To the Editor:
I travel for work. For 10 of the past 13 years I have flown in or out of the Pierre airport an average of twice a month. In all the time that Great Lakes Airlines has served Pierre, they have treated me well. I continue to fly Great Lakes from Pierre today. They are an excellent regional airline staffed by professional, courteous, competent people.
I have never fully understood why Pierre officials made the determination that Great Lakes’ service to Pierre was not adequate. Certainly recent rule changes by the FAA have caused pilot shortages, resulting in cancellations; but this is affecting all airlines. When it does happen, I would rather be dealing with Great Lakes, as they are unfailingly helpful and responsive. Those of us who fly a lot know cancellations and delays happen, and we accept them. Great Lakes has held planes when connecting flights were late, enabling me to get home; they have never lost my bag. Sure the planes are noisy; but the seats are more comfortable than those in modern major airlines. Wear ear plugs. Great Lakes gets us out to make connections to anywhere in the world, and I am grateful to be able to fly from Pierre.
Great Lakes Airlines has continued to provide regular service to Pierre even in the face of a vote of no confidence from city officials and the loss of their federal subsidy. I applaud our recent recognition that ADI is not a viable alternative for Pierre, given their criminal proceedings and bankruptcies; I would not want to fly with them. I urge our City Council to recognize all that Great Lakes has provided and continues to offer the people of Pierre, and play nice with them. I hope Great Lakes receives full and positive consideration in the upcoming bid process for airline service.
Given the nature of my work I can live anywhere, and I choose to live in Pierre. Great Lakes has been a big part of my ability to make that choice.
Original article can be found here: http://www.capjournal.com/opinions/letter