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Grand Rapids Airport (GRR) News and Developments


joeDowntown

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I looked into flying to Denver recently and it was GRR > ORD > Cleveland!!! > Denver. I refuse to go backwards when I'm traveling. And it was still about $580 not including bags.

 

Spirit Airlines out of Detroit to Denver was $329/round.

 

Both United and Southwest have non-stop Denver flights although prices are much higher now that SW replaced Frontier

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Did you look at Southwest? I just put together a roundtrip, nonstop both ways, for $373. Since this was just an exercise, I was just looking for cheap fares - the dates didn't matter - but I didn't have to pick any strange times or anything.

 

I did Expedia or Kayak or something, leaving on a day late in June and returning about 6 days later. Nothing non-stop came up. In fact, everything out of GRR was really expensive, with multiple connections, and the arrival departure times were awful.

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I have this theory that the high prices at GRR might be tied to the unusually high ratio of business travel that happens out of it.   I started flying a few times a week out of GRR about 2 years ago, I never realized how many business commuters go in and out of it compared to it's peer facilities.  There can't be much incentive to lower fares when you're bulk market share will pay whatever mediocre non-competitive prices you charge.  

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I did Expedia or Kayak or something, leaving on a day late in June and returning about 6 days later. Nothing non-stop came up. In fact, everything out of GRR was really expensive, with multiple connections, and the arrival departure times were awful.

 

I like the way Hipmunk.com presents all the flight info for a bunch of options.

http://www.hipmunk.com/flights/GRR-to-DEN#!dates=Jun26p2,Jul02p2&pax=1

 

It's weird that the site you looked at didn't pull up the direct flights, because while the price isn't great, Hipmunk.com is showing a lot of non-stops around that time.  Maybe the cheapest prices were with the two layovers?

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I did Expedia or Kayak or something, leaving on a day late in June and returning about 6 days later. Nothing non-stop came up. In fact, everything out of GRR was really expensive, with multiple connections, and the arrival departure times were awful.

 

Do Expedia and similar sites list Southwest flights? In the past, at least, they weren't listed there - IIRC, Southwest refused to pay the commissions those sites require.

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I like the way Hipmunk.com presents all the flight info for a bunch of options.

http://www.hipmunk.com/flights/GRR-to-DEN#!dates=Jun26p2,Jul02p2&pax=1

 

It's weird that the site you looked at didn't pull up the direct flights, because while the price isn't great, Hipmunk.com is showing a lot of non-stops around that time.  Maybe the cheapest prices were with the two layovers?

 

Ran the search (5 people). June 29th - July 5th. And yes, two nonstop options came up the cheapest at $473/person x 5 people is almost $2500. Went ahead and booked with Spirit out of Detroit for $1600 + $150 for each carry on bag (1). It leaves late in the day so we won't have to stay the night in Detroit. Parking at my sisters in Ypsi so no need to pay for parking. :) 

 

Ran the search on Southwest and it was nearly $2400. Weird.

 

Sorry GRR (again)

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It's not GRR is always expensive, but there's going to be an overall disadvantage compared to a hub airport like Chicago or Detroit.  And even at the hub airports, the low prices at the more popular times of the day tend to fill up rather quickly.  If your dates were June 30 - July 5th, you could have gotten $354 a person non-stop GRR -> DEN.  At one time, maybe you could have gotten $354 on United departing June 29th, but once a certain number of tickets are booked, then the price goes up.

 

Yesterday, I booked 5 tickets GRR -> SNA for the week before labor day, but within the parameters (dates, time of day, duration of the entire flight, etc) that I wanted, it said there were only 9 tickets available at the $400 price.  A few more days of waiting, and that price would likely have gone up for me.  My alternative was to do a hotel Park & Fly package out of Chicago..  I would have saved around $50 a person on the ticket cost, but then I have to figure the cost of a night's stay the hotel + gas, 5 hours of driving, and having to drive back late in the evening back from Chicago to GR.

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It's not GRR is always expensive, but there's going to be an overall disadvantage compared to a hub airport like Chicago or Detroit.  And even at the hub airports, the low prices at the more popular times of the day tend to fill up rather quickly.  If your dates were June 30 - July 5th, you could have gotten $354 a person non-stop GRR -> DEN.  At one time, maybe you could have gotten $354 on United departing June 29th, but once a certain number of tickets are booked, then the price goes up.

 

Yesterday, I booked 5 tickets GRR -> SNA for the week before labor day, but within the parameters (dates, time of day, duration of the entire flight, etc) that I wanted, it said there were only 9 tickets available at the $400 price.  A few more days of waiting, and that price would likely have gone up for me.  My alternative was to do a hotel Park & Fly package out of Chicago..  I would have saved around $50 a person on the ticket cost, but then I have to figure the cost of a night's stay the hotel + gas, 5 hours of driving, and having to drive back late in the evening back from Chicago to GR.

 

$50 per person savings wouldn't be enough for me to switch to Detroit or Chicago. But almost $200 per person does. And I'd rather drive the 2 hours to Detroit instead of losing an entire day of our vacation and flying out a day later.

