I know this has been discussed

but the expensive flights to NWA is problem for recruiting. This is one of the things that surprised Bielema when he got the job. I know Arkansas isn’t the only school to be served by a small airport.

I bring this up because a highly recruited junior prospect DMed me on Twitter and mentioned how much it would be for he and his parents to get to Fayetteville for the Florida game.

Well, as the area grows and the boarding increase, the price will go down. Probably around 2050ish…


As I have pointed out before, one of the inherent disadvantages.

As is not having enough flights in on a Saturday morning.

Finally — a recruiting advantage for Little Rock and a reason to have a big game at WMS each year, lol ----- Just joking.

It’s not going down period. I deal with it every week. Between inbound / outbound vendors, Tyson commuting to from Chicago for Hillshire integration and Walmart buyers headed out. It’s just insane in terms of rates. Allegiant can go to and fro from Florida but I don’t see any other low cost airlines getting involved.

Nothing like a $1000 air flight then seeing cow pastures as you land then seeing rural America until you hit the highway construction on 49

Boosters ? Now that is something to spend money on — an airport upgrade if you want to allow recruits to be able to afford unofficial visits. Sounds like a big issue that no one talks about, and first I heard of it.

In this state, Clinton National (LIT) is the way most people travel, including me and the perfect size. That’s just crazy and a little ridiculous for the largest retailer in the world. ---- I thought that was a metro area up there and way more advanced than the rest of the state. Sounds like a republican area that doesn’t want to spend on infrastructure.

Please stop with the politics. The infrastructure is there.

Airlines would love to have more flights to and from NWA, but the market isn’t there. That’s how you increase flights.

I still do considerable flying and am somewhat familar with fares to different airports. At one time, LR was very reasonable. Not anymore, nor is it easy to get direct flights from most places. Xna is just plain out of sight. When I fly there, I go into Tulsa or even OKC.

You can never makes sense of these things. My business often takes me to the Houston area. DEN to Houston is expensive, but DEN to AUS is not, even if you connect through HOU. DEN HOU is something like 700. DEN AUS is more like 250 (RT) even if you go though HOU on the same plane, and DEN DFW RT can often be less than 150. That is the reason I spend considerable time on the various web sites, but no matter what I do, I have found it very expensive to fly into Arkansas.

One exception was a trip I made a few years ago to see the Hog play ole miss. I went DEN to Billings MT, then Billings through SLC, DFW, xna, and then xna through DFW to DEN all for less than $200. Go figure.

It’s harder and harder to find good prices. Too many mergers and less competition. Thank God my wife is very good at finding the best possible prices for the most part.

XNA was basically built for Walmart vendors and the fares are priced accordingly. I belong to the Northwest Arkansas Kennel Club. We hold a small show each year and we are forced to pay for our judges expenses. It really hurts, but we cannot ask our judges to fly into Tulsa.

Isn’t a new connector to the regional airport being constructed? If so, when is it projected to be completed? Will this help recruiting in any way?

(I know the thrust of this thread is volume traffic into Regional, but the connector will help.)

I recently priced flights for early 2017. Looked at flying out of FSM, XNA, LIT and TUL. Prices were virtually identical – expensive. There are a few major airports that are cheaper, but not many. Even DFW was bad.

The thing about pricing flights this early, is that those prices will change. I looked into flying to Phoenix a couple of years ago. The costs at all the airports that you mentioned were pretty steep. I delayed making a reservation. Between a month and a month and a half before I was to leave the prices changed drastically. I flew from TUL for a VERY reasonable price.

I think there is multiple factors that effect fare structures, especially into XNA. First, the reason you have service from XNA to DFW, ORD, LGA and LAX on AA is almost exclusively due to Walmart, and to a lesser extent some of the other national organizations headquartered in Northwest Arkansas. Walmart pays a lot of money to AA to insure seat availability to these major markets providing access to their vendors. Walmarts management travel on their corporate jet fleet for the most part.
Secondly, all the airlines that fly into XNA are aware of the fare structure of the other carriers, and it is mutually beneficial to keep the fares comparable to other carriers to insure better profit margins. Unnecessary cutting fares only cuts into profits, and the other carriers will only follow by price matching your discount ensuring all in reducing profits.
Third, the majority of travelers into XNA, as has been pointed out eairlier, are business travelers. This particular market is not as price sensitive as is the general public. Business must be conducted with companies like Walmart regardless of the cost. Look at the advertising inside XNA airport. Almost exclusively geared to Walmart clientele. I was in XNA Thursday, and saw this first hand. The flight standby upgrade list (people on later flights trying to leave on an earlier flight) was into the 20s on every flight, and listening to conversations were exclusively people who had been conducting business with Walmart.
Finally, the airlines have huge departments that track fare activity for every destination pair by hour, day, and year. With AA it’s called “Yield Management”. It has been tracked for years and is the biggest driver of the fare structure. It is why fares are higher on some days, times of day or times of year. Factor in current internet technology, and the price of tickets has been very carefully thought out to maximize profits. In the past, fares were cheapest the further out in time you purchased your tickets, and the price went up as you got closer to departure. That was because leisure travel was purchased in advance, while business travel was purchased closer to departure at a higher price point. Today with technology, most airfare is priced higher further out trying to capture guaranteed revenue, and begins to drop in price as departure date arrives because the airline is better able to see unsold seating, and starts to price tickets to ensure all seats are filled at departure. Some of the cheapest tickets can be found less than 24 hrs before departure on sites like Kayak, because the airlines dump there unsold seats into discounters sites to get any revenue they can. Important to remember a seat on a flight only has value until the jetbridge is pulled, then it is lost revenue. Airline employees are generally allowed to fly standby to fill these unsold seats.
There are some other reasons for why tickets cost what they do but these are the primary reasons. Hope this helps explain some of XNA’s airfare costs. Sure is a beautiful airport, and is one of the reasons why my wife and I are moving there in retirement as airline employees. Access to so many gateway cities allows Northwest Arkansas residents to travel anywhere in the world conveniently, and also brings the world to NWA. I think this is a huge benefit to NWA as well as U of A.

Good stuff.

NWA would’ve had natural growth over the years, but no way the area would’ve grown as fast and as much without Walmart.

My travel agent emailed me and said she was finding very good deals to fly to my destination (London again) from certain airports at the time I need; she was trying to get my business now. I used my miles to go to London last spring and may do so again this time, but I took a look. I will look again after NYD.

I think if XNA can land Southwest or JetBlue it might help a little. Although Allegiant doesn’t seem to be putting any downward pressure on fares.


Please stop with the politics. The infrastructure is there.

Airlines would love to have more flights to and from NWA, but the market isn’t there. That’s how you increase flights.
[/quote]Annnddd I was just kidding and didn’t really think I was striking a nerve or trying to stir things up, and didn’t mean it seriously — but flying is always a pain — no matter where it is. Heck fly out of Caracas one time and it will change your perspective. I have family there and wouldn’t live anywhere else but NWA – so I here about it a lot, but different strokes. Sorry about the political inference. I should mind my on business.

Yep. My travel agent, knowing where and when I was going, emailed me that she was seeing very good fares for April from certain airports. So I took a look. May still wind up using my miles to make that trip, but I will look again after NYD.

I think if XNA lands Southwest, it would put some downward pressure on fares, but not much. Allegiant doesn’t seem to have helped much, but they have so few flights/destinations.

The major airlines will do their best to keep SW out.

Agree on Allegiant. If they had more flights, other other airlines would have to bring their fares down.