The recent “Supervisors chip in $100,000” to connect Meadows Field to Texas article was good news to this business traveler. However if the service comes back (again), fares must be reasonable or travelers will continue their “leak” to L.A. airports.
Since 1991 I have averaged over 100 flights a year and usually ticket on short notice, paying full fare, exactly the customer Meadows Field and airlines want. Unfortunately over the last 15 years the number of flights and destinations from BFL have continued to decline. The bigger problem for Meadows Field, however, is the leakage to L.A. airports caused by our higher air fares. For years the fare difference between BFL and L.A. for my business travel was typically less than $200, making the choice to fly BFL easy. Over the last two years this gap has increased to over $500. This forces me to fly LAX, where I save significantly, have more non-stop flights, better scheduling options and reduced risk of flight problems.
The Meadows Field website has added a calculator to try and justify the ridiculously higher fares. I doubt this calculator is convincing many travelers.
So while I applaud the Kern County Supervisors investment in Meadows Field for resumed Texas service, a focus on narrowing fare gaps with L.A. airports will do more than anything to increase BFL usage. If our air service continues to degrade, it will increasingly impact Kern’s ability to attract business to our area.
Bill Miller, Bakersfield