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Absence of American limits options

Michael Chambliss | Tuesday, November 25, 2003

The recent departure of American Airlines from South Bend Regional Airport has forced some students to change travel plans for Thanksgiving Weekend.

Earlier this month, Trans State Airlines, which provided direct flights from South Bend under the aegis of American Airlines, discontinued service to Saint Louis.

Many students, like junior Annie Rohrs, who plans to fly on Northwest Airlines, are able to fly with one of the airlines that still service the South Bend area. These include Delta, ATA, United, Continental and USAirways, all of which have hubs in the Midwest or on the East Coast. However, the change has limited the travel options of some students, especially those living in the Saint Louis area.

These students, formerly able to fly directly home from South Bend on American Airlines, now must choose between significantly higher ticket prices and traveling to a Chicago airport.

Saint Mary’s sophomore Rachel Kevehazi, a resident of Valley Park, Mo., has opted to drive to Chicago’s Midway Airport to catch a flight home.

“I tried to get a ticket from South Bend, but I would have had to pay $400,” said Kevehazi.

Mary Kowalski, Travel Manager for Anthony travel, said that the loss of American Airlines has made it more difficult to find competitive prices from South Bend.

“Flights are very full Wednesday and Sunday of Thanksgiving weekend, and over the past few years it has become tougher and tougher to find cheap fares. The airlines are operating at a higher capacity, and we’ve had to get used to the decrease in service,” Kowalski said.

She added that special holiday fares are available during off peak travel times, but taking advantage of such fares would require students to depart on Thursday and return on Friday.

Students, however, said they did not see the airlines’ departure from South Bend as having important consequences for their future travel plans.

Junior Dan McGuire, a Tampa, Fla. resident, has always had American Airlines as an option, but says the change has not affected him.

“I usually choose to fly out of Chicago anyway because American has relatively high fares,” said McGuire.