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Flying to Big Sky

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 

For those flying to Big Sky, Bozeman is the closest airport. It's a very nice small airport that was expanded and upgraded a year or two ago.  Car rental parking lot at the end of the building.  No need for a parking deck.  Tend to be smaller planes into Bozeman so flights can fill up.  One reason to make a decision and book plane tickets relatively early.

 

Delta has non-stops from Minneapolis, Detroit, Salt Lake City, Atlanta.  United goes out of Newark, Denver, Chicago,  San Francisco, Los Angeles.  Frontier is out of Denver so a few other airlines connect to those flights.

 

Map of plane routes for Bozeman

http://www.bigskyresort.com/Vacation-Planner/Airlines.asp

 

Have heard that Billings can be cheaper.  About a 4 hour drive via interstate highway.  Salt Lake City is 6-7 hour drive, with some two-lane highway.

post #2 of 19

Anyone have any experience with group excursion fares or anything like that? (Behind the question: I just did a quick search for fares and routes between PWM and BZN, and emerged sobered at best, seriously discouraged at worst. Even flying out of Boston, it looks like we're talking around $600 - three times what I paid this year to go to Denver. Thinking that maybe if there was a critical mass of us we could get at least a decent price from some major northeastern city to Bozeman. But that's pure speculation; I have no first-hand knowledge of anything like this.)
 

post #3 of 19

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by qcanoe View Post

Anyone have any experience with group excursion fares or anything like that? (Behind the question: I just did a quick search for fares and routes between PWM and BZN, and emerged sobered at best, seriously discouraged at worst. Even flying out of Boston, it looks like we're talking around $600 - three times what I paid this year to go to Denver. Thinking that maybe if there was a critical mass of us we could get at least a decent price from some major northeastern city to Bozeman. But that's pure speculation; I have no first-hand knowledge of anything like this.)
 

 

That's not a bad idea. I've done a few for daughter's soccer team travels. You need at least 10 people, generally, and the nice thing is you can change names on the tickets up until about 24 hr before departure. Different airlines have slightly different policies: I think with Frontier, they need a deposit and then full payment 60 days before the flight; United was slightly different, I think I was able to hold off paying the balance until shortly before departure (but the deposit was a lot more).

 

The fares were comparable to the lowest economy you could find for that route ... United's was a little lower than normal, a few bucks, but Frontier's was the same (although we were going to San Francisco on UAL, and Albuquerque on Frontier, so DEN to ABQ was dirt cheap to start with. Maybe more wiggle room to SFO). The plus here is that you can lock something in, if fares rise. I don't know what happens if they drop, I would guess you could renegotiate.

 

All that is by memory, so I'm sorry if I misrepresented anything. But all you have to do is find the group page on an airline's site and submit an online quote request; that will give you all the info you need.

post #4 of 19
Thread Starter 

The Big Sky website mentions something about Montana Travel and "Discounted Fares."  Might be worth checking out.

 

"Discounted Fares to Montana available through Montana Travel - 1.800.247.3538 www.mttravel.com"

 

 

post #5 of 19

The Governor of Montana visits David Letterman (A Big Sky Skier).  It seems that he's quite excited about the direct flights between Newark and Bozeman. 

 

post #6 of 19

G'day. I'm hoping to join the gathering next year. I'll be following the thread on group flights. i live in Toronto and it may be cheaper for me to join your group if you start one than fly direct out of here and connect. I can get to Chicago or NYC for around $CDN250.

 

If anyone else is thinking of going from ON or QC let me know. We may be able to arrange a group fare out of Montreal or Toronto.

post #7 of 19

Unfortunately, those direct flights are only during the summer at this point.

post #8 of 19

FYI: I just ran a check on travelocity from YYZ to BZN for 31JAN2013 - 07FEB2013 (they quote max 330 days in advance) and I get a best price of $CDN804 connecting thru Chicago or Minny and arriving in the early afternoon.

 

 

post #9 of 19
Thread Starter 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Canuk1w1 View Post

FYI: I just ran a check on travelocity from YYZ to BZN for 31JAN2013 - 07FEB2013 (they quote max 330 days in advance) and I get a best price of $CDN804 connecting thru Chicago or Minny and arriving in the early afternoon.

 

 

 

Did you look to see if there was any difference flying on a weekend vs the weekend?  I realize that may not be an option for some folks.

post #10 of 19

I think Tuesdays and Wednesdays are supposed to be the best.  Now that I'm retired I always try to book stuff on those days.  

post #11 of 19

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by sibhusky View Post

I think Tuesdays and Wednesdays are supposed to be the best.  Now that I'm retired I always try to book stuff on those days.  

