We've all had that moment when we're booking a flight and come across the most dreaded word in air-travel, outside of "hijacking," possible: Layover. Now, thanks to COVID-19 (For us?! Oh, you shouldn't have!), that nightmare is about to increase tenfold.
Between retiring jumbo jets ahead of schedule and a lack of traffic leaving room for tiny prop planes to land at big airports for fun, it's clear that airlines are getting clobbered. They're eligible for grant money from the government, but only if they meet certain conditions. One of those is not cutting cities off from air service just because they aren't profitable. To accommodate this, they've had to get a little creative with route planning, and start adding more "tag flights."
In the simplest of terms, it means that there are going to be fewer direct flights -- even between bigger cities and hubs -- and more legs added to each trip. Effectively, all passengers' lives are about to turn into this ...
... but on one trip.
Minor versions of this already existed on some levels -- not every airline flies to every city, even biggish ones. For example, JetBlue previously only offered flights into Cleveland from Boston and Fort Lauderdale. So if you wanted to go from LA to Cleveland on JetBlue, you'd have to make a tag route by first stopping in either the place where Spring Break mistakes happen year-round or "Chicago, but more racist." But what we're getting now is real weird.
Your ticket will say "plane change," and you may have to get on, get off, get on, get off, get on, before finally getting off the plane. What might have been a two-and-a-half-hour flight before has become a seven-hour one. Before you know it, flying with Harrison Ford will begin to look like the better option.
Top Image: 272447/Pixabay