$234.70 is the price of a round-trip direct flight from Santa Fe to Los Angeles during the week of Christmas.
60% of New Mexicans expect to spend $1,000 or less on holiday travel this year.
"It is increasingly apparent that the economic head winds facing the airlines and their customers are anything but behind us." —Air Transport Association of America CEO James C May, in a written statement on Nov. 10
It’s back: That lovely holiday season during which you inadvisably, unavoidably combine too much food and wine with all your family neuroses, then immediately hop into airport line (because, let’s face it, you can’t simply “hop” on a plane anymore) after line after line. There you pray you don’t get rerouted through that armpit of carpeted desperation known as George Bush Intercontinental Airport (fitting, isn’t it?) and vow mentally that if you have to take your shoes off one more time there’ll be hell to pay—except, of course, there won’t, because you’d rather spend the end of your holiday weekend in a line than in jail.
But who are we to let transportational misery intrude upon our holiday plans? According to Dan Ronan, the communications manager at AAA New Mexico, holiday travel “has picked up slightly from last year, so it seems as though there’s a little bit of improvement. The economy’s getting a little better, and people are getting a little more confident that the worst of the economic problems are over.”
Even so, AAA’s Nov. 12 poll shows that 46 percent of New Mexicans “will definitely not take an overnight trip at least 50 miles from home this holiday season,” with 27 percent citing the economy as the main reason for cutting back. Ronan says it will take a few months to crunch the actual Thanksgiving travel numbers, but Santa Fe Municipal Airport Manager Jim Montman says new local flights are doing well. American Eagle launched direct Santa Fe flights to LA last month, and also provides service to Dallas.
“We were very pleased with the response to the new service,” Montman says. This Thanksgiving, he adds, “the flights were packed both outbound and inbound on the highest travel days.”
Packed flights are a good thing for the airport and the industry. The rest of us could probably use another glass of wine.