 


Yes, based on fall flights, it does look like there are some slightly better options arriving / departing on non-weekend days. So your point is good. I would definitely do that to save a few hundred bucks and/or a flight leg. Everything is speculation at this point, because we can't (I think) get actual quotes on flights that far out. It may be late summer before we can talk hard numbers? (Not a frequent flyer so I don't know how far in advance carriers start offering seats.)

post #12 of 19

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by qcanoe View Post

 

 


Yes, based on fall flights, it does look like there are some slightly better options arriving / departing on non-weekend days. So your point is good. I would definitely do that to save a few hundred bucks and/or a flight leg. Everything is speculation at this point, because we can't (I think) get actual quotes on flights that far out. It may be late summer before we can talk hard numbers? (Not a frequent flyer so I don't know how far in advance carriers start offering seats.)

 

Good call but no real savings to be had. Just checked travelocity.ca for the following dates:

 

Wed, Jan 30, 2013 - Tue, Feb 5, 2013 | 1 Adult

 

Best (reasonable) price is $780 with transfer in Minny or Denver. Best price is $15 cheaper but you transfer in NYC and arrive in BZN close to 23h00. 

 

Forgive me if I missed it in the thread earlier but has the date been finalized yet? Once set I'm thinking to book my flight to lock in a sub $CDN850 price ASAP. 

 

A "cheaper" option may be driving to Buffalo or Detroit but in winter, both (especially Detroit going through SW Ontario) can be dodgy with storms and the border crossing - what you save in $ you give up and more in time. Then, there's the drive back after the trip...

 

FYI, I usually book to Whistler using Flightcentre and they get me my transfers as well. My regular agent quoted same price (to Bozeman) as I could get online so when dates are set I'll ask her to get me some options based on the dates - very convenient and if anything goes wrong they always make it right. On my return to Toronto from Whistler last January they got me an 08h00 departure from YVR at a great price. But I had to leave the Village at 03h00! I called to confirm my shuttle Thursday and skylinx told me I was SOL. I emailed her and they sorted it with skylinx so I had a taxi pick me up and take me to the airport - no extra charge. My friend got a call from WestJet a half hour after I left that his 13h00 flight had been cancelled and he was now on a redeye back to Toronto. He had to pay out of pocket for a $300 cab ride back to YVR to make a 10h00 flight. I'll pay that extra bit for that kind of security any day of the week as long as I can afford it!

 

post #13 of 19
Thread Starter 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Canuk1w1 View Post

 

 

Good call but no real savings to be had. Just checked travelocity.ca for the following dates:

 

Wed, Jan 30, 2013 - Tue, Feb 5, 2013 | 1 Adult

 

Best (reasonable) price is $780 with transfer in Minny or Denver. Best price is $15 cheaper but you transfer in NYC and arrive in BZN close to 23h00. 

 

Forgive me if I missed it in the thread earlier but has the date been finalized yet? Once set I'm thinking to book my flight to lock in a sub $CDN850 price ASAP. 

 

 

The dates are essentially March 24-29, starting with a day at Bridger on Sunday, March 24.  Here's the thread in this group.  It was in the forum thread but easy to miss.  Special Gathering lodging at Big Sky is officially March 23-28 but can be extended for other nights.  Also a special deal in Bozeman for March 23 that is great for anyone who doesn't want to bother with a car.  That's in the Lodging thread.

 

http://www.epicski.com/t/112031/schedule-of-events

 

 

 

post #14 of 19

Thanks marznc. Looking forward to it! 

post #15 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by marznc View Post

 

 

The dates are essentially March 24-29, starting with a day at Bridger on Sunday, March 24.  Here's the thread in this group.  It was in the forum thread but easy to miss.  Special Gathering lodging at Big Sky is officially March 23-28 but can be extended for other nights.  Also a special deal in Bozeman for March 23 that is great for anyone who doesn't want to bother with a car.  That's in the Lodging thread.

 

http://www.epicski.com/t/112031/schedule-of-events

 

 

 

The schedule shifted.  Bridger day will be Monday, March 25.  Slightly different deal for the Bozeman lodging.  So the official Gathering dates are March 25-29.  Of course there will probably be folks who show up early or stay late.

post #16 of 19

FYI, Alaska Airlines has flights from Seattle to Bozeman for $360 RT (about 1 hour 45 flight time).     Sometimes there are pretty good fares from other major cities to Seattle, so it might save some money, plus allow a few days of PNW skiing in between flight days if you schedule it that way. 

post #17 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by marznc View Post

The schedule shifted.  Bridger day will be Monday, March 25.  Slightly different deal for the Bozeman lodging.  So the official Gathering dates are March 25-29.  Of course there will probably be folks who show up early or stay late.

Keep in mind that the dates are set, but the schedule may change a bit over the next several months, depending on logistics.  

post #18 of 19
Thread Starter 

If someone in the Washington DC area is seriously considering flying to Bozeman for the Gathering, Delta has 1-stop flights for $491 tonight based on March 24-29.  No idea how long that will last.  Normal price seems to be at least $600.

post #19 of 19
Thread Starter 

If stopping in Jackson Hole as part of a Gathering trip is of interest, Frontier Airlines will have direct flights from Denver from mid-Feb to early April in 2013.  Special $99 fare on their website until Nov. 18.