To fly, or not to fly, from Vail to Denver
High Country Business Review
James Deighan does a lot of flying on business, and he’s willing to drive from Vail to Denver to do it. Pat Peeples is willing to pay more to fly from the Eagle County Regional Airport in Gypsum.
It costs more ” sometimes a lot more ” to fly out of the local airport. Nonstop service to more than a couple of major cities is available only during ski season. Otherwise, flyers have to catch a connecting flight to Denver and then fly to their destinations.
But parking is free, and the airport is minutes from nearly anywhere in the Vail Valley.
For Peeples ” owner of Peeples Ink, a local public relations company ” the convenience is worth the cost. She said she does perhaps 70 percent of her flying from the local airport.
“It’s so much less of a body slam than going to Denver,” said Peeples, whose company has done work promoting the various flight programs to Eagle County. “For a traveler who lives here, it’s a tremendously convenient service.”
But last-minute flights out of Eagle County can be expensive. Checking prices June 6 for travel June 11, Expedia.com’s best price on a flight to Atlanta ” which required a connecting flight from Eagle County to Denver ” was more than $1,100.
While Peeples is an unabashed booster of flying from the local airport, her enthusiasm isn’t entirely because she does work to tout the flight programs.
Peeples has lived in the valley long enough to remember when the only big jets that flew into the airport came out of Mexico, and then only a few weekends per ski season. To her, the ability to fly out of the county airport is worth just about whatever it costs.
“We plan ahead and book as far out as possible,” Peeples said. “When you figure the price of gas, the price of parking and your time, Eagle’s a pretty good deal.”
The numbers don’t add up for Deighan, an owner of Vail-based Highline Sports.
“I used to fly a lot more out of Eagle than I do now,” Deighan said. “It just got cost-prohibitive, plus I’ve started flying Continental and Frontier.”
Continental only flies to and from Eagle County during ski season, and the closest Frontier flights are from Denver.
Deighan tries to plan ahead, too, but has to do a lot of short-notice flying.
“If I find out June 28 that I need to be in Miami on July 6, most of the time I’ll go to Denver,” he said.
But even from Vail, it can take 2 1/2 hours or more to get to Denver’s airport.
“Time is money,” Deighan said. “When I go, I’ll try to schedule meetings in Denver on the days I travel to spread it out a little.”
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