MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - They didn’t get a bad crowd for a forum at 10:30 a.m. on a Thursday, which is not the best time for someone to get off from work and listen to people talk about air fares.
That’s what they did by the way, they sat and listened.
They listened to Seth Kaplan of Airline Weekly talk about how it’s not that much of a bargain to fly out of Little Rock. “The average round trip airfare in Memphis is about $100 more than it is from Little Rock,” he said.
They heard Chip Barclay, President of the Association of Airport Executives, say that Memphis International Airport is one Jim Dandy of an airport. Barclay told the audience, “We would give Memphis an A plus.”
The group didn’t hear much at all about any solution.
Yes, Southwest Airlines is still being courted like the pretty girl at the dance. In fact, Memphis has been putting the moves on Southwest for twenty years, and for a variety of reasons the carrier has never come to town.
That didn’t go over well with forum attendee Cardell Orrin. “They’ve been working on this for twenty years,” he said, “and I think that if you’ve been working on something for twenty years there’s different people we need to get working on it.”
The future is what Delta critic Tom Jones wanted to hear about. Jones started a very popular Facebook page concerning Delta Airlines airfares. “We want somebody to talk about the future, not the past, and what the strategy is. Not how it got to this point, but where do we go from here, and what are the alternatives if we lose the hub.”
Delta Airlines officials were not invited to the forum. John Moore of the Greater Memphis Chamber of Commerce says there was no reason to invite Delta, because he knew what they would say. Moore is a former employee of Northwest Airlines. “Memphis has premium service. We didn’t need them here to say that. You can call them up and they’ll tell you what I just told you.”
9th District Congressman Steve Cohen of Memphis says he wanted Delta at this event. “I met with Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood recently,” Cohen said. “He’s going to try to get some Delta people, call Richard Anderson (Delta Airlines CEO) and try to get some of his people to come to Memphis to meet in my office with some Memphis business leaders. It will be a more representative team than was present here today.”