There’s been a lot of hype given this week to the fact that Frontier is going to begin service back into Branson during June of this year. Now the Ole Seagull has a lot of respect for Frontier, with its “low fare done right,” and Jeff Bork and his team at Branson Airport, but, as he looks at the details of the return, he’s having a difficult time understanding what everyone is so giddy about.
As of this date, the “return” consists of one flight a day, three times a week, on Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday. Flight 808 departs Denver at 3:33 PM and arrives in Branson at 6:25 PM. Flight 809 departs Branson for Denver at 7:10 PM and arrives in Denver at 8:10 PM.
The first day of a vacation in Branson is just about gone before the plane arrives in Branson, let alone luggage pick up, getting to their lodging, and dinner. Some might say that the late arrival in Branson is offset by the later departure time when they leave. An Ole Seagull would respectfully suggest that on the date of departure a lot of the day is spent getting ready for the trip back home.
And that’s just a trip between Denver and Branson. A family coming to Branson from San Francisco, CA would depart from San Francisco at 12:59 AM and arrive in Branson, 15 hours and 21 minutes later at 6:20 PM. Their return would be on a 6 hour and 51 minute flight departing Branson at 7:10 PM and arriving in San Francisco at 11:56 PM.
Assuming the flights will be on a 162 passenger Frontier Airlines Airbus A319 and averaging 80% capacity that’s about 130 people per flight or 390 people coming to Branson per week until the Flights terminate later in the year. It’s safe to say that all those people are not coming as tourists to Branson. Realizing it could be more or less, for the sake of discussion, lets say that 20 percent of the people on the plane are not coming to Branson, leaving 104 per flight or 312 people per week.
Looking at Frontier’s return to Branson in that light, an Ole Seagull just can’t understand the seeming giddiness of many in the community over the return and must ask, “And Frontier flying back into Branson is such a big deal because?”