By Air or By Land: Weighing Options

This past week I’ve been air fare hunting. We’re heading to Philipsburg, Montana the end of July but I’ve been a waffler when it comes to decision-making about exactly when we should leave and which route we should take. Last week I found flights for $245 round-trip from Columbus, Ohio to Seattle, Washington on Travelocity. This was about the same price as Skybus which flies from Columbus to Bellingham, Washington, but it’s an hour and a half further away from Philipsburg.

Seeing the closeness in price compelled me to weigh options by looking at other pros and cons.

The pros about Skybus is it’s a direct flight and it’s cheaper, even if just by $25 per ticket.

The cons are:

  • The flight leaves Columbus at 6 AM. (With a 5 year-old and a 14 year-old, not appealing)
  • All business is done over the internet and there’s no one or no where to call for information.
  • You have a priority boarding option which costs $10 per person. Since we’re traveling with a 5 year-old we have to make sure at least one of us sits with him. You can’t have only two people pay for priority boarding. It’s none or all.
  • There is a question that pops up right before you book the flight on Skybus hat asks if you want ticket baggage insurance. If something happens to your bag and you don’t have the insurance you are out of luck. Pop up questions panic me a bit since by the time I think over my answer, I might be logged out. The travel insurance added about $64 to the overall cost of the four tickets.
  • You have to pay for everything on board from snacks to drinks. If the airplane staff is walks by with snacks, guess who’ll want one? Like priority boarding, if one peson gets one, I can see everyone getting one.
  • Once we arrive in Bellingham, it’s an eight and a half hour drive to our friends’ house in Missoula. If we fly to Seattle, it’s only seven hours.

The problem is, last week I found these great deals. This week, airline tickets to Seattle from Columbus have gone up to at least $400. Skybus now costs $340 (about with the add-on costs.) I even did Neil’s suggestion in one of his posts and got rid of the cookies on my computer just in case I was being kept from the cheaper rates. (I’d get towards the end of the transaction and right before booking a message came up saying the price increased.)

With the price of flying going up, driving is looking like a more promising option. But, then again, if airline prices drop, I might change my mind.