Non Region Specific Airport preferences based on convenience

David Chaus

<insert clever custom title>
Skier
Team Gathermeister
Joined
Nov 12, 2015
Posts
4,615
Location
Stanwood, WA
OK, I just flew from SeaTac to Kalispell, then flew back to Seattle from Missoula. I gotta say, the Missoula airport is really nice and spacious, once they finish the rebuild of the rental car section it'll be one of my favorite airports.
 

surfsnowgirl

Instructor
Skier
Joined
May 12, 2016
Posts
4,962
Location
Nowhere
I'm mostly a non stop gal. That said I do love the Hartford, CT airport. It's clean and just easy. I'm closer now to Boston over the new york airports and so if I ever needed nonstop and BDL couldn't give it to me then that's where I'd go.
 

dbostedo

Asst. Gathermeister
Moderator
Joined
Feb 9, 2016
Posts
12,929
Location
Nor. Virginia, USA
Connecting through O'Hare is a nightmare. Never again.
I'm curious what the issue is with O'Hare... I've connected through there a few times and never had a problem. Probably depends on when exactly you're there and which routes you're on. I often connect through DFW, which is similarly large... no problem there either.

Maybe I'm lucky, or just easy going about travel, but I can't think of an airport I've been to that I really have any issue with (of the probably 35 or so in North America I've been to - and a bunch more internationally). Just tend to prefer smaller ones for easier/quicker access to everything - parking, check-in, baggage claim, rental cars, etc. as said earlier in the thread.
 

MarkP

Wannabe Retiree
Skier
Joined
Jul 15, 2017
Posts
927
Location
Maryland
Changing my vote back ... nonstop is THE priority.

I just did a trip on Southwest. One stop with plane changes each way. The stop added 2 hours of travel time each way. Ugh.

I'm looking at United non-stop for the next trip.

A recent Southwest booking for a mid winter trip had me choosing between a 40 minute stop with plane change in Chicago or 2 hour extra total time (equal split between added air and layover times) through a more southerly way station.

I've had 2 winter flights have to circle Chicago in the winter for more than an hour, one that had to be diverted to Indianapolis before fuel got too low. At least they were no plane change.

I went with the longer flight... and my friend can just wait for me and my gear to arrive at the same time.
 

chilehed

Out on the slopes
Skier
Joined
Sep 13, 2017
Posts
565
Location
Michigan
I'm curious what the issue is with O'Hare... I've connected through there a few times and never had a problem.
I've been through there twice. Both times my delays were greater that the sum of all other delays I've had in my entire life. Never again, unless I have to do it to save the world.
 

Johnfmh

Johnfmh
Skier
Joined
Aug 20, 2018
Posts
442
Location
Arlington, VA
For those thinking of Europe, the major hub airports are a mess. I have travelled to Europe twice in the last 4 months through FRA. Last week, I waited 2 hours to get through customs. The car rental line was 30 minutes. Ugh. Not fun. Colleagues in Europe have experienced similar issues plus cancelled flights, etc.

In the US, my favorite ski airport is BTV. Lots of direct flights to Washington and about 45 minutes to Stowe. Several big grocery stores are close by as well as Trader Joes. Can’t beat it. I did not purchase Epic Pass, so no Stowe for me this year, but Jay is still an option.
 
Thread Starter
TS
Tricia

Tricia

The Velvet Hammer
Admin
SkiTalk Tester
Joined
Nov 1, 2015
Posts
22,945
Location
Tahoe
Connecting through O'Hare is a nightmare. Never again.
I'm curious what the issue is with O'Hare... I've connected through there a few times and never had a problem. Probably depends on when exactly you're there and which routes you're on. I often connect through DFW, which is similarly large... no problem there either.

Maybe I'm lucky, or just easy going about travel, but I can't think of an airport I've been to that I really have any issue with (of the probably 35 or so in North America I've been to - and a bunch more internationally). Just tend to prefer smaller ones for easier/quicker access to everything - parking, check-in, baggage claim, rental cars, etc. as said earlier in the thread.
I think it depends on where you're coming from and going to.
When I lived in Michigan and flew out of Traverse City, the issues I dealt with were
  • Flight issued due to winds coming across Lake Michigan
  • Flying in on a smaller plane meant that you had to deplane (sometimes) on the tarmac then go on a shuttle to get to anthoer terminal to get on a bigger plane and go up a flight of steps to access the gate.
  • When I needed to charge a phone or use my computer there were only about 3 outlets near a gate, which was complex if flight delays happened because everyone wanted those three outlets.
I remember when O'Hare was state of the art but, unless they make some major upgrades, its somewhat antiquated in its current state.
 

dbostedo

Asst. Gathermeister
Moderator
Joined
Feb 9, 2016
Posts
12,929
Location
Nor. Virginia, USA
When I needed to charge a phone or use my computer there were only about 3 outlets near a gate, which was complex if flight delays happened because everyone wanted those three outlets.
They've got charging ports and outlets all over most of the seating areas now, IME. So that's one issue taken care of at least.

