Sep 2, 2016

Fly Me To The Moon From The Lehigh Valley Airport

Believe it or not,  I'm trying to become less acidic in my criticism of public officials, both elected and appointed.  While the elected ones have been submitted to some public scrutiny,  the appointed ones are usually the wrong people in the right place.  Among the most useless of the boards may be the Airport Authority.  While just bailing themselves out from a two decade mistake,  they embark on another unjustified expansion.

If the local airport has any advantage, it is that it is easy.  While it's essentially expensive flights to nowhere,  at least it's easy.  When you enter the arriving baggage area, the car rental desks are right there.  If you want a cab,  merely go through the doors and look left.  I suppose all that was too convenient, because the LVIA will now build a separate Transportation Hub.

If this seems like just another unnecessary fix to something that isn't broken, it gets worse.  Several months ago,  I questioned one of the most informed authority members about this proposal,  and he knew nothing about it.


George Ruth said...

Today's Morning Call story about Uber taking a bite out of LVIA parking revenue is interesting. I'm not impressed. If it is nearly $30 each way from Easton to LVIA and I assume the same from places like Lower Macungie Township then that is $60. I'd rather pay the $80 and have my own car. Heck, anybody flying anywhere, be it vacation or business, already spend a fortune. What's a $20 add-on for the privilege and convenience of having your own car. Perhaps this will prompt LVIA to lower their parking fees.

Geoff said...

LVIA is one of the few pleasurable travel experiences left in this country and I fly there anytime I can.

What's the longest walk in the open to a car in that parking lot--300 yards? It would probably be cheaper to provide free umbrellas to every car renter than to pay off that construction project.

But of course this isn't the "big thinking" that our appointed boards are supposed to provide us.

George Ruth said...

I love cynicism as much as the next guy, but walking 300 yard (900 feet) in all kinds of winter weather is not something that people want to do. There's nothing wrong with investing their newly found money in amenities that will 'grow' the airport's customer base. Moving the rental lots and Transbridge and LANTA buses close to the terminal is sound idea. One wonders about how clued in a board member is if he doesn't know about the discussions of such a project.
Lawsuits aside it seems the deterioration of LVIA coincided with the loss of management-type jobs in the valley. Not many fork-lift operators (and I am not disparaging any kind of work) take regular flights. Our economic development people seem to hell-bent on filling every possible acre of land as fast as possible regardless of the type of companies. I wonder if they are trying to get 'done' before the Obama-style judges force low income housing on the suburban townships win which the industrial parks sit.
As to cost: a family of four has a big decision on their trip to Disney if the LVIA fares are not competitive with Philly and Newark.

michael molovinsky said...

george@3:53, the rental desks could not be more convenient than they presently are. they need simply move the actual rental cars closer to the terminal. i use the airport, and found each improvement made unnecessary and unjustified. i question moving the transbridge bus terminal there, and all it's associated parking. on the other hand, ending the shuttle to the long term lot was a terrible idea, as was raising the parking fees. i question both the board and their choice to run the airport, and all his decisions. btw, i don't look for situations to apply cynicism, but point out , imo, bad decisions.

George Ruth said...

MM. My cynicism comment was intended, with fondness, for Geoff's reference to umbrella's. I believe the cost of the shuttle service will be more than offset by a permanent transit hub. Also, while I am not sure of this I don't think TransBridge is totally abandoning their current 'home' site, but having a 'stop' at the airport. I might be wrong about that. If not, I'm sure the airport will be 'renting' them parking spaces for the TB customers' slots.

Geoff said...

I will admit that my solution was kidding in nature.

However, as MM points out, the role of the board of LVIA is a serious one. The board must make decisions that improve the overall short-term and long-term financial position of the airport itself--which will probably be determined largely by passenger traffic.

I've waited in all sorts of weather for rental car shuttles at many big airports and would gladly trade that experience for the "inconvenience" of walking a couple hundred feet to a parking lot. I'd say LVI's rental car situation is actually a relative advantage, and as such shouldn't be a field of investment.

These days everyone's glib answer is to build something expensive and have it paid for by user fees, which never seem to pay for the improvement. LVIs challenge is that it is a terrific business airport in a relatively affluent area with little business travel traffic anymore. Time for a retool.

Whethervain said...

My wife and I travel to Denver on occasion (to see the grandkids) and we would always try to be loyal customers of LVI in order to support our local airport. After a while it became financially untenable when we discovered the door-to-door bus service to the Newark airport from Allentown. As senior citizens, we got 2 ROUND TRIP bus tickets for $60 and when considering gas, tolls and most especially parking - this was a deal we just couldn't pass up.

I wonder if it would be possible for LVI to somehow subsidize plane fares (instead of making these questionable investments) to make the local fares more competitive for those of us living in the Lehigh Valley? I like our airport the way it is now; they don't need to make all these other ?improvements?

George Ruth said...

I, too, often use Newark and Philly. But prefer to drive. I'd rather pay $80 to park my car than $60 and still have to drive to the bus, etc.
And schlepping a few kids to a big airport with hours-long security waits is not an enjoyabot experience.