Alternate-Airports fail



  • I was looking on Travelocity randomly for cheap airfare between Sacramento and San Jose. $78: not too bad, really; that's $2.50 a mile or so, and you skip traffic. I wondered, "what it would cost with an alternate airport?" So I searched Sacramento to San Francisco: $440, yow!! Oh, wait, they have suggested alternate airports. I'll try that link. ... The results were less than stellar.

    Some highlights follow. Remember, this is Travelocity trying to get you from Sacramento to SFO. A map for your convenience.

    The number 2 suggestion: Okay, if you drive 86% of the way there the last 14% is... around $7 a mile? But you save $342!

    Price USD 98.00+ -  Save $342.00

    Select From:  (OAK)
      About 86 miles from Sacramento, CA (SMF)
    To:  (SFO)

     Or perhaps that doesn't strike your fancy: what about this alternate route, #3:

     Price USD 98.00+ -  Save $342.00

    Select From:  (SFO)
      About 99 miles from Sacramento, CA (SMF)
    To:  (OAK)
      About 13 miles from San Francisco, CA (SFO)

     Riiight. And, one final gem from near the end:

     Price USD 366.00+ -  Save $74.00

    Select From:  (SJC)
      About 108 miles from Sacramento, CA (SMF)
    To:  (MOD)
      About 90 miles from San Francisco, CA (SFO)

     



  • I love how it offers both OAK->SFO and SFO->OAK. That's priceless.



  • @joelkatz said:

    I love how it offers both OAK->SFO and SFO->OAK. That's priceless.
    Actually, it's $98 each way.



  •  Thanks for the map.  I know nothing about CA.



  • @SuperAnalyst said:

    Thanks for the map.  I know nothing about CA.
    You're welcome!



  •  Taxes, perhaps?



  •  Speaking of knowing nothing about California... It's only about 100 miles, why wouldn't you just drive?



  • @cdosrun said:

    Speaking of knowing nothing about California... It's only about 100 miles, why wouldn't you just drive?
     

    @fennec said:

    that's $2.50 a mile or so, and you skip traffic.

    I'm guessing it has something to do with traffic........

     



  • @cdosrun said:

    Speaking of knowing nothing about California... It's only about 100 miles, why wouldn't you just drive?
     

    I've an acquaintance in the Sacramento area without a car, but who would be able to get a ride to the airport easily enough. I was comparing the airfare to Amtrak (the primary vice of Amtrak being that it takes at least 3 hours).



  • TRWTF is that $78 / $2.50 = 31.2 miles, which is about 1/3rd of the actual distance.

     

    Also, $78 is fucking expensive.  I can fly to New York for $50 and it's twice as far.



  • @cdosrun said:

     Speaking of knowing nothing about California... It's only about 100 miles, why wouldn't you just drive?
    I made that drive recently.  It was a beautiful evening drive up/down the foothills on I-680. Unfortuantely, I had to leave around 6:00 PM on a Friday, meaning that it took nearly four hours to drive the 120 miles due to traffic and assorted junction suckyness.  I can see wanting to make the trip again if it were a weekend or I had the time to spare, but for a short business tirp, I'd probably prefer the air route (especially given how short the security lines are at San Jose Airport).  

    sigh  It does make me miss the scenery of I-271, though.  Yes, Alex, I'm looking at you.



  •  Tried to see what a trip look like from sacramento to San fransisco using Amtrak. It keeps telling me there are no route between stations :D That might explain the need for airplane.



  • @mann_jess said:

    @cdosrun said:

    Speaking of knowing nothing about California... It's only about 100 miles, why wouldn't you just drive?
     

    @fennec said:

    that's $2.50 a mile or so, and you skip traffic.

    I'm guessing it has something to do with traffic........

    Traffic must be pretty bad in that area, to be worth that much of a premium. As I said, I'd never been there.

     The "No Car" explanation works, though.

     



  • SFO -> OAK on [url=http://bart.gov]BART[/url] takes about an hour but it's only $8.80

    There are no flights from SFO to OAK or vice versa of course the plane probably wouldn't even ascend to 2,000 feet before it was time to land.

     



  • @tchize said:

     Tried to see what a trip look like from sacramento to San fransisco using Amtrak. It keeps telling me there are no route between stations :D That might explain the need for airplane.

     

    You have to take a bus from San Francisco to Emeryville to catch Amtrak there is no Amtrak station in San Francisco. Well, there is, but there's no train tracks there. That's where you catch the bus. 


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @medialint said:

    SFO -> OAK on BART takes about an hour but it's only $8.80

    There are no flights from SFO to OAK or vice versa of course the plane probably wouldn't even ascend to 2,000 feet before it was time to land.

     

    Actually, FedEx operates a flight that does that - they dump off packages in SFO, sit around, have lunch, and then jump over to OAK to pick stuff up, flying an empty plane.

