I'm a college student (read: I'm poor) so I'm rather mercenary about who I fly with (read: whoever has the lowest fare gets my business), which is one of the may reasons I lament the failure of Air South and hope that an LCC finds itself to CAE again. But let's assume that one or more airlines have an identical price, or a very close price range (up to $20 difference), here's my criteriae:
2. Aircraft Type - jets have preference over turboprops. RJs, especially ERJ-145s preferred, as I like the 1-2 seating arrangement, I find the exit rows to be rather roomy, the FAs on RJs that I've encountered tend to be more attentive to each passenger's needs, I like being able to get on and off the aircraft quickly, and at airports that don't have the boarding bridges for RJs, the experience of walking out to your airplane is one that seldom gets old to me.
3. Airline - yes, I know I just said I was mercenary, but if it comes to identical prices, if one of the airlines is one that I've had a catastrophically horrible flight on before, I'll steer clear (which is why I steer clear of UAL. May they go bankrupt in peace.)
4. Times - I typically like flights that take off in the mid afternoon so that I'm wide awake both for the trip itself and I hate being groggy when I arrive anywhere
5. Routing - Direct flights get priority. CAE being a spoke, however, more often than not that means being routed through a hub airport. If it's a hub airport that I like (ATL
for instance), I'll take that flight over a hub airport I dislike (IAD
being number one with a bullet)
South Carolina - too small to be its own country, too big to be a mental asylum.