Ya cain't get thar from hee-yah!
May 15, 2007 8:45 PM   Subscribe

Are there scheduled (or irregular) flights between small airports on which one can book passage?

Are there air taxi or air bus services that run flights between the thousands of small airports across the U.S.? I'd like to fly from near Portland, Oregon to a small town that's pretty far from any airport that airlines like Southwest and Horizon fly into. It seems like there'd be a market for small (4-10 passenger) planes to hop between smaller airports. But how do you find out who's flying where, when, and for how much?
posted by spacewrench to Travel & Transportation (7 answers total)
Find out the airport codes and plug them into a travel or airline website.

There are often flights between these podunk airports but you may have to connect through the larger airports anyway, and they are invariably more expensive.
posted by loiseau at 8:48 PM on May 15, 2007

So, I think you're looking for charter services.
If you go to this website and enter in the codes for some of the local Portland airports (like KUAO, KHIO), look for companies that provide charter services. Some may only have a phone number, so you may have to call.
Which airport are you looking at flying into? My fiance is a private pilot in the PDX area (he's working on his commercial license right now), so let me know if you have more questions.
posted by j at 9:09 PM on May 15, 2007

I'd start by looking for a website for the small town airport you want to fly to. That should identify any airlines or air taxi services that fly there. You might need to book a roundtrip ticket on a major airline from Portland to the larger airport the air taxi service operates out of, and then head to the General Aviation terminal when you arrive. The air taxi service can advise you on how this works.
posted by zachlipton at 9:12 PM on May 15, 2007

Yeah, I'd start by figuring out the airport nearest to where you want to travel. This is one of many places to find this info. Then I'd figure out the FBO (fixed base operator) or FBOs at that airport and give them a call and see if anyone runs charter operations out of there. If it's a really small airport (uncontrolled field, less than 3,000 ft runway, no fuel on field, etc.), there may be no FBO to call and will likely be no charter options.

There are some services that offer seats on charter flights (either extra seats for a booked trip or seats on the dead leg flights back to the base), but they tend to be between larger airports (and larger metropolitan areas). Plus, the one that I remembered the name of has gone out of business.

Unless it's to a mid-size city/town, you're unlikely to find any kind of regular or scheduled air service. If you want to charter a plane yourself, you can do that, but it will be really expensive. The farther you get from Portland, the more flying commercially will make sense. Just to give you some sense of the cost, if you were to charter a relatively cheap, slow, small plane (say, a Bonanza, which could take you and three or four other people depending on weight and baggage) and wanted to go 3-400 miles, a good deal would still be more than a grand...
posted by MarkAnd at 5:37 AM on May 16, 2007

Are there air taxi or air bus services that run flights between the thousands of small airports across the U.S.?

There will be.
posted by Pollomacho at 5:42 AM on May 16, 2007

You just described the future of aviation.

Well, maybe not. But some people think it's going to be. Dayjet is the largest entity to be entering this market. And most general aviation manufacturers will be coming out with small air taxi-style jets in the next few years (Eclipse, Adam, Cirrus, and Piper all have jets coming out).

So, it will be possible. Right now, though, you have to content yourself with charter service, I think. Many respectable flight school will do charter for you if you ask. Even if they're not technically a charter company (different rules apply), they can get around it by giving you "flight instruction" one way, dropping you off, and flying the plane home empty. Except to pay somewhere between 200-300 dollars an hour for this privilege.
posted by backseatpilot at 5:44 AM on May 16, 2007

I heard a bit of an article on Marketplace on Skybus. Doesn't seem to fly out of PDX, but does seem to be trying to do what you describe.
posted by leahwrenn at 4:24 PM on May 16, 2007

« Older Cheapest way to ship an office chair across the US...   |   Asian Blondie Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.