Latin American airlines rock! Can we have them here?

It has been so refreshing to fly those little regional airlines in Latin America in the last couple of weeks. I have taken 4 regional flights so far and I love how well it has worked for me. Granted, the planes look about 50 years old, while the pilots look about 20, but they do seem to know what they are doing.

I appreciate that they operate like trains, without any of that insane ticket pricing structure we have all reluctantly gotten used to: “The air ticket you looked up yesterday for $250? Um, that will be $600 today. Why? Just because. Check back tomorrow, it might come down again. Umm, why?”

I have forgotten how nice it is to walk up to a counter and buy an air ticket for a flight that takes off 30 minutes from now. I did exactly that a few of days ago in Panama City. I walked up to an Aeroperlas counter and bought a one way ticket to Bocas del Toro for $70. If I bought the ticket 2 weeks before or 6 months prior, it would have still been $70. I love that – first come, first serve. Makes budgeting for travel much easier. Even better – if you miss the flight (which I did on one ocassion), they will issue you a new ticket to the same, or different, destination at no extra cost. How cool is that?

Try the same thing in the US or Europe, even with those so-called budget airlines, sometimes. They will charge you $2000 for a $200 ticket if you want to fly the same day. Changes? Yeah, right. The airlines would rather have the seat empty than charge something sensible. I remember taking a course on airline pricing structure in college and I remember that the overly complicated way air ticket pricing is set didn’t make any sense to me then. Clearly, it still doesn’t.