Roanoke, VA - When Ron Shandler was looking for a flight to send his daughter to Miami last month, he was floored when he found such a flight from Roanoke was $300 more than the same flight from Lynchburg.
"Makes you wonder why there's a big difference between two airports relatively close to each other. Why there would be such a big difference in fares from one to another?" said Shandler.
It's a complaint heard often, even though the data doesn't support it.
"Airfares are set by the airlines and on any given day, each airline does more than 250,000 fare changes in their system. They fluctuate very quickly and very nimbly based on user demands," said Roanoke Regional Airport Spokeswoman Sherry Wallace.
And that's the key: to make sure you shop around, because our local airports are in line with each other when it comes to airfares... on average.
"If they can sell a seat for $500, they are going to do it," said Wallace.
The most complete data available from the Department of Transportation shows that in the first two quarters of 2012, the average roundtrip airfare out of Roanoke was $485.
Lynchburg came in at $481 with Charlottesville coming it at $488.
To see a big average break, travelers would have to go to Greensboro where the average roundtrip fare was $412.
Regardless, the bottom line is timing and supply and demand.
"It took me three hours to drive back and forth and unpack her at the airport and everything. Half my day is gone but it's worth the money to make the trip," said Shandler.
Most people in our area fly out of Roanoke because that airport connects with six different regional hubs versus just one that connects out of Lynchburg.
Officials in Roanoke say if you are looking for your best deal out of the Star City the deals tend to pop up about six weeks out from the departure date.
Something to keep in mind next time you fly.
For more information on air fare, click here.