A Publication of WTVP

Having grown accustomed to flying the same routes, many people don’t realize there may be better ways to do it.

Any aviation history buff or fan of the 1960s sitcom Gilligan’s Island will remember the name Douglas “Wrong Way” Corrigan (or Feldman, as he was called in the TV show). “Wrong Way” Corrigan famously flew from Floyd Bennett Field in New York across the Atlantic to Ireland—after being denied a permit by the Department of Commerce. His official flight plan had him returning to San Diego, California, and he always claimed that his 28-hour flight to Ireland in 1938 was a “navigational error.” Corrigan became famous for his refusal to allow the lack of a permit to prevent him from accomplishing his goal of flying solo across the Atlantic.

Today, we have much the same situation when it comes to business travel. So many people have become accustomed to flying to their destinations via the same routes that they haven’t realized there may be better ways to do it. Taking the example set by “Wrong Way” Corrigan, sometimes east can be the fastest way to go west. Imagine a typical business trip to San Francisco from Peoria. A quick check of the airline website shows you can make that trip with any of the three business-oriented airlines serving Peoria. Since PIA does not have a direct flight to San Francisco, most people automatically start thinking about a connecting flight through Chicago to make that trip. Then they might start thinking (especially in the winter) about whether their connecting flight would be on time.

Another Possibility
One way to avoid those worries would be to think like Wrong Way Corrigan, and fly east to go west. The Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport offers an alternative to the Windy City. Detroit is a major hub for Delta Airlines, offering 113 destinations on that airline across North America. The terminal complex at Detroit Metro underwent a major renovation and new construction, completed in 2008 with the opening of the new North Terminal. While it is a bit east of Chicago, the difference in travel time is negligible for westbound flights, and often results in very similar travel times.

Let’s examine our imaginary trip to San Francisco. Traveling via Chicago, the trip time would be around six-and-a-half hours, costing about $541. To get this short travel time, you have to book a 42-minute connection at one of the world’s busiest airports, which can be risky if you have to change terminals. You might want to wear your running shoes for that one.

Traveling via Detroit, however, gives you a different experience. The total trip time goes up to about eight hours, with a 90-minute connecting time. The price drops to about $492, and because Detroit is less congested than Chicago, the reliability of making your connection goes way up. And remember: of the extra hour-and-a-half travel time, half of that is your extra connecting time in Detroit, which gives you a much more relaxed journey that avoids any sprinting through airports, like in the old TV commercials.

Relax in Comfort
So what will you do with the extra time in the Detroit terminal? First of all, there are the buildings themselves to enjoy. The city began a major reconstruction of its airline terminals back in the early 2000s. This started with demolition of old terminals that were no longer state-of-the-art, making way for a brand-new expansion. Construction began on the new North Terminal about that time, and the building was completed in 2008.

Detroit’s terminals are well-planned and contain moving walkways to effortlessly push passengers along. There is an underground walking tunnel filled with light and sound displays, with artistic glass installations that connect the B and C Concourses to the new A Concourse. There is even an indoor train to get from one end of the A Concourse to the other. It’s a quiet, comfortable, elevated electric tramway that whisks you from the Central Link Area to the far end of the Concourse in just minutes.

As with most airports, the main activities are shopping and eating. A glance at the Detroit Metro Airport’s website shows 39 different retail opportunities available to Delta passengers, and 34 different restaurants in the Delta areas—not counting vending machines, ATMs or shoeshine stations. While there, you might even get to watch a movie being filmed, as more than 13 major features were filmed in and around the Detroit terminal in the last five years.

The next time you need to travel, try thinking like “Wrong Way” Corrigan, and look for alternatives to the way the masses are traveling. Every airline has multiple hubs, and there is usually a creative way to schedule your itinerary to make your trip more comfortable, more reliable or less expensive. Just make sure to pack your compass before you leave the house! iBi

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