JRA comes closer to being equal on air faresThe Jamestown Regional Airport Authority is continuing its work to decrease airfare through the Delta Air Lines’ website, but a possible workaround has been discovered.
By: Kari Lucin, The Jamestown Sun
The Jamestown Regional Airport Authority is continuing its work to decrease airfare through the Delta Air Lines’ website, but a possible workaround has been discovered.
“It appears you can save money if you just book (flights) separately,” said Katie Andersen, Jamestown mayor and member of the Airport Authority.
Fares from the Jamestown Regional Airport that were listed on delta.com spiked suddenly after the transition between carriers — from Delta to Great Lakes Airlines, of Cheyenne, Wyo. — earlier this year.
Initially, the price increase was attributed to a computer error, but then that issue was reportedly fixed and prices from the Jamestown airport were still high relative to prices from other airports.
Since then the JRA has been attempting to put pressure on Delta to get ticket costs back down.
One way to work around the price increase is to book one flight from Jamestown to Minneapolis on Great Lakes Airline’s website, http://greatlakesav .com/, and then book a second flight from Minneapolis to the intended destination on delta.com.
Passengers should not have to transfer their own baggage at Minneapolis, said Matt Leitner, JRA manager.
Local travel agents are reportedly aware of the workaround.
The Airport Authority intends to continue putting pressure on Delta Air Lines to get fares through its site, delta.com, down to a similar rate to flights out of other airports in the area.
“We want this thing to be … competitive fares,” said Jim Boyd, Airport Authority chairman. “Otherwise, this is not good for the community, this is not good for Essential Air Service, this is not good for the taxpayers, because they’re subsidizing this flight coming out of there. And if they’re not competitive fares, guess what, it’s not going to work.”
Boyd and Leitner will meet today via conference call with both the North Dakota and South Dakota congressional delegations and the two states’ aeronautics commissions, as well as a representative from the Devils Lake airport, which is also seeing a fare spike.
“Obviously, the problem that we’re dealing with is that Delta doesn’t have any sense of urgency … they’re going to get the business, probably, in Bismarck, or Fargo,” Boyd said.
Since the changeover from Delta to Great Lakes, boardings at JRA have plummeted, from 797 in February to 448 in March. That’s even a decrease from March 2011, when there were 482 boardings.
“It’s unacceptably low,” Leitner said.
“Having the right airline with the right airplane doesn’t cut it if the fares are not competitive,” Boyd said.
Until Delta makes changes, booking separately could help passengers save money, but that may not be good enough for some people.
“We’ve seen a couple of the flight fares improve, but the majority of them are still quite a bit more expensive, to fly to Jamestown,” said Jack Clay, a member of the Airport Authority. “We’re seeing a lot of them where it’s almost double the price.”
The prices for some flights reportedly differed as much as $300 to $500.
Delta and Great Lakes’ websites Wednesday evening showed a fare pricing difference of about $10 to $30 for round-trip flights to New Orleans, New York and Los Angeles on one day in mid-May.
Sun reporter Kari Lucin can be reached at 701-952-8453
or by email at