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Grand Rapids Airport (GRR) News and Developments


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13 hours ago, GRDadof3 said:

I think as long as you're willing to go through security, you can go into the new atrium area where the brewpub is. I think Bell's bailed? It's a Founders mini pub now. 

I've been through a lot of airports recently and I was blown away by CLT (Charlotte NC's) airport. Their metro is only twice GR's but their airport is at least 10x bigger. They are an American Airlines hub so that plays a big part in that. 

https://www.rita.dot.gov/bts/sites/rita.dot.gov.bts/files/publications/national_transportation_statistics/html/table_01_44.html

Also it is the largest airport and city in a state of ~10 million people. Raleigh's airport is closer in size to GRR. We are also sandwiched inbetween DTW and O'Hare.

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14 hours ago, GRDadof3 said:

I think as long as you're willing to go through security, you can go into the new atrium area where the brewpub is. I think Bell's bailed? It's a Founders mini pub now. 

I've been through a lot of airports recently and I was blown away by CLT (Charlotte NC's) airport. Their metro is only twice GR's but their airport is at least 10x bigger. They are an American Airlines hub so that plays a big part in that. 

https://www.rita.dot.gov/bts/sites/rita.dot.gov.bts/files/publications/national_transportation_statistics/html/table_01_44.html

Charlotte's airport is impressive. It's half mall, half airport from what I remember 7 years ago.

For the size of the city, GRR could stand to be larger. I like the superficial upgrades a lot. I just hope in the future they expand the airport so it's at least similar in size to the gigantic parking structure attached to it. From what I remember, Southwest Florida International Airport was larger than GRR and that's for a metro area of 600,000. 

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10 minutes ago, GRLaker said:

Charlotte's airport is impressive. It's half mall, half airport from what I remember 7 years ago.

For the size of the city, GRR could stand to be larger. I like the superficial upgrades a lot. I just hope in the future they expand the airport so it's at least similar in size to the gigantic parking structure attached to it. From what I remember, Southwest Florida International Airport was larger than GRR and that's for a metro area of 600,000. 

Yeah, the center part definitely has a mall with stores like Brooks Brothers, etc.. Reminded me of Baltimore's airport? They were expanding too, and adding a massive control tower that looks like the one at O'Hare. 

But we were there on layover, probably like a lot of people there.  

Frankly I hate airports so anything they can do to make them nicer and more user-friendly is a win in my book. 

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19 hours ago, mgreven said:

So you have to be flying to go to the new place?  Can't hang out there waiting for someone to fly in or leave?  Is Bell's still there too?

I don't get to the airport that much but I'm curious.

 

16 hours ago, GRDadof3 said:

I think as long as you're willing to go through security, you can go into the new atrium area where the brewpub is. I think Bell's bailed? It's a Founders mini pub now. 

 

This ...  

12 hours ago, arcturus said:

Good question, every place I've been to you have to furnish a ticket or boarding pass to get thru security.

You can't get to the Founders pub without a boarding pass.  

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1 hour ago, wingbert said:

 

 

This ...  

You can't get to the Founders pub without a boarding pass.  

I've flown out of Grand Rapids a couple of times since the renovation, and was able to enjoy a beer or two at the Founders bar... it was really nice to have that option!  There's another bar within concourse B that has been surprisingly (to me anyway) full each time I've been down there.  It actually reminds me of something I'd see at a larger airport, although to a lesser scale.  According to the airport map on their website, it appears that there is also a bar on concourse A, but I haven't been through that concourse to check it out.  Regardless, it seems like there isn't an option to sit down and have a drink any more as an un-ticketed passenger.

http://www.grr.org/terminal-map.php

 

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4 hours ago, GRLaker said:

Charlotte's airport is impressive. It's half mall, half airport from what I remember 7 years ago.

For the size of the city, GRR could stand to be larger. I like the superficial upgrades a lot. I just hope in the future they expand the airport so it's at least similar in size to the gigantic parking structure attached to it. From what I remember, Southwest Florida International Airport was larger than GRR and that's for a metro area of 600,000. 

Interesting discussion.  There are so many factors that go into those things outside of just the population of the area an airport serves.   For instance Southwest Florida Int'l is a gateway to a pretty sizeable vacation destination.   While the Fort Meyers area may be similarly populated, the ratio of people flying into that airport from other areas is going to be disproportionately greater than those flying into GRR.   It handled 8.8 million enplanements in 2017, that's busier than quite a few airports in markets twice the size of GR.    I don't think RSW is a good airport to use as a measuring stick against GRR given the tourist heavy nature of the area it serves.    I think a much better comparison would be Birmingham AL, (BHM)  It serves an area a bit larger than GR, in the states flagship city and over the last couple of years GRR has overtaken it in enplanement numbers.  