     

    The reasons for this are threefold:
    1) There's a sizable enough volume differential that means that SFO needs an extra planeload for inbound packages, and OAK needs an extra for outbound packages
    2) It removes the logistics cost of trucking that differential from OAK to SFO
    3) Such a short flight in such a large cargo aircraft is INCREDIBLY workload intensive - it's a great flight to put a new aircrew on for qualification.

     There are also several passenger airlines that do the same thing in relatively frequent service (once or twice a week) - but they'll typically do it without passengers to prevent the inevitable outcry of environmentalists.



  • @Weng said:

    There are also several passenger airlines that do the same thing in relatively frequent service (once or twice a week) - but they'll typically do it without passengers to prevent the inevitable outcry of environmentalists.
    Wait, what?  Why would having no passengers quell the uproar from the environmentalists?  It seems to me that it's wasted resources and should increase the uproar.



  • @belgariontheking said:

    @Weng said:

    There are also several passenger airlines that do the same thing in relatively frequent service (once or twice a week) - but they'll typically do it without passengers to prevent the inevitable outcry of environmentalists.
    Wait, what?  Why would having no passengers quell the uproar from the environmentalists?  It seems to me that it's wasted resources and should increase the uproar.

     

    They can only complain about it if they know about it.



  • @belgariontheking said:

    @Weng said:

    There are also several passenger airlines that do the same thing in relatively frequent service (once or twice a week) - but they'll typically do it without passengers to prevent the inevitable outcry of environmentalists.
    Wait, what?  Why would having no passengers quell the uproar from the environmentalists?  It seems to me that it's wasted resources and should increase the uproar.

     

    It's that whole "if a tree falls in the woods..." gag.  If nobody rides on the plane, does it still hurt the environment?


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @belgariontheking said:

    Why would having no passengers quell the uproar from the environmentalists?  It seems to me that it's wasted resources and should increase the uproar.
    Consider the resources that go into an airline flight - you need a minimum of half an hour of gate time at the airport to load the plane (even if there are only 3 people going), which costs money (literally - airports charge by the minute for the right to have staff sitting at the gate and even more to park a plane there). You need a few minutes of extra time sitting at the gate on the other end to lose the passengers and reset the plane. You need staff to man both of those gates at both airports, and on such a short flight you will quite probably have more staff requirements than passengers. And then there's the cost of running their baggage through your system on both ends.

    It quickly outpaces the actual expense from fuel - a low power (because the plane is empty) takeoff followed by a shallow, short climb followed by a landing doesn't use all that much fuel anyway. The cost savings of moving the plane empty is simply too much compared to the possible profit from expected passenger volume.

    Nevermind that environmentalists aren't planespotters and thus don't have any easy way to find out when and where planes move to and from outside of what's printed on the published schedule.



  • @belgariontheking said:

    @Weng said:

    There are also several passenger airlines that do the same thing in relatively frequent service (once or twice a week) - but they'll typically do it without passengers to prevent the inevitable outcry of environmentalists.
    Wait, what?  Why would having no passengers quell the uproar from the environmentalists?  It seems to me that it's wasted resources and should increase the uproar.

    Why is it wasted?  The airline needs a jet that is currently at airport $foo to be at airport $bar instead, because $bar has far more flights leaving it.  $foo and $bar are very close together but if they offered tickets to the public environmentalists would complain about "wasted resources for people who don't want to drive a few miles".  The irony is that it's using resources more wisely since the flight has to occur and by selling tickets they can take a few passengers and make back a small portion of their money.  Unfortunately, environmentalists are idiots and busybodies who feel it is their right to stick their nose in everybody else's business so the airlines avoid having anyone on the flight to avoid bad press from a media that is so liberally-biased it would jump at the opportunity to push the environmentalist agenda with propaganda based on false assumptions.

     

    Does that clear things up?



  • No passengers would ever want to fly from San Francisco to Oakland or vice versa you'd have to be Idiot Of The Year to do so. If it isn't bloody painfully obvious why check a [url=http://maps.google.com/maps?f=d&source=s_d&saddr=sfo&daddr=oak&hl=en&geocode=&mra=ls&sll=38.065392,-95.712891&sspn=39.386614,62.050781&ie=UTF8&z=11]map[/url] :-) 

    Though I do understand that the planes might have to shuffle from one to another for logistical reasons. Still, I really don't believe FedEx or anyone else is really flying ten mile flights on a regular basis. 

    On the other hand, I have sent a fedex letter from San Francisco to Oakland and it went to Oakland (where the sort facility is), then to Memphis (where the distribution hub is), and then back to Oakland again before it was delivered so maybe nothing should really surprise me about FedEx.



  • @medialint said:

     

    On the other hand, I have sent a fedex letter from San Francisco to Oakland and it went to Oakland (where the sort facility is), then to Memphis (where the distribution hub is), and then back to Oakland again before it was delivered so maybe nothing should really surprise me about FedEx.

    Why would that surprise you at all?  That's the entire basis of their air delivery system.



