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-   -   Small Airports are Awesome! (https://www.fodors.com/community/united-states/small-airports-are-awesome-912457/)

MelTraveler Nov 17th, 2011 08:26 AM

Small Airports are Awesome!
 
Over the past few years i have done a lot of traveling throughout the united states and have come to one conclusion. Small Airports Rule. I fly out of the Muskegon airport every time i leave town and have never had a problem with them. I show up an hour before my flight, i am through security within ten minutes, and i have time to relax before my flight. If i could avoid flying in or out of any large airport again i would.

suewoo Nov 17th, 2011 08:33 AM

I concur. I'll take a small one any day.

Patti Nov 17th, 2011 09:38 AM

Oh yes! I actively try to avoid Chicago, Dallas, Atlanta or the NYC area airports.

Let's name some of our small favorites, I'll start:

Bradley International Airport, Hartford, CT - airlines fly to Canada and Puerto Rico so I guess that counts as "international"

Waco Regional Airport, Waco, TX - tiniest luggage carousel EVER

University Park Airport, State College, PA

jayne1973 Nov 17th, 2011 09:41 AM

John Wayne in LA

Jolie Nov 17th, 2011 10:24 AM

Years (decades) ago, I took a trip to Molokai. The planes were so small they asked the passengers for their weight before boarding. My luggage must have pushed the plane over the weight limit because they had to put it on the next flight. So I'm at the Molokai airport waiting for the next flight (which has my bag on it), and decide to sit on a metal bench while I wait. A worker came over and asked me to move because I was "sitting on the baggage claim."

This must have been 20 years ago. The airport is probably larger by now. But I hope not TOO large.

panecott Nov 17th, 2011 11:16 AM

Long Beach Airport in CA -- it's so laid back.

Bozeman Airport in MT -- feels like a ski lodge.

Bora Bora Airport. (Well, when I was there in '86 it was an old WW II Airstrip. I don't know if it's changed since then, but it was pretty cool).

Bobmrg Nov 17th, 2011 11:51 AM

Jolie, all Part 135 (air taxi) operators are required to ask the passengers what they weigh...some use bathroom scales to be sure. Weight and balance are far more critical in small aircraft than in transport category aircraft (airliners).

I can't say that everyone does it, but many airlines have transducers on the landing gear that "weigh" the passengers and cargo as they are loaded and transmit that information to the dispatch office where a computer tracks the center of gravity to be sure that it falls within the aircraft's operating envelope.

It is entirely possible for an airplane of any size to tilt nose-up enough to strike the tail on the ground if the loading is not done properly.

spirobulldog Nov 17th, 2011 12:38 PM

Moab, Utah
Cortez Colorado

These places really crack me up. How they can operate with less than 75 passengers a day on 2 or 3 flights, I don't know. 1 gate, 1 auto rental agency, 1 or 2 guys at security. And yes, some of the flights have 1 pilot with no attendant. Great Lakes Aviation handles a lot of these type places. All seats are window seats and no bathrooms on the plane.

My two problems with smaller airports. They are almost always a lot higher to fly in/out of. If you do run into a delay due to mechanical or crew problems, then your delay can turn into a nightmare. I had a nightmare trying to get to Kalispel, MT this summer. I never made it and ended up losing about $2500 on lodging(VRBO)and tours that I had planned(even after getting my money back for the flight).

Jolie Nov 17th, 2011 01:03 PM

Thanks, Bob. I did wonder whether they were secretly weighing us (I would never take my word for it!), or if they built in a safety factor like adding 20 pounds to everyone's answer.

Keith Nov 27th, 2011 11:28 AM

The Pellston Michigan Airport is very nice. Too bad its air service isn't.

mscleo Nov 27th, 2011 01:58 PM

South Bend, Indiana. Straight out the door and into my rental car within seconds. No muss...no fuss...

Connie Nov 27th, 2011 04:39 PM

Bozeman, MT
Lexington, KY

After 9/11, the first day we could fly back into the U.S., only small airports were open--all the large airports were still closed. I couldn't get to my home airport (DFW) so I flew into Oklahoma City---I can't tell you how good it felt to land there.

Birdie Nov 28th, 2011 03:32 AM

Patrick Henry Field in Newport News, Virginia. That's what it used to be called anyway. I think it's now Newport News/Williamsburg.

BittenByTheTBug Mar 27th, 2012 07:15 PM

My favorite is Capital City Airport right here in my hometown of Lansing Michigan. Small enough for all the conveniences mentioned, but large enough for there to be options in the event of a flight being canceled.

Will be flying out of Grand Rapids Michigan airport for the first time several weeks from now - expecting the same scenario.

I always choose a small airport to start from if the price is anywhere near the price of a big one. No need to pay for parking, cost hardly anything in gas money, and can save four to five hours of time compared to flying out of Detroit due to short security lines and short distance. Well worth it!

OO Mar 28th, 2012 03:00 AM

I don't know if Tampa qualifies as small, but it's the best airport I've flown to, from, or through, hands down.

Jacksonville terrific too, as is Key West.

Worst small, Grenada, West Indies, perhaps because I spent 12 hours there with a one year old while they tried to fix our plane, though they eventually had to fly a mechanic in from Puerto Rico to get it done.

Keith Mar 28th, 2012 10:21 AM

I like Capital City Airport, but can never get a good fare there.

Dukey1 Mar 28th, 2012 01:37 PM

I hear you Mel but IME some of those small airports have made my resulting airfare "awesome" and NOT in a good way, either.

5alive Mar 28th, 2012 02:34 PM

I did enjoy San Jose years ago, where we climbed down one of those metal staircases outside. And Burbank was also a favorite of my family's--smaller and friendlier than LAX.

PatN Mar 28th, 2012 05:38 PM

Can't beat the view coming into the airport at Jackson, Wyoming. Or the view while you are having a snack before the flight, but can be crowded and hectic during peak season. I think it is STILL the only airport within a U.S. national park.

jubilada Mar 29th, 2012 06:34 AM

I like Bradley too, though it is much bigger than it used to be. Albany, NY is still small , and served by SW . I'd rather pay higher fare than deal with the monster airports any day.


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