A Work Day Trip to Fort McMurray, Should You Fly or Drive?

Last week during our biweekly Friday afternoon project meeting the sales guy says over the speaker phone, “well I will be up there next week on Wednesday the 28th for a walk through for this RFB (request for bid). Perhaps we can meet up to discuss this projects progress and go over a few other items, are you available?” And the client’s response was, “I am available that day, all day. Will Aaron be joining you?”

Without really having a choice in the matter, I replied with a grimace and scowl on my face, in a very pleasant tone, “of course, I’ll be there.” This unplanned for trip, would now set me back another 1 1/2 days to try catching-up on work, after returning from holiday.

Fast forward through the weekend and I am sitting in the Monday morning engineers meeting, as my mind began to wander and wonder about the cost of flying versus the cost of driving? And if the director would approve a short-notice flight to Ft Mac?

  • Flying: airline tickets, wait times, food/beverage, taxi cabs
  • Driving: windshield time, no waiting, pit-stops, hotel room, food/beverage

While periodically listening to the conversation in the room, I put together a rough estimate of costs for flying versus driving, per person. 

  1. Flying:
    1. A round-trip ticket ($625)
    2. Estimated food costs ($15 breakfast/$20 lunch/$35 dinner)
    3. Taxi cabs ($12.50 x2)
      1. equals $715.00
  2. Driving: 
    1. 5-hours driving ($500)
    2. Estimated food costs ($15 snacks/$35 dinner)
    3. Hotel room ($250)
    4. Estimated food costs ($25 lunch/$35 dinner/$15 snacks)
    5. 5-hours driving ($500)
      1. equals $1375.00

As I sat listening to the conversation change topics, all I was interested in, was talking to the boss about agreeing that taking an airplane is the more cost efficient and effective choice. And I thought, “I wonder what Victor’s choice would be?” The meeting finally ended and I went to locate Victor.

“Hey Victor how would you like to get to Ft Mac?” I found myself asking as I silently prayed his answer would be Lets Fly! Instead he fumbled through a list of his own Pros and Cons, then ranted on about the costs of two airplane tickets versus two hotel rooms. His rationale lead him to believe driving would the more cost effective way. At the time, I didn’t expect him to opt for driving over flying.

Well, what do you think? What is your preference?,” he asked.

Confused by the question and profound wisdom a sales guy who probably drives more than flies, I said, “I am good with either. I think flying would be the better option. And I am not opposed to driving, as I like road trips.” His response being, “Let’s check with Wayne and Craig. See what they think is best? And make a decision then.” 

Catching Wayne in the hallway, I started in on the fly versus drive conversation as he said, “sorry I cannot talk now, late for a meeting with Craig.” And my reply, “that is okay. I need his opinion on this topic too.” I laid out before the two, the options of driving versus flying. Wayne liked the idea of driving because he lives an hour north of the city. And the drive to the airport, plus waiting, plus his own anxiety, equalled drive to him. Craig who lives in the City and has a shorter commute to the airport, said “Fly.” And I explained the cost of flying to them both. “Whichever you choose is good with us,” came back the feedback.

Then I located Victor. “They are good with either choice. Its really a split decision. Wayne says drive, these are his reasons. Craig says fly, these are his reasons. Which would you like? Like I said, I am good either way.” 

And that’s how we ended up driving.