Airlines are making flying so painful and expensive many people are driving where they once used to fly

Airlines are making flying so painful and expensive many people are driving where they once used to fly

My son Matt was planning his annual business trip to Bentonville, Arkansas recently and he said he was going to drive there. Being in the travel business that seemed like a long way to drive so I asked him why he would drive such a long distance. He said that it was a 6-hour and 16-minute (405 mile) drive and by the time he drove to Omaha and waited for the flight and then made a connecting flight it would take almost 8 hours of travel time to fly to Bentonville even if everything went right. Add in the hassle of security, the extra cost of checking in luggage, plus the ticket price of almost $800, and you can see how the airlines are pushing away many people who used to fly the friendly skies. If you look at the cities that are a six to eight-hour drive from Omaha they include Minneapolis, Denver, St. Louis, Kansas City, and even Chicago. If two or more people are traveling this makes it even easier to justify a road trip.

78% of people surveyed said they would not travel to these eight cities – Last week we asked our readers two simple questions:  Are there any cities in the USA that you would not travel to and spend 4 days there because of concerns of crime and/or homelessness? Amazingly 233 of 299 people surveyed responded “yes”. When asked “What cities would you avoid traveling to today if possible?”, San Francisco (189), Portland (181), Chicago (175), Los Angeles (155), Detroit (150), Seattle (148), New York City (140), and New Orleans (118), all came in with over 100 votes each. In my opinion, the fear of traveling to cities is often caused by the national press which highlights crime and often causes fear and panic to rise to the surface. Usually, crime within large cities is limited to certain areas of town that suffer from high poverty. Every large city in the world has areas that suffer from high crime. That should not prevent us from traveling there; however, we must travel smart to stay out of areas within these big cities where the percentage of crimes are the highest. A good friend of mine says when traveling you always have to keep your antennae up and be aware of your surroundings. That is good advice when traveling to any city.

Steve’s travel tip #97 – Here is how to get your frequent flyer miles put back into your account when an airline says no – Several months ago I was supposed to be flying to South America for a business meeting. I used my AeroPlan (Air Canada flying on Star Alliance airlines) miles to book a ticket using 135,000 miles. Before my flight, I decided I was tired of traveling and called the airline to see what I could do to cancel the trip and put those miles back into my account. They said I could not put my miles back into my account because I was under 22 days prior to departure. However, they would allow me to change the date of my trip to sometime in the future. So here is what I did to save those 135,000 miles. I first changed my flight to depart six months later. This cost me a $90 change fee. I then called back a month later and said I would like to refund those 135,000 miles back into my account as the new flight is more than 22 days in advance. This cost me another $90 fee. The bottom line is I spent $180 in change fees but was able to save 135,000 miles for future travel. That is a pretty good return on investment.

Executive Travel pledges to plant 75,000 to 100,000 trees in 2023 as part of our 10-year plan to plant 1 million trees – Late in 2021 Executive Travel launched ETGreen – Building Sustainable Travel for the Future. This program is our environmental initiative to plant one tree for every airline ticket sold by the company to help offset the carbon footprint of our customers flying.  This year we teamed up with the Nebraska Natural Resource Districts throughout the state and planted over 50,000 trees. In 2023 we anticipate planting 75,000 to 100,000 trees to do our small part to help maintain our quality of life. CLICK HERE to see a short 60-second video on Executive Travel’s ETGreen environment initiative. is one of my favorite travel websites – One of the best places to look when you are traveling (especially overseas) is This website allows you to look at the seat maps on each airplane and shows you the details of each seat, such as seat pitch, etc. I use this site to check out if an airplane’s business class seats on international flights recline fully flat (like a bed) or have a partial recline.

There is a really nice two-week window in November and December to find good airfare prices – Everyone knows that traveling around Thanksgiving and Christmas is busy and expensive. This year we are seeing that there are two windows that have reasonable airline prices. The first period is the first two weeks of November. The second period is the first two weeks of December. The airplanes during these dates appear to have a lot of empty seats. We have even been able to find several frequent flyer ticket seats during this time so you know the airlines have empty seats.

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