USA Today Travel recently published an article on the not-so-big airports that the majority of travelers use in order to get to a destination. Often times these regional airports are the starting and ending points for many travelers. For instance, right here in the North Eastern Pennsylvania region, where Sundance Vacations Headquarters is located, we are about 15 minutes from the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport, located in Avoca, PA; and just an hour away from the much favorite, Lehigh Valley Airport.
According to the article, airports located in in Appleton, Wisconsin; Erie, Pennsylvania.; Richmond, Virginia.; Green Bay, Wisconsin; Chattanooga, Tennessee; Santa Barbara, California; Knoxville, Tennessee; and Fresno, California all make the best regional airport list.
While larger airports have much more destinations and things to do, Sean Broderick, spokesman for the American Association of Airport Executives, is quoted in the article saying, “regional airports can be your best friend.” Unlike much larger airports, like LAX; the regional airports are often times less crowded and more personable. The article quotes Deanne Sullivan, who works at a consulting firm in California and agrees with Broderick, with saying, “If you fly out of a smaller airport, the gate agents know you; the ticket-counter staff knows you. You just get a little bit more personal service. They’re not as rushed.”
One of our favorite regional airports in Eastern Pennsylvania has got to be the Lehigh Valley Airport. In fact, Tina Dowd, co-founder of Sundance Vacations, said, “while traveling two weeks ago we were completely impressed with the Lehigh Valley Airport. We frequent A LOT of airports. Lehigh Valley is large enough to have frequent flights to Florida but small enough to make check in a breeze.” However, the element that sets Lehigh Valley apart from the rest is the level of customer service and interaction the employees have with the travelers. Tina added that, “…the thing that puts it in first place among all airports is the over the top friendly TSA agents. They greet approaching guests with a smile. They joke with our 7 year old by asking to see her driver’s license. One agent was stationed at the front of the scanner line and actually helped travelers to put their things in bins.” While the customer service level is by far the best, the airport also offer things to help out travelers that other airports do not. According to Tina they also offer COMPLIMENTARY plastic zip lock bags for those pesky 3 oz or less containers of liquids and gels! Tina’s daughter, Madison, actually took a picture of the zip lock bag station.
According to the article, 160 million travelers traveled through regional airports. That means that 1 in 4 travelers use these not-so-big airports. The article goes on to state some of the perks that put some of the regional airports over the top, including nearby parking, personable customer service, smaller crowds, shorter weight times and some even offer the same perks as big airports.
Next time when you need to book a flight, consider using or checking out if a regional airport offers flights to and from your destination. You may avoid a lot of the hassle associated with bigger airports and who knows you may make a friend or two with the staff!!!
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