Competitive fares have made this the best time ever to fly from Pocatello Regional Airport, according to manager David Allen. “With competitive fares, savings in time and money, jet service and service improvements, flying from Pocatello is better than ever,” Allen exclaimed, adding that the resulting increase in passengers could eventually help obtain additional air service. “Showing passenger growth with our existing service is always a prerequisite for seeking new or improved service and we need to continue this trend,” Allen said.
Allen and his staff regularly compare air fares from Pocatello, Idaho Falls and Salt Lake to 14 top destinations favored by Pocatello travelers, and the differences make flying from Pocatello a very attractive choice. “Checking the lowest fares available, the fares from Pocatello are averaging over $200 less than fares to the same destinations through Idaho Falls and only $62 more than Delta’s fares from Salt Lake City,” Allen said.
Allen emphasizes his comparisons are not very scientific and results will vary, sometimes greatly. Still, his averages are based on 56 recent comparison fares and Allen feels they are very representational. Fares used in the comparison are business travel with departure more than three weeks out for a three day, weekday-only trip. “Pocatello may not be the best choice every time, but it pays to check,” Allen quipped.
An issue Allen is constantly challenging is concerns with layover times in Salt Lake City (SLC). Travelers often tell him they will choose to fly from Salt Lake to avoid a four-hour layover, especially on the return leg. Allen’s response is that travelers add more than six hours to their travel to avoid that layover. “If your flight departs SLC at 8:30 a.m., you’ll plan to arrive at the airport two hours prior, or 6:30 a.m. That requires a departure from home at 4:00 a.m. There’s four and a half hours to get to the gate. Coming back it takes about an hour to go from the aircraft through baggage claim to the economy lot, plus another two and a half hour drive home. That’s three and a half hours. All told you’ll spend eight hours round-trip between home and the SLC boarding gate to avoid a four hour layover.”
Or, Allen says, you can be at the Pocatello airport at 5:50 a.m. for the 6:50 a.m. departure, transferring in SLC to that same 8:30 a.m. aircraft departure. “And when you return to the Pocatello airport after the trip you’re home in minutes, not hours,” Allen said.
And don’t even get him started on the cost to drive to SLC. “With gas, accelerated maintenance, depreciation and parking, and did I mention Pocatello has unlimited free parking, you will spend about $180 driving roundtrip between home and SLC,” Allen said.
Allen said the addition of a jet flight and continued improvements, such as the media center, have also made travel from Pocatello a pleasant experience. All of these factors have contributed to growth in passenger traffic at a time when the national market is shrinking. “We’re growing, and that’s important for attracting additional service,” Allen said.