Midwest Express last week announced it will end its direct flight between Des Moines and the nation’s capitol. Senator Tom Harkin flies the route often, and he’s surprised the airline says it’s losing money on the direct Des Moines to D.C. connection. Harkin says he can’t figure out why Midwest Express is losing money on the route. Harkin says he flies home on Fridays, and the plane is full, and when he flies back to D.C. on a Sunday, that flight’s full, too. Harkin says Midwest Express stopped serving meals and free wine on the flights. You have to buy a meal if you want to eat on board. He says they still serve the free, hot chocolate chip cookies on the Des Moines to D.C. run, but Harkin says he’s still baffled about the airline’s contention they’re losing money on the route.Harkin says records indicate 70-thousand passengers flew the Midwest Des Moines to D.C. flight in 2003, and he describes that as a “pretty healthy chunk” of passengers. Harkin says members of his staff have talked with Midwest Express executives who’ve indicated their loss on the Des Moines to D.C. connection was a million bucks. Harkin says he’s hoping another carrier like America picks up the opening, but he concedes American would probably fly smaller planes.
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