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joeDowntown

Grand Rapids Airport (GRR) News and Developments

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Hmm, seems Joe and I were on the same flight. I agree, it was nice to have a direct flight from/to GRR, and to see it nearly full (and on time).

Now if only we could figure out a way to bring that Orlando weather back to Michigan.....

Since I'll be heading up to GR tomorrow, I'll try bringing some of our Orlando weather up. I hear it's cold up there. Don't know how much I can pack in my standard 12oz ziplock bag (I think it's 12oz), but i'll do my best. ;)

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One author/columnist/pilot's opinion on the mergers:

"For consumers, on the other hand, one potential windfall might be a reduction in flight delays. Ideally, carrier consolidation means fewer flights using larger aircraft. This will vary market to market, but on the whole things should get better. On the downside, you can probably expect higher fares in some markets, especially those dominated by a single airline and lacking a strong discount carrier presence. You'll be hearing plenty on this topic from anti-merger activists, but bear in mind that in spite of moonshot spikes in oil prices over the past few years, airfares remain at or near historical lows." (my emphasis)

Patrick Smith, Ask the Pilot

Edited by fotoman311

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One author/columnist/pilot's opinion on the mergers:

"... but bear in mind that in spite of moonshot spikes in oil prices over the past few years, airfares remain at or near historical lows."

So yesterday when I should have been working I was thinking how nice it would be to take a quick vacation to someplace a little warmer for a couple days. So I surfed "Cheap Plane Tickets - Yahoo Travel" using the flexible dates option. I found plenty of do-able options for as low as $255 round trip from GRR to LAX. These pointed to actual airline sites - not fly-by-night resellers. The $255 was before taxes and the site booking fee so based on experience it would have booked out I'm guessing to just under $300. Despite the full planes out of GRR, I've had pretty good luck finding cheap fares for personal travel. You've just got to be flexible. The easiest time I've found for flying out of GRR is Saturday afternoon. And for business trips where I don't have the flexibility, while I try to get a good deal, who cares, I'm not paying for it.

The biggest travel expenses I've had lately, personal or business, haven't been airfares, it's the hotel rates that are out of control.

Still, I don't see anything good for GRR coming out of NW and DL merger. I think we're better when there are a lot of different airline names out on the tarmac.

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Despite the full planes out of GRR, I've had pretty good luck finding cheap fares for personal travel. You've just got to be flexible. The easiest time I've found for flying out of GRR is Saturday afternoon. And for business trips where I don't have the flexibility, while I try to get a good deal, who cares, I'm not paying for it.

I concur.

We're flying to Ft. Myers in March. DTW was only $40/ticket cheaper than GRR.

For $40 I'll drive 8 minutes in a friend's car, wait in line 15 minutes to check my bags, get through security within 10 minutes and stay sane.

Flying out of DTW and ORD (or even MDW) just isn't worth that cost difference.

Sure if the difference was more, I'd think about it.... but for that cost-difference, GRR is a total bargain.

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I concur.

We're flying to Ft. Myers in March. DTW was only $40/ticket cheaper than GRR.

For $40 I'll drive 8 minutes in a friend's car, wait in line 15 minutes to check my bags, get through security within 10 minutes and stay sane.

Flying out of DTW and ORD (or even MDW) just isn't worth that cost difference.

Sure if the difference was more, I'd think about it.... but for that cost-difference, GRR is a total bargain.

GRR is an embarrasment compared to other airports, it definately looks like with the last B terminal upgrade, they went for the cheapest possible solutions.

We need to accept the fact GRR will never handle more than 30 operations/hr.

I love the airport more than anyone, but its just not built for being bigger.

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I disagree. While GRR is small, I wouldn't call it an embarassment. I fly a lot, all over the world, and I think we've got a nice little airport. Will it get larger? Who knows. But it isn't dumpy.

Joe

GRR is an embarrasment compared to other airports, it definately looks like with the last B terminal upgrade, they went for the cheapest possible solutions.

We need to accept the fact GRR will never handle more than 30 operations/hr.

I love the airport more than anyone, but its just not built for being bigger.

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I disagree. While GRR is small, I wouldn't call it an embarassment. I fly a lot, all over the world, and I think we've got a nice little airport. Will it get larger? Who knows. But it isn't dumpy.

Joe

Come on joe, every other airport has nice terrazo floors, high ceilings, and a decent food court.

We've got rubberized tile and carpet, low ceilings, and a joke of a food court.

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Come on joe, every other airport has nice terrazo floors, high ceilings, and a decent food court.

We've got rubberized tile and carpet, low ceilings, and a joke of a food court.

