By the time it takes you to get to the airport, check in, get to the gate, wait for boarding to begin, take off, land, deplane and get in a car outside the airport, you likely could easily drive 29 miles from Point A to Point B in less time, yeah?
So at a time when air travel demand is at an all-time low, and U.S. airlines have dramatically cut their schedules and reduced the number of planes they utilize, why is American Airlines operating a flight that only covers 29 miles?
Welcome to the rules of accepting grants and loans as part of the CARES Act stimulus package.
American Airlines has added the short hop between Vail and Aspen, Colo., according to the Dallas Morning News, to fulfill the requirements of the government’s pledge to provide more than $50 billion in grants and loans to the distressed industry. In return, the feds asked the airlines to maintain a minimum schedule to as many destinations as originally on their respective routes.
The newspaper reported it is the shortest flight American has run since the 1990s when it also had a 29-mile flight from Oakland, Calif. to San Jose that eventually continued on to Tokyo. In the 1930s, American Airlines had a 16-mile flight from Kalamazoo, Mich. to Battle Creek.
This particular Vail to Aspen trip is known as a ‘tag flight’ because it also hits Telluride, Colo. after taking off from Dallas-Fort Worth. American will be operating the flight until the beginning of June when it plans to fly nonstop to all three airports from DFW.
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