 

It goes to show what a lot of people still say about GRR: despite all the talk and air alliances and new airlines, it's still too expensive.

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It's not just a hub thing,  GRR has been historically one of the most expensive airports in the country.   Compare flights out of FNT or SBN they are almost always cheaper than GRR and nowhere near the volume.

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It's not GRR is always expensive, but there's going to be an overall disadvantage compared to a hub airport like Chicago or Detroit.  And even at the hub airports, the low prices at the more popular times of the day tend to fill up rather quickly.  If your dates were June 30 - July 5th, you could have gotten $354 a person non-stop GRR -> DEN.  At one time, maybe you could have gotten $354 on United departing June 29th, but once a certain number of tickets are booked, then the price goes up.

 

Yesterday, I booked 5 tickets GRR -> SNA for the week before labor day, but within the parameters (dates, time of day, duration of the entire flight, etc) that I wanted, it said there were only 9 tickets available at the $400 price.  A few more days of waiting, and that price would likely have gone up for me.  My alternative was to do a hotel Park & Fly package out of Chicago..  I would have saved around $50 a person on the ticket cost, but then I have to figure the cost of a night's stay the hotel + gas, 5 hours of driving, and having to drive back late in the evening back from Chicago to GR.

 

Lo and behold, I checked rates again last night and I found United direct GRR to Denver and back for $354/person, which was only about $35/person more than Detroit/Frontier Airlines. So I booked it. And the departure time out of GRR was better (8:30 AM gettting into Denver at 10:20something) so we'll have the whole first day there instead of arriving in the evening. GRR wins one for now. :)

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It's not just a hub thing,  GRR has been historically one of the most expensive airports in the country.   Compare flights out of FNT or SBN they are almost always cheaper than GRR and nowhere near the volume.

 

Historically that may have been true, but I think things have improved greatly in recent years.  I always do a comparison with South Bend, Kalamazoo and Lansing whenever I book travel and have not found cheaper options.  Maybe 5+ years ago I could find a cheaper fare from one of those, but it was very rarely worth the inconvenience.  For the tickets I booked to Orange County airport, the GRR fares were certainly competitive (and I believe they were the best).

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  • 1 month later...

I saw that this weekend too. I don't think it will have any connection to the highway. Wonder if it is an enhancement to the freight operations (FedEx, UPS, USPS). 

 

Joe

 

I can't seem to find any info on the construction that is occurring near the southeast end of airport. Almost looks like another off ramp, then maybe an access road? Any info?

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  • 4 months later...
  • 4 months later...

Interesting, airport is adding a top to the parking deck as if they forgot it snows here in the winter, http://www.mlive.com/business/west-michigan/index.ssf/2015/03/roof_over_ford_airports_parkin.html

 

Also Delta is going to start using 757's flying to Detroit once per day in June. They are not much bigger than the 737's but appear to be because they sit up high and are long 

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Interesting, airport is adding a top to the parking deck as if they forgot it snows here in the winter, http://www.mlive.com/business/west-michigan/index.ssf/2015/03/roof_over_ford_airports_parkin.html

 

Also Delta is going to start using 757's flying to Detroit once per day in June. They are not much bigger than the 737's but appear to be because they sit up high and are long 

We flew out on a Monday night last week and the premium garage sign said 14 spaces left, the walkable surface parking lot behind the garage was full and the pretty large shuttle economy lot appeared to be 90+% full.

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Seems logical that they would have built the roof in the first place, but remember, when they were building the whole parking structure, there was all kinds of speculation on whether the airport could afford it, if it would put them in a really bad position financially, etc. etc. 

 

Maybe the reason they didn't at the $15M roof (man, that is an expensive roof!).

 

Joe

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The entire airport smells like burnt toast. Ive seen other people post about it on FB and i was there friday and smelled the same thing. What is that about?! One of the restaurants have a dirty toaster?

 

Pretty sure it's burnt bagel crumbs from the place in Concourse B.  It's significantly worse over that way.  To some extent it's probably impossible to avoid some burnt stuff, but it does seem like they could clean it out more and reduce it a bit.

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Pretty sure it's burnt bagel crumbs from the place in Concourse B.  It's significantly worse over that way.  To some extent it's probably impossible to avoid some burnt stuff, but it does seem like they could clean it out more and reduce it a bit.

 

Sounds like HMS isn't taking care of their equipment.  I wonder if they are planning some rebranding as part of the remodel.  Usually when restaurants start slacking on PM and cleaning it's a sign.

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I've been on Concourse B a several times during the last few weeks.  It is definitely burning bagel/bread crumbs in a toaster at that bar/deli place.  

 

 

It leaves quite the first impression. "Welcome to West Michigan! Here's some beer, here's a Grand Rapids Magazine store, he's some burned toast!"

 

I can't believe no one from the airport authority has cited them for it. A tenant couldn't get away with it at Woodland Mall, why at the airport?

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