“Hub and Spoke” is a term used to describe how airlines in the US set up routes. Instead of point to point flying (as seen in Canada) major carriers such as Delta use feeder airlines to service short routes to get passengers from smaller cities (spokes) to major points (hubs).
The map shows my trip to Memphis and back home this week. I started off on Friday the 19th by driving to Niagara Falls for the Northeast Council of Air Shows (NECAS) meetings. On the 21st, I hopped a flight in Buffalo on a Pinnacle regional jet operating for Delta to Detroit. Then it was a “real” Delta flight to Memphis which, unfortunately, had engine problems resulting in a 2 hour delay.
Coming home, US Airways got me to Charlotte, North Carolina 10 minutes too late for a flight back to Buffalo so it was an uncomfortable sleep in the Airport until yesterday morning at 6:30 when they got me on a plane to Philadelphia. There, I hopped on a Dash 8 100 operated for US Airways by Mesa Airlines to get back to Buffalo. Finally, a snowy drive back to Toronto.
Hub and spoke may make some economic sense but normal connection times don’t leave any margin for weather or equipment delays. Of course, the fact that connecting flights NEVER, NEVER leave from the same terminal that you arrive in doesn’t help either.
In three weeks I get to try this again for a trip to Lexington, Kentucky. Hope everything works out better.