American Airlines to start all-year, daily service to Eagle County’s airport
Here’s a look at which airlines are flying to the Eagle County Regional Airport.
• Daily flights: United Airlines, from Denver, through its United Express subsidiary. Starting in the spring of 2018, American Airlines will bring daily service from Dallas.
• Summer and fall: United and American fly routes from Denver, Houston and Dallas.
• Ski season:
Air Canada: Saturday flights from Toronto.
United Airlines: Flights from Chicago, Houston, San Francisco and Newark.
American Airlines: Flights from Dallas, Phoenix, Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami and New York.
Delta Airlines: Flights from Atlanta and Salt Lake City.
For more detailed information, go to http://www.flyvail.com.
EAGLE COUNTY — For years, only one airline — United, through a subsidiary — has provided daily, all-year air service to the Eagle County Regional Airport. That number will double starting in the spring.
American Airlines for years has brought seasonal daily service from Dallas. The airline announced in May it would expand that daily service through the fall and announced recently it would continue daily service through the spring and into the summer.
Mike Brumbaugh is the owner of Venture Sports. He’s also the current chairman of the EGE Air Alliance, a consortium of local governments and business interests dedicated to improving air service into the airport.
Brumbaugh said the news about all-year service from Dallas broke at a recent board meeting of the group. Jaws dropped and eyes widened, he said.
“Two of the people on the board are with hotels, and they were excited,” Brumbaugh said. That excitement is because of the prospect of luring more spring and fall group business.
“Right now, we’re losing a lot of groups to Park City through Salt Lake City,” Brumbaugh said. “That’s their marketing — staying off (Interstate 70) from Denver.”
MINUTES FROM RESORTS
Like flights into Salt Lake City, flights from Dallas will put visitors minutes, not hours, from the resorts.
Vail Resort Rentals owner Dale Bugby said the daily shoulder-season flights from Dallas could be “huge.”
Second-home owners may end up flying into the Vail Valley more frequently, Bugby said.
“I think it’s great for the economy. People will use it,” Bugby said.
The future of the daily Dallas flight may also be enhanced by connections to Mexico and South America through Dallas.
“Expanded air service is not huge numbers in terms of overall people, but it’s the different people that might come,” Bugby said.
Beyond visitors, through, both Bugby and Brumbaugh said the shoulder-season flights could be a boon for residents.
“You’re talking about three extra hours, and then parking” at Denver International Airport, Bugby said.
Brumbaugh acknowledged that flights out of Eagle are often more expensive than equivalent flights from Denver. But there’s more than money in the equation, he added.
SAVE THE STRESS
Brumbaugh said he and his wife recently traveled overseas with another local couple. On the return trip, both couples flew from Germany into Dallas. The Brumbaughs flew from Dallas to Denver; the friends flew from Dallas to Eagle.
“We left at about the same time and they got home 12 hours before we did,” Brumbaugh said. After what he described as an “awesome” trip, Brumbaugh said his stress level was soon back at pre-trip levels after fighting construction, traffic and other delays. Then there’s the fact that after a lengthy trip, the Brumbaughs’ parking charge in Denver was more than $200.
“If I’m flying out of Eagle, parking is five minutes and security is another 20, max,” he said. A difference of $100 per ticket for two people is easily justified by time and frustration saved, he said.
That price difference quickly becomes daunting for family travel, but for one or two people, the convenience far outweighs the cost, Brumbaugh said.
A ski-season flight to Phoenix seemed to be well-used by locals, Brumbaugh said. Adding all-year access to Dallas will make the airport a better option for local travelers, he said.
“I think once locals find out about this, they’re going to use it,” he said.
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