United has no good choices from Washington, DC to Sarasota, any suggestions?

Discussion in 'United Airlines | MileagePlus' started by disambiguous1, Mar 17, 2014.  |  Print Topic

  1. disambiguous1

    disambiguous1 Silver Member

    Messages:
    90
    Likes Received:
    59
    Status Points:
    235
    I have some relatives near Sarasota that I'd like to go visit from time to time. I mainly fly United because of their European connections (daughter attending school there next year), but United has no good options from the Washington, DC area down to Sarasota. They want to give me layovers in Chicago and Boston (from DC, for Pete's sake!) and the fare prices are hideous. I can find stuff on Hipmonk for half what they're charging.

    All the airports in the DC area (IAD, DCA, BWI) are convenient to me, but BWI is the most handy. You'd think that with three major departure airports to choose from I could find something decent with United, but noooo!

    US had some moderately decent fares to Sarasota from DCA, but since they are moving out of *A they are no longer an option.

    United's options into Tampa aren't much better, and my brother tells me that traffic is so bad down there that it can take over two hours to get from Tampa to Sarasota. If I fly into Sarasota, he can pick me up at the airport, which will save me car rental costs.

    The best choice seems to be to say to heck with the FF miles on United, and get a much cheaper fare from another carrier. However, does anyone out there have any other suggestions? I have an MPX Visa and about 60,000 points, but I'd rather save the miles for European trips.
     
    Newscience likes this.
  2. Mackieman
    Original Member

    Mackieman Gold Member

    Messages:
    11,386
    Likes Received:
    38,945
    Status Points:
    16,530
    Out of BWI, I'd take a hard look at WN. They fly into RSW out of BWI and DCA so you can price compare.
     
    Newscience likes this.
  3. bmg42000
    Original Member

    bmg42000 Gold Member

    Messages:
    6,918
    Likes Received:
    10,443
    Status Points:
    11,805
    Go for the cheapest flight and not worry about the miles. Charge the flight to your CC so you still can get some points from it. Keeping your sanity is more important then getting 1500 United miles.
     
  4. Newscience

    Newscience Gold Member

    Messages:
    14,812
    Likes Received:
    45,324
    Status Points:
    16,475
    This is great advice. Many of us are loyal to airline programs to the point where we have to jump through too many hoops to maintain that loyalty. Travel from the metro area to Sarasota is a tough direct commute to pull off. It appears that's possible with JetBlue if you're willing to travel to Boston to do this. Otherwise travel to RSW from the DC area on WN may be an option. Advance reservations on WN can also save a bundle over most other carriers, and there's no cancellation or change fees with WN.
    Good luck!
     
  5. Jimgotkp
    Original Member

    Jimgotkp Gold Member

    Messages:
    12,834
    Likes Received:
    80,011
    Status Points:
    16,495
    This.

    Fares ex-SEA have been expensive lately on AS and AA, so even though I have AA EXP status I'm looking at other carriers like DL. For me the extra $150+ isn't worth it, especially for a West Coast to West Coast flight... if it were a transcon. then I might have to consider...
     
  6. LIH Prem
    Original Member

    LIH Prem Gold Member

    Messages:
    2,666
    Likes Received:
    5,833
    Status Points:
    4,080
    there were never any good UA SRQ options when I lived in Bradenton. I had to fly out of Tampa.

    It was about an hour drive to get from Sarasota to TPA via the Sunshine Skyway Bridge.

    So if you can't get picked up, you can rent a car, or fly US/AA out of DCA.

    Fort Myers is further down the road. Tampa would be a better option IMO. It's a pretty good airport, pretty easy to get to and has lots of competition (flight-wise).

    And it has that little people-mover individual car monorail system in between the garage and the terminal. :) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tampa_International_Airport#Monorail

    -David
     
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2014
    Phudnik likes this.
  7. Phudnik
    Original Member

    Phudnik Gold Member

    Messages:
    5,099
    Likes Received:
    10,898
    Status Points:
    11,080
    I second this advice. We have a family place in SRQ that we visit once or twice per year. We usually fly into TPA because (1) the tickets are less expensive than flying to SRQ and (2) I didn't want to change planes when the kids were younger, and we can get nonstops from PHL to TPA on US and WN.

    I suspect that DL via ATL will probably be your best bet out of BWI to get to SRQ. The only other options I could think of off-hand are UA through ORD, US through CLT with the last leg on a CR9, or B6 via BOS/JFK. Your least expensive option is likely to be WN BWI-TPA. FL used to have a nonstop from BWI to SRQ, but they dropped it last summer, so that won't help you.

    It takes us about an hour and 15 minutes to get from TPA to our place on Lido Key. It's really not a bad drive at all, provided that you stay on I-75 until you get to University Parkway or Bee Ridge Road in Sarasota. RSW to Sarasota is probably a two-hour drive (we have never tried it, but RSW is on the far side of Ft. Myers).
     
    LIH Prem likes this.
  8. disambiguous1

    disambiguous1 Silver Member

    Messages:
    90
    Likes Received:
    59
    Status Points:
    235
    Another person has joined the trip, and now there are three of us, so it is more cost-effective to drive. Apparently I had crossed a threshold in terms of how close I am to the date of travel (weekend of April 11), and the prices on tickets have skyrocketed. Fares are nearly $900/each to fly BWI-SRQ in freaking coach! With a stop!

    I can remember a few years ago I got a chance to fly BWI to Orlando with two kids on a month's notice, and tickets were under $200/each. It looks like things have changed.

    Maybe next time I'll fly, but prices will have to be a lot cheaper. -DA1
     
  9. Phudnik
    Original Member

    Phudnik Gold Member

    Messages:
    5,099
    Likes Received:
    10,898
    Status Points:
    11,080
    What's changed is that FL dropped the BWI-SRQ route, so there is no competition to constrain the majors (and presumably B6 is charging BWI-BOS and BOS-SRQ). I'm sure it's much cheaper to fly to TPA, since WN flies that route (though their fares go up 14 days out).
     

Share This Page