipeg from getting service to Europe or something like that.

Most people I know who fly out of Grand Forks go to more major centers like LA and points out east.

Chadillaccc May 8, 2014 4:37 PM

I guess all of those reasons (going to the states) is part of why Calgary's airport has been so successful. We have absolutely no large american cities within a reasonable distance of the city. The nearest border crossing is like a 4 hour drive.

drew May 8, 2014 4:42 PM

^ Westjet and Air Canada are also a large reason why Calgary is successful. They funnel a lot of people to Calgary within the "hub and spoke" system.

esquire May 8, 2014 4:54 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by drew (Post 6569797)
Most people I know who fly out of Grand Forks go to more major centers like LA and points out east.

Really? Wow, I'm surprised... I have never been able to price out a trip out of Grand Forks on Delta that was anything more than marginally cheaper (to the point of not being worth the drive) compared to flying out of Winnipeg.

drew May 8, 2014 5:57 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by esquire (Post 6569842)
Really? Wow, I'm surprised... I have never been able to price out a trip out of Grand Forks on Delta that was anything more than marginally cheaper (to the point of not being worth the drive) compared to flying out of Winnipeg.

As a recent example I know someone who along with his wife and kid is flying from Grand Forks to LA, return, all in for around $850.

bikegypsy May 8, 2014 6:38 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by SignalHillHiker (Post 6569721)
I don't think people in Canada's largest cities realize how detrimental the stranglehold Canadian airlines have on domestic/international travel is for everyone else.

Take me, for example. Right now I can fly to Dublin direct on Westjet, and then get a separate RyanAir to any destination in Europe for cheaper than it would be to fly just about anywhere else in Canada - and WAY cheaper than it would be to fly anywhere you'd actually want to go, like MTL or TO.

I'll probably spend less going St. John's-Dublin-Moscow than it costs to go St. John's-TO. giallo can fly from Shanghai to TO for cheaper than I can usually get St. John's-TO flights.

That's ridiculous.

You do that in areas with easy access to U.S. airports, and you lose passengers.

Just checking for next week on Air Canada...

The cheapest direct flight from St. John's to TO (approximately 3.5 hours in the air each way) is $909.93, non-refundable, return. It's almost double that for the same seat, just refundable/insured.

For Westjet...

It's $917.84 return.

For Halifax-TO (approximately 2.5 hours in the air each way), it's $671.39. For Halifax-St. John's (approximately 1.5 hours in the air each way), it's $582.94.

On RyanAir, going from Dublin to Zadar would be $236.78, return.

I once read that the first casualty in a monopoly is customer service... This would explain AC's crap offering and below average service. I travel quite a bit in Asia and have been spoiled by the warmth of the staff on airlines such as Korean or Asiana. As for prices, an hour flight is around $50. I recently checked a flight from Bangkok to Seoul: $120 tax in one-way for a 6 hour journey. But this is an unfair comparison as cities the size of Toronto are a dime-a-dozen in Asia. Having said this, I have no clue as to what will happen to the offering in the relatively middle size markets (outside Mtl, TO and Vancouver) if and when this industry is completely deregulated.

SignalHillHiker May 8, 2014 6:50 PM

For us, it's hard to imagine what the outcome could be.

We had a greater selection of airlines and destinations prior to joining Canada, but at that time all trans-Atlantic flights had to stop in Newfoundland to re-fuel. So even if Air Canada's relative monopoly is destroyed and that horrible airline is relegated to the trash bin of history where it belongs, we'll never receive the level of service we enjoyed pre-1949 ever again. Also, Gander was the main airport for the entire island back then.

Newspaper ad from 1942:

http://i.imgur.com/IIa3Tp5.jpg

I imagine the result would be a significant drop in air fares for destinations on the Canadian mainland and a small but still significantly improved selection of international destinations - but, overall, less service at a better price. I'm willing to accept that.

For sure Texas and Norway would be direct flights, as they both account for a huge percentage of the growth at YYT. And, given the success WestJet has had with its direct St. John's-Dublin flight, I imagine that would continue as well.

I also think it's a slight possibility that some international airlines wouldn't have the snobbery of Air Canada and would bring some trans-Atlantic flights down in the Maritimes or Newfoundland to fill them up. It's been annoying as hell having to fly 3.5 hours west to Toronto and then back again to Europe. It more than doubles the distance. Sorry, TO businessmen, a 45-minute stop for you isn't worth more than 7 hours for me.

Cruise lines do it all the time. Disney Cruise Lines just added a stop in St. John's to its Stockholm-NYC run. And that adds way more time to the journey than a little dip to an international airport.

*****

BTW, just for laughs.

Departing: June 16
Returning: June 20

St. John's - Dublin (4 hr 15 mins; Westjet): $743.49
St. John's - Dublin (NON-DIRECT; Air Canada): $2,324.53
St. John's - Toronto (3 hr 26 mins; Westjet): $846.65
St. John's - Toronto (Air Canada): $681.67

However, you can get seat sales that drop to price to $500-$550 for the St. John's-TO flight. I chose the cheapest, non-discounted fares to compare.

rbt May 8, 2014 6:50 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Biff (Post 6569627)
I don't know, our office has about 12 people and at least 5 almost exclusively use Grand Forks as their vacation gateway to US destinations. We just had friends over on the weekend who do all of their US travel through Grand Forks. It seems that it is used more than we think.

It can't be that popular. Grand Forks (GFK) has about 5% the passenger count of YWG.

Some vacationing families are sometimes willing to go a number of extra steps but they also tend not to travel very often; although they may quite vocal about their travels as it was a unique experience for them.

eemy May 8, 2014 7:16 PM

Part of the reason for all the service back then likely would have been that the airlines didn't have any choice but to stop in Newfoundland.


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