I'm a big proponent for shopping local. Support your locally owned and operated business and you'll help the local economy. But when it comes to shopping for airfares, many of us opt out of our Columbia airport
Keeping our hometown airport competitive is a big priority for economic development in the Midlands, but many feel that in spite of the convenience, it's just cheaper to fly out of other regional airports. If you're like me, you shop airfares online, and my experience has been that flying out of Charlotte is almost always quicker and cheaper than Columbia even though I have to drive an hour to get there. And parking is cheaper too!
Passenger traffic at the Columbia airport has fallen monthly since May, after nine months of steady growth. With several new direct flights added recently, perhaps this trend will be reversed, but it's doubtful that Columbia will see the likes of Jet Blue or Southwest anytime soon because our population base is small and we just can't compete with big cities and tourist destinations in the region.
But as the adage says, if you build it they will come. Unless we bite the bullet and get these boarding numbers up at our hometown airport, we won't see much progress in cheaper airfares and more direct flights. There's something to be said about the shorter check-in lines and convenience of our local airport, so be sure to give Columbia a fair shake before you fly the friendly skies from another location.