A new way to think about the cost of your airline ticket

Mike Boyd sounded a bit tired of complaints about the high cost of flying on The Daily Circuit today.

We called Boyd to talk about a new study from Carlson-Wagonlit travel that has MSP ranked as the 11th most expensive city in the country to fly out of and says that we would see higher-than-average hikes in the cost of those already high prices.

“This bit about Minneapolis as somehow a lot worse off than other airports just simply isn’t true,” Boyd said. “It’s not a cheap airport to fly out of but then again, compared to its peers in other hubs, it is not particularly more expensive either.”

When Phil Picardi countered that Detroit and Atlanta – both Delta hubs – ranked 43 and 45 on that list of most expensive cities to fly out of, Boyd said the Carlson Wagonlit’s numbers were “flat wrong.”

Here’s how he likes to think about airfare:

In Minneapolis the average fare per-mile was 19.4 cents. Detroit was less expensive at18.36 cents and Atlanta was a touch higher at 20 cents.

“In terms of what people paid to fly per mile,” said Boyd, “Minneapolis was not widely out of line.”

He also pointed out that you pay more than someplace like Denver, which has a lot of low-cost carriers, but that we have better access.

“Forty-nine percent of all passengers at Minneapolis-St. Paul aren’t in Minneapolis-St. Paul,” he said. “They’re just crossing the hall to get to another Delta flight. What those people do though is provide enough support so Minneapolis has far more air service to far more destinations than it would without that connecting hub.”

It is expensive, Boyd said. And will get more expensive. But our flights are much shorter than places like Dulles, where there are cheap flights.

Next time I am grimacing at the cost of a plane ticket, I’ll break it down per mile and see if it makes me feel any better.

–Stephanie Curtis, social media host

  • Stephanie,

    The Daily Circuit’s interview with Mike Boyd misrepresented the results of CWT’s most recent travel forecast and projections. In fact, it was a report last year by the federal Bureau of Transportation Statistics that said MSP had the 11th-most-expensive average airfares among U.S. airports.

    The numbers from Carlson Wagonlit Travel’s (CWT) study are based off of CWT transaction data over the past five years – 30 billion transactions – and business travel fares vs. leisure fares, which have very different rates. We stand by our projections that airfares out of Minneapolis-St. Paul will rise about 5 to 8 percent overall in 2013 and invite people to read our study to understand how we calculated our data.

    Ultimately, the cost increases we are projecting indicate that airfare in the Twin Cities market will be double than that of the U.S. on average overall, not any one market in particular. Our projections are based on business travel and thus show the effect travel prices will have on businesses that send their employees on the road.

    Joel Wartgow

    Senior Director, CWT Solutions Group Americas

  • Stephanie


    I’m going to read from your letter on the air today.