It may be just my stilted aesthetic sense but I think the terminal is a mess and not just because of the parking ramp construction. When they put it in I wondered how the linoleum like flooring material would hold up after a few years and unfortunately it has lived up to my expectations. Take a look at the seams and all the marks and scares in it. The placement of TSA baggage scanner equipment in the ticket area leaves a lot to be desired. I can

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The terminal accomplishes its main function OK which is to get me from the curb to my seat on the airplane in a reasonable amount of time. But if you want it to impress visitors I don't think it's very impressive.

Agreed 100%. It would suck to have a layover here but seeing as how it's just a departure/arrival location for me, I think it serves its purpose just fine. Beats the heck out of the 2-hour waits at LAS or the ugly 80s dark brown wood-everywhere at MEM. MEM is probably the most depressing airport I've ever been in.

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Although smaller than most, Grand Rapids is definitely one of the nicer airports out there. I fly several times a month and spend too much time in airports all over the country. If you think GRR is bad, try flying into Washington-National, NY-LaGuardia, Boston-Logan, along with a whole host of other airports that are downright awful. Sure there isn't a lot to do at GRR, but due to the size there really isn't a need for much more than what we already have.

And the Eames plywood seating and Eames Airport seating that we have throughout the airport is hardly a cheap solution - you'd be hard pressed to find a more expensive line of seating to put into an airport. Unfortunately the designers made a bad choice by selecting that puky yellow color for the leather. The light color shows a lot of dirt and grime, which makes it look much older than it really is.

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GRR is not a hub airport for any airline, so nobody is normally going to have a layover here.

It is a first and last impression for a lot of visitors though, so it's important that the facilities be nice, and somewhat stately.

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You want to see a dumpy airport look at Lansing's. It isn't even good enough to deserve any significant remodel, it needs replacement. I beleive it was built in the 50's so that explains the problem, but with any luck we will get a new terminal by 2013 as the airport master plan says.

Anyone have pics of GR's airport, or the construction of the new ramp?

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[ Unfortunately the designers made a bad choice by selecting that puky yellow color for the leather. The light color shows a lot of dirt and grime, which makes it look much older than it really is.

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Flint Bishop airport is pretty nice, but I think it might be busier/bigger than GRR? They built a new terminal 7 or 8 years go with soaring glass ceilings, similar to O'Hare's United terminal.

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FNT will continue to grow based off customers from northern detroit suburbs. There are aready about just as many destinations than GR which has cut several destinations in the past few years, a big difference is FNT has AirTran a low cost carrier but not United

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Flint Bishop airport is pretty nice, but I think it might be busier/bigger than GRR? They built a new terminal 7 or 8 years go with soaring glass ceilings, similar to O'Hare's United terminal.

I just did a Wiki search on Michigan airports. Nothing comes close in passenger numbers (disregard DTW) to GRR. Bishop in Flint only does about 25% of GRR's traffic.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_airports_in_Michigan

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FNT will continue to grow based off customers from northern detroit suburbs. There are aready about just as many destinations than GR which has cut several destinations in the past few years, a big difference is FNT has AirTran a low cost carrier but not United

flint has lots of desinations but that is only because it has lots of flights to to detroit, atlanta, or chicago depending on what major airline you are flying. I fly quite a bit to various destinations and have yet to reach anywhere directly though flint except for the above cities. Of course I haven't gone anywhere on vacation like florida or las vegas where air tran offers direct flights.

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flint has lots of desinations but that is only because it has lots of flights to to detroit, atlanta, or chicago depending on what major airline you are flying. I fly quite a bit to various destinations and have yet to reach anywhere directly though flint except for the above cities. Of course I haven't gone anywhere on vacation like florida or las vegas where air tran offers direct flights.

Taking a quick look at the on-line flights at Bishop, I was impressed by the number of "real" airplanes -- 717s, 737s, DC-9s -- instead of RJs. That's one of my biggest problems with GRR -- too many little RJs that really limit your options. Unlike some, I can't fly at odd hours but have to schedule my flights so as to maximize mom time and minimize time away from the office.

Now, I wouldn't consider flying to Bishop (too much of a drive over really boring, flat mid-Michigan terrain) from LA, but I can see how people in northern metro Detroit would see it as a viable alternative to DTW.

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I guess GRR's valet service has been in some trouble lately, as valet parkers have been caught taking customers' cars for joy rides:

Mlive

"The owner of the Mercedes S-420 suspected the valet service at the Gerald R. Ford International Airport was doing more than just parking his car, so he set his trip odometer to zero when he dropped it off Monday.

When he picked up the car late Thursday after a trip to Seattle, the odometer showed 80 miles and the radio was set to a rap station, he said."

Also, back in December, a traveler recieved a call while out of town to learn that his valet-parked H3 was missing. This is exactly what image the airport needs- professional, mature valet drivers. Good work guys <_<

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