Part 1 in a 4 Part Series
There are three distinct gaps between flying by Private Aircraft and Air Mass-Transit:
- Price: In most cases, flying by private aircraft is more expensive than flying by airlines. The best way to understand it is to compare the price differences between taking a taxi or limousine and taking the bus or metro train. It is difficult to get the price gap to close when one form moves masses of people between points on a schedule and the other form moves a few or even only one person on-demand. How can the limo ever be as cheap as the bus?
- Efficiency of Time: In most cases, flying by private aircraft will be more time efficient since you set the destination airport and schedule, rather than flying on the route structure and schedule the air mass-transit service sets. Air mass-transit routes may not include the airport closest to your origin and/or destination and the flight paths may not even be the most direct routes between the two airports. The nature of mass transit requires the traveler to show up early at a terminal that may or may not be close to their true origin and then queue up to get through the systems of ticketing, boarding and security, all adding time to the total travel. Private aircraft, for the most part, avoid all of these time killers. Measuring the time difference is easy enough for most of us and putting a value on our time should also be easy. Once our time value is quantified, we can measure the time gap and put a value on it. Quantifying that time gap in dollar terms helps close the price gap.
- Experience: The passenger experience gap existing between the two forms of travel is one which no one can yet precisely quantify, but is one that we know to be vast just from our own experiences. Those who use private air travel often talk about the experience and rationalize that the experience itself justifies the price gap. When those passengers cannot totally make the time-price gaps meet, they make the final closure based on the quality of the experience. Traveling in a private aircraft is as pleasant and social as taking a road trip with friends or family – or perhaps even more so. Traveling on the airlines is as pleasant and social as taking a road trip with the Griswolds – or perhaps even less so.
How can we quantify all of the gaps between private or business aviation and air mass-transit so that we can accurately measure them? Once we quantify and measure the gaps, how do we close them so that more travelers will be drawn to the superior mode of travel we have to offer?
Closing or shrinking the gaps will make it possible for more people to use private aviation as an alternative to airlines and, in some cases, even other forms of travel. Could it be that people who have chosen not to travel at all due to the negative experience and wasted time factors of mass-transit travel may choose to travel again?
Does this make sense?