To Drive or Fly: Higher Gas Prices

May 23, 2007

Reported by: Britney Glaser

Gas prices are rising rapidly just as many of you are making summer travel plans.  The high gas prices raise the question: to drive or to fly.  In Southwest Louisiana, the choice to save gas and fly locally comes with a high price tag.

More than 200 million people are expected to take to the skies this summer, and with higher prices at the pump, a long distance trip could easily be cheaper by flying.  Jamie Lee with Partners in Travel says, "We've been having people calling to do a lot of Disneyworld and Orlando trips - normally people drive, but we have been seeing a lot of people adding flights on it."

But, these destination flyers are not typically moving through the Lake Charles Regional Airport.  "About 85 percent of the time," says Lee, "it's going to be either driving to Houston or New Orleans and you can save quite a bit of money for a family."

Some local travelers, though, say digging a little deeper in their pocketbooks is worth the short lines, friendly staff and convenience of flying out of a local airport.  Sulphur resident Glinn Corbello and his wife are frequent flyers at the LC Regional Airport.  Corbello says, "It's worth a little extra to fly out of here."

Deputy Director of the LC Regional Airport, Heath Allen, says, "Number one is the convenience, and it's hard to put a price tag on that, but in addition to that, you fly out of Lake Charles, you have the one hop over to Houston...from there you can go to literally hundreds and thousands of destinations."

When booking a flight, something as simple as free parking can make a huge difference in the price of a trip.  At the LC Regional Airport, it's actually free.  If you're traveling to Houston or New Orleans, parking is about 10 to 15 dollars per day.  When you do the math, it might not add up to a cheaper trip to fly out of one of the larger airports.

"We used to fly out of Houston," says Corbello, "going is not bad, but coming back is usually late and you're ready to go home."

If flying close to home is a better plan for your summer travels, the tip is to book in advance and beat those rising prices.

In response to high costs at the pump, today on Capitol Hill the House approved legislation that would outlaw gasoline price gouging moving into the busy travel season.