...who says service in the airline industry is dead? I actually got a Christmas card from the U.S. Airways Express operation here in Athens, which, trust you me, is far better than the "Baggage Irregularity Report" I usually get from other U.S. Airways stations at various times during the year.
But, to make this a "slice of life" type post, I'm really quite surprised at how many people around here don't realize that Athens truly does have commerical air service. And while it doesn't thrill me that Ben Epps Airport is named for someone who went to the North Avenue Trade School (at least he had the good sense to drop out), it absolutely delights me that I can save about 90 miles each way plus time, effort, hassle, frustration, traffic and parking costs by flying in and out of our own little field.
In the last six to nine months or so, I've noticed that the rates from Athens to most major east coast and mid-west destinations to which I've flown have harmonized with the fares out of Atlanta (at least on 14-21 day adavance fares). But even if Atlanta is pricing out less, once you factor $.42/mile for your car, $9/day for parking plus the time driving to and from the south side of Atlanta (and leave enough time to go through security and ride the train to your gate), the bottom line starts to even out pretty quickly.
One caveat: you need to be able to walk out onto the tarmac and board a Beechcraft 1900-D "airliner." Think of it like the Krystal of airplanes...it's a bit on the small side. But once they let you off in Charlotte an hour later, you get on a real plane and end up where you need to be.
So, SHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!! This is just between you, me and corn. Don't tell anyone else about one of the Classic City's best kept secrets.