The biggest impediment for GRR to be a busier airport is the attrition of leisure flyers to cheaper airports (namely DTW, ORD, MDW, FNT).   It also doesn't help that within 60 miles you can get to 3 other regional airports (MKG, AZO, LAN) with FNT and SBN at about 90 miles away.   GRR is a business heavy airport.  Automotive is an international industry and even midsized and small tier 2, or 3 suppliers have international presences which requires quite a bit of travel.  Combine that with corporate presences of Amway, Meijer, and Spartan to name a few, and you have a captive audience of travelers that don't really care about cost.   It's created an environment where the airlines had little incentive to lower prices because enough seats are still getting filled at the more expensive rates.  (Seriously get on any connecting flight to Detroit, Atlanta, or Chicago in the morning or afternoon, there are never empty seats out of GRR).   It's also taught the average Joe W. Michigan traveler that driving to Chicago or Detroit to fly is just a way of life.   I think the regional airport authority has done a great job of attracting competitive airlines, and slowing the bleeding to other airports. 

I get the point about the airport facilities looking small.   Clearly the current terminal still has the capacity to accommodate long term growth or we'd be seeing major overhauls to the terminal facilities to look more major market.   I do feel that the grand hall upgrades, and security consolidation are a HUGE step in the right direction.  They make the airport feel far less hokey.   It'll be interesting to see if the phase 2 upgrades do the same thing for the baggage claim and ticketing areas :)

 

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I kind of like the size of GRR.  It has always gone smoothly for me.  One time, after mixing up my departure time, I arrived at security about 15 mins before take off and made it through on time no problem.  Do people really want a busier airport?  DEN, ORD, and ATL can be nightmares, especially at customs.  I'd rather pay extra for the convenience of flying out of GR.  Driving 2.5 hours (if there's no traffic), paying for parking, going through security at a larger airport just isn't worth it for me.  I usually use United points and there's usually no difference between flying out of GR or Chicago.

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1 hour ago, MJLO said:

Interesting discussion.  There are so many factors that go into those things outside of just the population of the area an airport serves.   For instance Southwest Florida Int'l is a gateway to a pretty sizeable vacation destination.   While the Fort Meyers area may be similarly populated, the ratio of people flying into that airport from other areas is going to be disproportionately greater than those flying into GRR.   It handled 8.8 million enplanements in 2017, that's busier than quite a few airports in markets twice the size of GR.    I don't think RSW is a good airport to use as a measuring stick against GRR given the tourist heavy nature of the area it serves.    I think a much better comparison would be Birmingham AL, (BHM)  It serves an area a bit larger than GR, in the states flagship city and over the last couple of years GRR has overtaken it in enplanement numbers.  

The biggest impediment for GRR to be a busier airport is the attrition of leisure flyers to cheaper airports (namely DTW, ORD, MDW, FNT).   It also doesn't help that within 60 miles you can get to 3 other regional airports (MKG, AZO, LAN) with FNT and SBN at about 90 miles away.   GRR is a business heavy airport.  Automotive is an international industry and even midsized and small tier 2, or 3 suppliers have international presences which requires quite a bit of travel.  Combine that with corporate presences of Amway, Meijer, and Spartan to name a few, and you have a captive audience of travelers that don't really care about cost.   It's created an environment where the airlines had little incentive to lower prices because enough seats are still getting filled at the more expensive rates.  (Seriously get on any connecting flight to Detroit, Atlanta, or Chicago in the morning or afternoon, there are never empty seats out of GRR).   It's also taught the average Joe W. Michigan traveler that driving to Chicago or Detroit to fly is just a way of life.   I think the regional airport authority has done a great job of attracting competitive airlines, and slowing the bleeding to other airports. 

I get the point about the airport facilities looking small.   Clearly the current terminal still has the capacity to accommodate long term growth or we'd be seeing major overhauls to the terminal facilities to look more major market.   I do feel that the grand hall upgrades, and security consolidation are a HUGE step in the right direction.  They make the airport feel far less hokey.   It'll be interesting to see if the phase 2 upgrades do the same thing for the baggage claim and ticketing areas :)

 

Having Southwest, Allegiant, and now Frontier has definitely helped make flying more reasonable. GRR was pretty comparable in price to Detroit the last time I purchased tickets a couple months ago. The difference definitely didn't justify the time and money spent on gas to drive there like it used to. However, many in this area are happy to waste three hours of their life to save $50 on a plane ticket. Why, I will never know.

I just looked up Birmingham's airport and it is definitely a nice facility. I like their utilization of the middle area between the two terminals. 

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6 hours ago, GRLaker said:

Having Southwest, Allegiant, and now Frontier has definitely helped make flying more reasonable. GRR was pretty comparable in price to Detroit the last time I purchased tickets a couple months ago. The difference definitely didn't justify the time and money spent on gas to drive there like it used to. However, many in this area are happy to waste three hours of their life to save $50 on a plane ticket. Why, I will never know.

I just looked up Birmingham's airport and it is definitely a nice facility. I like their utilization of the middle area between the two terminals. 

Yeah Birmingham's airport does feel more "big city" than GRR.  I had to fly into BHM every week for work in 2013/14 as they were wrapping up a major transformation project.  Even with that project that airport has been losing passengers every year for the past few years, while GRR has been gaining.  I'd be interested to know how GRR stacks up to other similar sized metro areas.  Perhaps I'll do the numbers nerd thing and find out. 

