Learning objectives: simulation of interaction with complex economic system with constraints (multiple dependencies; limited information). Balance of tradeoffs and introduction to path-dependent strategies.
Skills development: Build personal inventory of IATA airport and airline codes; develop knowledge and use of online resources including FlyerTalk board and ITA; compute cost-distance metrics e.g. cpm; develop and explain strategy to optimize outcomes and explain step by step learning.
You have a budget of $3,000. It is your job to travel as far as you can on this money. The person who can travel the furthest will win the contest.
Here are the rules of the contest.
You will fly your initial leg from Tucson and must return to Tucson at the conclusion of your final flight segment.
Your flights must be sequential. For example, if you fly to Ottawa, your next flight in sequence must depart from Ottawa, and so on. You can travel by surface between airports, as long as this is budgeted and in sequence. You can buy these tickets up to your maximum budget – keep track of how much you are spending after each purchase and ensure you remain within the budget. Start an Excel column sheet at $3,000 and deduct each purchase at the time so that you can monitor your budget.
Your total flight distance must exceed the total distance covered by all surface transportation sectors.
Each sector must be supported by a ticketing site screen capture that gives the total purchase cost of your itinerary. These must be printed and included in the final submission.
An Excel worksheet must be developed to track sector origin and destination, dates, cost of sector, cumulative budget remaining, distance traveled and cumulative distance traveled.
Frequent Flyer Program Use-You will begin this trip with a mileage balance of zero on all carriers. As you accumulate mileage, you may aggregate it in the specific airline frequent flyer program according to their published rules. If you reach the threshold for award ticket redemption and wish to use one of these as part of your solution, then you must conduct a dummy booking on the airline website and supply the printout as part of your purchase solution. You must demonstrate that you have accumulated the correct number of miles for each redemption before you can use the redemption.
Deliverables-An Excel spreadsheet that shows your path from start to finish using airport codes. Each segment must be flown in its correct sequence. The columns should show: date of flight, origin, destination, and cost. Ensure you also present your total mileage traveled and a cost-distance metric.
You must provide a written description of your thought process as you purchase your tickets.
You must also include printouts of each ticket that you purchase for this itinerary. These can be screenshots of the ticketing system purchase screen (e.g. Orbitz.com screen) or the airline website purchase screen. Reflect on your success, or otherwise, at the conclusion of your travels. You may take the screenshots and make them smaller so you could fit them all on one document
(You will need my info to theoretically purchase the flight tickets. The information to enter on the screen shots of the flight is right below.)
Incentives: the student who achieves the lowest cost-per-mile i.e. the greatest distance, in accord with the rules above, will be awarded an automatic 100% grade for their Midterm 3.
Resources for Assignment
Discussion boards: http://www.flyertalk.com. Mileage Run/Miles Buzz/Airline Programs.
IATA codes: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Air_Transport_Association_airport_code
Great Circle Mapper
(great circle distance between airports)
ITA Matrix (helps to find days with available fares: Tutorial provided in class Tues August 25th)
IATA lookup table for airline and airport codes:
Mark Tacchi and the Great Canadian Mileage Run 2005