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Grand Rapids Airport (GRR) News and Developments

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After recently inspecting the completed 2009 improvements to Ford Airport (ramp/canopy/motor drive) I was struck by the sense that the Aeronautics Board may have been listening to the conversations of The Rapid/ITP's GT2 Steering Committee that I have served over the last several years - specially my fear that the new ramp would be built without any thought for future connection to the long-coneptualized GVSU-Allendale/Ford Airport East/West Lightrail line. As I walked up toward the atrium that was smack-dab in the center of the ramp I thought to myself, "my GOD, they're leaving a space for the east terminus of the East/West line's rail platform!". If the pride I felt at that moment in the vision of some of Kent County's leadership is not misplaced, then it bodes well for our hopes of becoming a world-class region that lives up to the defining portion of our regional name - GRAND.

Edited by metrogrkid

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No it’s not a stunt, the new flight is real enough. It's not so much that Frontier is coming to Grand Rapids than that it is already here under an assumed name. Republic has apparently melded Frontier and Midwest together but can’t decide which name to use so they are using both names for now. My guess is they will eventually settle on Frontier. This is getting way off topic but if you are really interested here are some links that kind of explain what's going on:

melding Midwest and Frontier

dropping the Midwest name

swapping planes in the middle of the day

As for Republic flying the Denver United Express route, before Republic bought Midwest and Frontier last year their business consisted of flying commuter routes under contract to the major carriers. Now that they are in competition with United at their Denver hub, it will be interesting to see if United finds another carrier.

Too far off-topic - I'm done

I know this is supposed to be "done", but just as a follow up, the cost of nonstop flights between Denver and GR on United has dropped by $200 or more roundtrip since Frontier started flying nonstop between the two cities and offering much lower fares. That makes me very happy. yahoo.gif

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. . . just as a follow up, the cost of nonstop flights between Denver and GR on United has dropped by $200 or more roundtrip since Frontier started flying nonstop between the two cities and offering much lower fares. That makes me very happy. yahoo.gif

It's not just Denver either. The prices to cities that Frontier connects to out of Denver dropped by about $200 too. The day before the Frontier announcement I was checking round-trip prices to Salt Lake City in May. The lowest prices were at least $500 when taxes were included. By the day after the announcement most airlines had dropped to as low as $258 (about $300 with taxes.) I booked my tickets this past Monday. I would like to have rewarded Frontier with my business but I will be on a tight schedule so I went with Delta since their flights worked a lot better for me.

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Kind of surprised no one has been rooting around on here since March. GRR has had some very impressive passenger gains in 2010 so far, and a 26% increase in May.

I remember AirTran stating that for them to stay here in GR long-term, they needed the 30% of passengers who currently drive from the GR metro to other airports to return. It appears that may very well be happening, which is amazing news. I would eventually like AirTran to add a couple daily Atlanta flights challenging Delta right up front with a fare war. I think you'd see fares plummet if that were to happen, across the board. I look at the Florida markets Allegiant serves from GRR, and then look at the Delta prices, and they are amazingly low.

The increased competition is working, I flew out of GR last summer to LAX for about $450 RT, this summer that got done at just $300 RT, same airline, same time of year.

I'm curious to see what the Frontier loads are on the Denver flight if anyone has that info.

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Kind of surprised no one has been rooting around on here since March. GRR has had some very impressive passenger gains in 2010 so far, and a 26% increase in May.

I remember AirTran stating that for them to stay here in GR long-term, they needed the 30% of passengers who currently drive from the GR metro to other airports to return. It appears that may very well be happening, which is amazing news. I would eventually like AirTran to add a couple daily Atlanta flights challenging Delta right up front with a fare war. I think you'd see fares plummet if that were to happen, across the board. I look at the Florida markets Allegiant serves from GRR, and then look at the Delta prices, and they are amazingly low.

The increased competition is working, I flew out of GR last summer to LAX for about $450 RT, this summer that got done at just $300 RT, same airline, same time of year.

I'm curious to see what the Frontier loads are on the Denver flight if anyone has that info.

Could be. I just checked prices from LAX to GRR in September, and they were about $60 cheaper than LAX to DTW. That is a real turnaround. On the other hand, getting a seat on that connection out of Minneapolis can be a real problem.

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So this does not directly refer to our airport in GR, but this is something that would be great to see as the next phase:Airports pitch sites as all-purpose transport hubshttp://www.usatoday....hubs20_CV_N.htm

I wish GR was set up in such a way to support what I find everytime I visit Washington DC. You can take the Metro from DC Reagan to just about anywhere you need to go (hotel, conference center, etc). I know we've beaten the topic to death here - but I'd like to see a loop from GRR to DT in some configuration.