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7 hours ago, GRLaker said:

Having Southwest, Allegiant, and now Frontier has definitely helped make flying more reasonable. GRR was pretty comparable in price to Detroit the last time I purchased tickets a couple months ago. The difference definitely didn't justify the time and money spent on gas to drive there like it used to. However, many in this area are happy to waste three hours of their life to save $50 on a plane ticket. Why, I will never know.

I just looked up Birmingham's airport and it is definitely a nice facility. I like their utilization of the middle area between the two terminals. 

We just traveled to Florida over Christmas and saved $300/ticket by flying out of Detroit vs GRR, for 5 of us.  And we booked WAY in advance, back in August 2017. That was well worth it to make the drive (in a snowstorm), and pay $89 for the hotel the night before our flight, which also included free long-term parking for the 8 days we were gone (Park-N-Fly) and free shuttle from the long-term lot to the airport. If you travel by yourself or as a couple and the savings is only $200 - or $300, I can see not bothering to make the long drives to ORD or DTW.  If you're driving that far to save $50, you're just crazy. :)

In fact, I need to book a flight for the 5 of us to go to Denver in early June, so I'll do some research and report back the differences in pricing between the 3 (ORD, DTW, GRR). 

 

There ya go:

 

GRR to DEN.JPG

 

 

DTW to DEN.JPG

 

 

ORD to DEN.JPG

 

Most of the ORD and DTW are non-stop, no layovers... 

Parking is about $9/day at ORD and DTW, which we'd pay at GRR anyway...

$150 x 5 = $750 in savings...

3 hour drive there 3 hour drive back (which the drive back sucks)

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Hello, Long time lurker since way back to the mystery projects days.....

 I was was wondering have any renderings been released for Phase 2? It will finally be great to have the large x-ray machines removed and a new baggage claim area. I am wondering how much that this 2nd renovation will add to the size/scale of the airport.

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20 hours ago, GRDadof3 said:

We just traveled to Florida over Christmas and saved $300/ticket by flying out of Detroit vs GRR, for 5 of us.  And we booked WAY in advance, back in August 2017. That was well worth it to make the drive (in a snowstorm), and pay $89 for the hotel the night before our flight, which also included free long-term parking for the 8 days we were gone (Park-N-Fly) and free shuttle from the long-term lot to the airport. If you travel by yourself or as a couple and the savings is only $200 - or $300, I can see not bothering to make the long drives to ORD or DTW.  If you're driving that far to save $50, you're just crazy. :)

In fact, I need to book a flight for the 5 of us to go to Denver in early June, so I'll do some research and report back the differences in pricing between the 3 (ORD, DTW, GRR). 

 

There ya go:

 

GRR to DEN.JPG

 

 

DTW to DEN.JPG

 

 

ORD to DEN.JPG

 

Most of the ORD and DTW are non-stop, no layovers... 

Parking is about $9/day at ORD and DTW, which we'd pay at GRR anyway...

$150 x 5 = $750 in savings...

3 hour drive there 3 hour drive back (which the drive back sucks)

 

The thing about Expedia is they don't include all airlines and award travel.  You can get a direct flight from GRR to DEN for $125 each way on Southwest.  It's all about being savvy.  I got a flight from GRR->CHICAGO->TOKYO->SINGAPORE  for $18 and using points from opening a credit card. 

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14 hours ago, Floyd_Z said:

 

The thing about Expedia is they don't include all airlines and award travel.  You can get a direct flight from GRR to DEN for $125 each way on Southwest.  It's all about being savvy.  I got a flight from GRR->CHICAGO->TOKYO->SINGAPORE  for $18 and using points from opening a credit card. 

I did check Southwest. $2270 for the five of us to fly from GRR to Denver (with layovers). That's the most expensive option. :huh:

Trust me I'd love to fly out of GRR and come back to GRR, 20 minutes from home. But $700 or $1000 in savings is not chump change to me.

 

southwest.JPG

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I've routinely snagged flights out of GRR that are cheaper than or equivalent to DTW and ORD. Timing helps typically, but on one occasion my flight out of GRR was $200 cheaper (on United through Chicago with final destination at SFO). Even my international flight to Frankfurt through Washington-Dulles was within $50 of a similar flight out of DTW. 

I've paid an arm and a leg for last-minute flights out of GRR as well, but that is typical of any airport. 

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8 hours ago, demhem said:

I've routinely snagged flights out of GRR that are cheaper than or equivalent to DTW and ORD. Timing helps typically, but on one occasion my flight out of GRR was $200 cheaper (on United through Chicago with final destination at SFO). Even my international flight to Frankfurt through Washington-Dulles was within $50 of a similar flight out of DTW. 

I've paid an arm and a leg for last-minute flights out of GRR as well, but that is typical of any airport. 

When you say "I" do you mean just you or a family of 5 with specific travel dates? (Like most families have) 

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