Home for the Holidays? Sure, if you can afford it.

ImageWho doesn’t loves going home for the holidays? It’s that time of year where magic is in the air. The food smells a little better, the snow looks a little whiter — even the grouchy people act a little more cheery. It’s also that time of year when school weary college kids want nothing more than to go home to Mom’s home-made food, to their favorite couch in the living room and plop down, forever.

The Problem: Greed

For the average college kid, the college semester can be challenging; filled with deadlines, projects, presentations, late night group sessions, and piles upon piles of school work that never seemed to shrink. Every college kid deserves — if they’ve respectively earned their good grades — a month of home.

Except this kid.

This kid goes to school in snowy Buffalo, New York. Home is nearly 2,000 miles away on a small spec of rock called St. John. So am I going home for the holidays? Sure, if I can cough up the $1,000+ for the airfare.

I realize that I put this situation upon myself, deciding to go to college as far away as I did. I also realize that this time of year is considered the “high season” in the Caribbean — everything from airfare to food goes up. Way up. However, is it fair to the locals who want to come home for the holidays just like everyone else, but can’t because they’re stuck paying the high-season tourist prices for fares that can go anywhere from $900 to $1,500 round trip? No it isn’t. Airline companies could care less for me, a poor college kid, who wants to go home when they can get a rich tourist to pay premium for the same seat. Who cares about the “giving” Christmas spirit when you have a cash cow that big.

The Solution: Be Santa Clause, Not Scrooge

Image

I’m not alone in my frustration in that going home for the holidays has a ridiculously high price tag on it. Airline companies need to see beyond the bottom line and have a heart. Help college kids like me go home without having to blow the bank, sell an organ, or whatever drastic measure I can dream up. Here is my solution, my two-part solution:My first solution is to set aside a certain amount of seats dedicated for the “locals” who live in popular holiday destinations where snow birds flock and — if an individual can show proof of local residency — allow that person to buy a seat with a “local discount.”

My second solution is to dedicate an entire plane — one at the beginning of the holiday season and one after at a discounted price just for the locals.

Everyone deserves to go home for the holidays and not have to break the bank. Airlines might argue that discounted seats for locals is considered financial suicide. Why give up a seat for only $400 when you can get a rich tourist to pay $1,500?

Guess what Mr. Big Airlines, your seat isn’t worth THAT MUCH. With the airline industry’s approval ratings nearly as low as our current Congress in Washington, I think airlines that can offer discounted seats for locals would begin to make themselves look a lot more human. If nothing else it will be a wonderful PR piece. The entire industry could use it. It is the season of giving after all isn’t it?

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