Looking a bit to the future, I think we could see GR becoming the Mayo or Cleveland Clinic of Michigan and may be a destination - just like the other two are. Having an easy way to get from GRR to DT would be great - but I'm not holding my breath.

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I wish GR was set up in such a way to support what I find everytime I visit Washington DC. You can take the Metro from DC Reagan to just about anywhere you need to go (hotel, conference center, etc). I know we've beaten the topic to death here - but I'd like to see a loop from GRR to DT in some configuration.

Looking a bit to the future, I think we could see GR becoming the Mayo or Cleveland Clinic of Michigan and may be a destination - just like the other two are. Having an easy way to get from GRR to DT would be great - but I'm not holding my breath.

An express bus route with in-terminal boarding (or at least fully covered and climate controlled) would be easy to put in place and serve this need.

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An express bus route with in-terminal boarding (or at least fully covered and climate controlled) would be easy to put in place and serve this need.

I believe they had a service called "The Air Porter" that did just that. It was canceled due to lack of demand.

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I believe they had a service called "The Air Porter" that did just that. It was canceled due to lack of demand.

I recall that as well now that you mention it.

My response was primarily addressed at the guy who wanted a downtown/GRR loop. I wasn't clear if he was after rail or bus, but bus sure seems easier in this situation.

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Looks like all the people who hoped that Southwest would someday come to Grand Rapids may get their wish:

Southwest Airlines to buy AirTran

Time will tell though if Southwest is really much interested in serving smaller markets like Grand Rapids or is really just after the hard to obtain gates and slots that Airtran holds at large airports such as Atlanta, New York, and Boston.

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What a great development. We'll likely get routes using Chicago Midway now. Currently all the airlines flying to Chicago are using O'Hare. From Midway, Southwest goes to a number of destinations including Los Angeles, which I care about the most.

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As someone who has flown Southwest extensively within California, they provide a very good service. Not necessarily the cheapest, but free bags and frequent service make SWA the airline of choice for Southern California-Bay Area flights.

It would be nice to have a GRR-MDW connection, as the trip into the Loop from Midway is shorter than on the Blue Line from O'Hare. Oh, but that approach -- not for nervous fliers.

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Find me a nonstop flight to Phoenix for under $120 and I will.

Let me know when they stop tacking on fees that basically double the original price (including charging you for your "seat"), and actually have a toll free customer service line that doesn't hang up on you every time, and I might use them again. :thumbsup:

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Let me know when they stop tacking on fees that basically double the original price (including charging you for your "seat"), and actually have a toll free customer service line that doesn't hang up on you every time, and I might use them again. :thumbsup:

I've had no issues w/ Allegiant. You can 'uncheck' the extra fee checkbox for a seat assignment in their online booking. Plus they're now flying to SW Florida. Another route that I'll use. Anytime I can get a non stop out of GRR it's a win in my opinion.

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I've had no issues w/ Allegiant. You can 'uncheck' the extra fee checkbox for a seat assignment in their online booking. Plus they're now flying to SW Florida. Another route that I'll use. Anytime I can get a non stop out of GRR it's a win in my opinion.

Sure, you can "uncheck" the box, but then it doesn't explain what the process is if you do. I also never found a place that explained the "flight flex" fee, the "convenience" fee, the PFC fee, the 911 fee, $49.98/bag, and the "segment" fee, which in all added 50% to the flight cost.

So their advertised low rates of $89 each way don't really exist. It's more like $275 each way. It's "used car sales" slimy business practices. Also, why don't they appear on comparison sites like Kayak.com?

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I've had no issues w/ Allegiant. You can 'uncheck' the extra fee checkbox for a seat assignment in their online booking. Plus they're now flying to SW Florida. Another route that I'll use. Anytime I can get a non stop out of GRR it's a win in my opinion.

Agreed, as long as the a la carte items can be avoided I don't care what their explanation is for having them in the first place

We know why they're there.

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Agreed, as long as the a la carte items can be avoided I don't care what their explanation is for having them in the first place

We know why they're there.

Sorry if my expectations from a service provider are higher than yours. Allegiant sucks, plain and simple.

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Which is....

I believe it's because they only sell direct and therefore don't feel a need to put all their data into the same systems as the major carriers. I guess if you can cut out the middle men you can eek out a little more margin. It's also probably differentiates their brand a little bit not being seen as a cheap commodity.

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