Piggyback flights for two Northern Michigan airports begin next Monday

The direct flight from Pellston Regional Airport to Detroit will change course starting next week.

In an effort to fill seats, Delta will pick up passengers in Pellston and then stop in Alpena before heading south.

"Obviously not as convenient, we're just going to have to roll with it," says Kelley Atkins.

Starting next Monday, Delta's direct flight from Pellston to Detroit makes an extra stop in Alpena. Itâ??ll also make a stop in Alpena on the way back north. Airport manager Kelley Atkins says airline numbers are down across the region and this is a solution the company is looking at.

â??Delta's trying to utilize their aircraft the best they can, and it just made sense for them to tag up," says Atkins.

Atkins says the details aren't finalized yet, but he thinks it'll add an additional 30 minutes or so to flights coming out of the north. Passengers we talked to had mixed feelings about it.

"The idea of consolidating these flights, everybody has to do it to make a buck, but it seems to me it's not always going to work that way," says frequent flyer Kevin Laporte.

Atkins tells me at some points last year going into this year, numbers have been down as much as 30 percent. He says this move will help fill the planes, but he doesn't expect it to last past May 1st. He says summer numbers don't lie, because during the summer, Pellston's airport is booming.

â??We're really busy June, July, and August, and things seem to level out with the traffic in the summer, they're going back to a direct route to Detroit, it just makes sense, their numbers will be there, temporary hiccup," says Atkins.

In fact, the temporary "piggy-back" flight plan is slated to end on May 1st.

â??They'll just have to give it a go and see if the math works out like they think it will," says Laporte.

Atkins believes whether or not the decision to bring the piggy-back service back after the summer busy season will likely depend on load factors.