I will say that for winter trips, if I have to connect, I try to avoid cities that could have winter weather. That's why I connect through DFW often, and have connected through Phoenix and Raleigh, and try to avoid Chicago in the winter.
 

Andy Mink

Upside down but trying harder
Moderator
SkiTalk Tester
Joined
Nov 12, 2015
Posts
9,785
Location
Reno
its somewhat antiquated in its current state.
Even in its prime, O'Hare's floors and seats were really uncomfortable if you had an overnight layover. That trip sucked! Because it was overnight I had to get my baggage then go back through the next morning. This was well before TSA and all that but it was still a big PIA!
 

Pat AKA mustski

I can keep a Secret
Skier
Joined
Nov 15, 2015
Posts
3,840
Location
Big Bear, California
I must confess that I have NEVER had a good experience in O'Hare. In fairness though, I am always flying internationally when I pass through O'Hare so there are additional complications. Remind me to tell you about my "you match a description" experience when I was 22 and my CDC covid experience during March 2020. Let's just say ... it's hard to say what was worse the drug search or the covid check!
 

Bill Miles

Old Man Groomer Zoomer
Skier
Joined
Nov 16, 2015
Posts
923
Location
Hailey, Idaho
Worst connection I ever had was in Houston:

Connection was a little tight for international to domestic to begin with. My bad for booking it.

International flight to Houston was a little late getting in.

Getting luggage, going through customs and immigration, and re-dropping off luggage was a little slow.

Going through TSA again from international to domestic was bad, long lines and they seemed to be favoring other lines than ours.

Pretty long hoof to departure gate, no sign of any of those buggies to give us a ride.

Missed departure flight by about 5-10 minutes, had to stay in Houston overnight. Edit: Without our luggage, of course.
 
Last edited:

ADKmel

Skiing the powder
Skier
Joined
Jan 6, 2016
Posts
1,699
Location
Southern Adirondacks NY
I'm curious what the issue is with O'Hare... I've connected through there a few times and never had a problem. Probably depends on when exactly you're there and which routes you're on. I often connect through DFW, which is similarly large... no problem there either.

Maybe I'm lucky, or just easy going about travel, but I can't think of an airport I've been to that I really have any issue with (of the probably 35 or so in North America I've been to - and a bunch more internationally). Just tend to prefer smaller ones for easier/quicker access to everything - parking, check-in, baggage claim, rental cars, etc. as said earlier in the thread.
O'hare-- And Detroit. Seems coming from Albany is always via puddle jumper plane- (delta/united) land at gate A3000 and i have 30min to get to next flight at gate Z10,000- I run alot thru airports, moving sidewalks are my friend. Going to ABQ /Taos last winter- SW cancelled my flight so I went Delta the next am (5am) the plane had no fuel, they said the fuel trucks were frozen to the taramac told us all to look for alternate flights to ABQ- it would take an hr to get fuel! I ended up running at Detroit, over a mile from gate to gate- got there as they were loading C passengers.. I did make it. but then had to go to atlanta then to ABQ- This year I'm going a day early thru Baltimore to Dallas.. ugh 2 stops
now trying to avoid sleep overs.. I've slept in Detroit and Chicago forget the other one was yrs ago a Northern USAir hub- it's not fun- I got to see how little the cleaners do at night.. yak yak yak, finally i told them I was undercover and filming them not working.. they left my area.
 

locknload

Out on the slopes
Skier
Joined
Feb 3, 2016
Posts
641
Location
Carlsbad
Locally, I really prefer to fly from Reagan National, rather than Dulles, mostly because it's smaller. So easier to park (if I don't take a cab), easier to check-in, short walk to the terminals rather than a train, etc.

In general, smaller airports are easier and more convenient, provided they have what you need (rental cars, restaurants, etc.) So if flying to New Mexico, I like Santa Fe over Albuquerque. If going to Colorado, I like Eagle or Aspen over Denver. Etc. They can be more expensive, or have less flight options, but they're certainly more convenient.