  • @bstorer said:

    Why would that surprise you at all?  That's the entire basis of their air delivery system.

     

    I guess the fact that it had to involve air in the first place. A bicycle would have sufficed. 



  • @medialint said:

    @bstorer said:

    Why would that surprise you at all?  That's the entire basis of their air delivery system.

     

    I guess the fact that it had to involve air in the first place. A bicycle would have sufficed. 

    FedEx Express is air transport, FedEx Ground is ground transport.  You probably overpaid to send it air, unless you needed it delivered next day or something.  Either way, FedEx is cheaper than using a courier unless you really need same-day delivery.



  • So they put it on an airplane just for the hell of it? It went from SF to OAK in a truck we can be sure of that. Then it was in Oakland already. Why put it on a plane to memphis just to send it back to oakland? I paid for three day I think all I really needed was proof of delivery I didn't give a damn when it got there.

    I don't care what anyone claims [b]planes are not schlepping mail from SFO to OAK[/b] it's just not happening.

    It seems like a big company like FedEx who's business relies on efficient mail processing can figure out how to get a package from their oakland facility to an address in oakland without involving a 5,000 mile detour to memphis, wouldn't you think?


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @medialint said:

     

    It seems like a big company like FedEx who's business relies on efficient mail processing can figure out how to get a package from their oakland facility to an address in oakland without involving a 5,000 mile detour to memphis, wouldn't you think?

    Many of their airport centers aren't equipped with sort equipment at all. Everything that goes in the door goes onto a plane, gets flown down to Memphis, sorted, put on a plane to its destination, and from there put on trucks that either get it to a center closer to its destination or onto a delivery truck.

    It's also possible that your package was just sorted wrong, at which point, BFD?

     @medialint said:

    I don't care what anyone claims planes are not schlepping mail from SFO to OAK it's just not happening.
    Nobody was. That plane flies empty.

     



  • @medialint said:

    So they put it on an airplane just for the hell of it? It went from SF to OAK in a truck we can be sure of that. Then it was in Oakland already. Why put it on a plane to memphis just to send it back to oakland?

    It used to be that every package went through Memphis.  That's supposedly not true any more, but I've never seen a package delivery tracking that didn't include it.  Local distribution centers sorted only for outgoing packages.  Incoming
    packages were thrown on the next shipment that sent it to Memphis,
    where the sorting was done centrally.  Maybe the local hubs operate the same way, but on a larger scale.  I don't know.

    So the answer is something along the lines of: it went to Memphis because Oakland doesn't sort it.  The exact reasons why are unknown to me, but they come down to the fact that it isn't cost-effective.

    @medialint said:

    I paid for three day I think all I really needed was proof of delivery I didn't give a damn when it got there.
    Then Ground would have done it.  I don't blame you, though.  Most people don't realize there's a difference.  Frankly, for three-day, you'd probably have been better off with USPS.  Meh, whatever.

    @medialint said:

    I don't care what anyone claims planes are not schlepping mail from SFO to OAK it's just not happening.

    It's certainly not outside the realm of possibility.  FedEx has a bunch of independently-operated puddle jumpers that deliver packages to local hubs, such as Oakland.  It's pretty likely planes are going to Oakland from San Jose or Monterey (Actually, it looks like FedEx doesn't have ramps at Monterey).  I can't say whether they used a plane or a truck, but they have ramps at SFO for a reason.  It would be odd, I suppose.

    @medialint said:

    It seems like a big company like FedEx who's business relies on efficient mail processing can figure out how to get a package from their oakland facility to an address in oakland without involving a 5,000 mile detour to memphis, wouldn't you think?

    Actually, your thought process is exactly contrary to the way FedEx built itself up so successfully.  The major expense isn't the shipping cost, but the infrastructure.  The hub-and-spoke system is logistically simpler, and thus less expensive.  It seems counter-intuitive, but it works pretty well for them.



  • @medialint said:

    It seems like a big company like FedEx who's business relies on efficient mail processing can figure out how to get a package from their oakland facility to an address in oakland without involving a 5,000 mile detour to memphis, wouldn't you think?

    You're thinking of costs wrong.  It's not the cost to fly an airplane from OAK to Memphis and back.

    It's the cost to give the plane already going from OAK to Memphis and back the added lift it takes to carry your letter.  Which is *significantly* less than you paid FedEx to deliver the mail.  (It's even enough less they could even afford to pay for the trip from SFO to OAK, plus the cost of unloading all that mail into the sorting center, sort it, and re-pack it on planes - and *still* pay someone to hand deliver it at the end and get a signature.  They probably even had a little left over for profit)

    As far as air versus truck from SFO to OAK...  I think a lot of that depends on which airport has more congestion on the roads.  Note that doing SFO to OAK to Memphis only requires loading the mail onto the plane once if the same plane makes the whole trip from SFO to Memphis, and it avoids highway traffic between SFO and OAK.


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