Here's what happens when a headline hits you in the face, and I'm sure many of you faced the same conundrum as you make your summer travel plans.
You go to a website that offers discount air fares, hotels and rental cars--you're presented scads of choices, you make your picks and you wait for vacation to arrive.
I was at the computer the other day, booking a trip to Baltimore where my boy and I will be based during our annual summer baseball trip.
That's when the headline came to life.
Midwest Airlines...or Air Tran?
The choice was easy for the flight out--Midwest was only a couple of bucks more, certainly not enough to be a deal-breaker.
The flight home was a different story. The price difference was, what shall we say, substantial.
I stared at the screen, double checked the numbers, looked again to make sure I had the right departure times right.
And then, I made my choice.
I tried to rationalize it, thinking that I could use the experience on the air, to give an honest appraisal of the differences between the hunter, and the hunted.
And, I felt really, really dirty.
Midwest IS the hometown airline. I know people that work there. I see what they do in the community, from the sponsorship of the convention center that bears it's name to the kadzillion charities where it donates trips. AirTran does business in Milwaukee, too, but I don't see them working the charity circuit nearly as much.
Does this make me a bad person, doing business with the so-called enemy? Or, does it make me a smart shopper who voted with his wallet?
And, do I now lose any right to bemoan the loss of Midwest a local entity if and when AirTran's hostile takeover succeeds?
I'm wondering what others did when faced with the same choice--or, how many of you publicly bemoan Midwest's potential acquisition while privately flying other carriers with lower fares.
I plan on bringing this issue up on the air during an upcoming edition of Wisconsin's Morning News--perhaps Friday, if time permits. We already are efforting reps from both Midwest and AirTran, plus an analyst who could give some neutral insight into how this how process works. I hope you'll be listening, and I also would love to see some feedback via the comments link.
Pardon me while I take a shower. I feel WAY dirty.