Just to be clear, on a lot of sites "off-airport" can mean you have to take public transport or a cab to get there. Airport provided shuttles - like in Denver - are still usually called "at the airport", "in-airport", "airport shuttle", etc. on a lot of sites I've seen.
Reagan is a dream. 22 yrs in the Beltway and it was always my first choice. Now living in San Diego...SAN feels very similar...but is also too small for a city the size of San Diego. Non-stop is always my priority and non stops into DC/Nova (where I go for business quite a bit) are really only on United and SW. I've built my points on United so I stick with that. A friend who was travel warrior always told me to prioritize non stop and larger airplanes....he always thought it was worth a bit more time traveling on the ground if the time in the air was more comfortable and less time consuming.
 

locknload

Out on the slopes
Skier
Joined
Feb 3, 2016
Posts
641
Location
Carlsbad
Y'all make me happy to live in Denver. Ski traffic on I-70 can suck, but at least we don't have to get on an airplane to ski! :ogbiggrin:

As for traveling elsewhere, our little cow town's airport is now the third busiest in the world, so traveling elsewhere is usually easy and cheap.

We are going to San Diego for a beach vacation next week, and Southwest has seven direct flights on weekdays and six on the weekend!

It's a bit of a drive to DIA, and parking can be a pain, but both are manageable and well worth the benefits to locals from the enormous traffic through DIA.
I spend a lot of time in Denver. I find the drive to DIA..particularly with traffic to be insufferable..the only thing worse is the drive to the mountains on a busy day in summer or winter! I love CO and its a great state...but the I 70 I25 corridor feels smothered by overpopulation these days. Maybe that's no different than most other places though.
 

locknload

Out on the slopes
Skier
Joined
Feb 3, 2016
Posts
641
Location
Carlsbad
I'm curious what the issue is with O'Hare... I've connected through there a few times and never had a problem. Probably depends on when exactly you're there and which routes you're on. I often connect through DFW, which is similarly large... no problem there either.

Maybe I'm lucky, or just easy going about travel, but I can't think of an airport I've been to that I really have any issue with (of the probably 35 or so in North America I've been to - and a bunch more internationally). Just tend to prefer smaller ones for easier/quicker access to everything - parking, check-in, baggage claim, rental cars, etc. as said earlier in the thread.
O'Hare is a disaster in the summer with thunderstorms and winter storms in the cold months. When you get trapped there it cascades through the airline system and it can be hard to get out. It is to be avoided mostly. You'll do better in spring and fall though.
 

Tony S

I have a confusion to make ...
Skier
Team Gathermeister
Joined
Nov 14, 2015
Posts
8,886
Location
Maine
I've built my points on United so I stick with that.

O'Hare is a disaster in the summer with thunderstorms and winter storms in the cold months. When you get trapped there it cascades through the airline system and it can be hard to get out. It is to be avoided mostly.
How do you avoid O'Hare and stick with United? (From New England, pretty much every single United flight goes to O'Hare before you can go anywhere west of the Mississippi. I'm exaggerating slightly, but not much. P.S.: Newark is even worse.)


A friend who was travel warrior always told me to prioritize non stop and larger airplanes....he always thought it was worth a bit more time traveling on the ground if the time in the air was more comfortable and less time consuming.
For me it depends on what the ground travel is like. If "traveling on the ground" means sitting amid the oil tanks and general post-apocalyptic wasteland that is Revere, Massachusetts, on the way to Logan, in an interminable traffic jam, on a gray and drizzly day in February, so I can park my car five miles from the airport, pay through the nose for the privilege, and then wait for a shuttle in the rain, so I can stand in a HUGE line to check my skis ... no.
 
Last edited:

Andy Mink

Upside down but trying harder
Moderator
SkiTalk Tester
Joined
Nov 12, 2015
Posts
9,785
Location
Reno
O'hare-- And Detroit. Seems coming from Albany is always via puddle jumper plane- (delta/united) land at gate A3000 and i have 30min to get to next flight at gate Z10,000- I run alot thru airports, moving sidewalks are my friend. Going to ABQ /Taos last winter- SW cancelled my flight so I went Delta the next am (5am) the plane had no fuel, they said the fuel trucks were frozen to the taramac told us all to look for alternate flights to ABQ- it would take an hr to get fuel! I ended up running at Detroit, over a mile from gate to gate- got there as they were loading C passengers.. I did make it. but then had to go to atlanta then to ABQ- This year I'm going a day early thru Baltimore to Dallas.. ugh 2 stops
now trying to avoid sleep overs.. I've slept in Detroit and Chicago forget the other one was yrs ago a Northern USAir hub- it's not fun- I got to see how little the cleaners do at night.. yak yak yak, finally i told them I was undercover and filming them not working.. they left my area.
Should have driven!
 

Pat AKA mustski

I can keep a Secret
Skier
Joined
Nov 15, 2015
Posts
3,840
Location
Big Bear, California
Currently, any large airport with heavy traffic is a bad choice. What used to be a head ache or an inconvenience has been a nightmare. I road trip whenever possible but, as I am in the midst of planning a month long trip via Canada to Europe … I find myself questioning my sanity! How many times will I have to pass through customs?!!
 
Top