If you’re considering flying on Air Choice One Airlines or any other small, regional airline, here’s what you’ll need to know before your trip!
I recently had the experience of flying to Chicago with the North Iowa Bloggers courtesy of the Clear Lake Chamber of Commerce and Air Choice One Regional Airlines. My husband is actually a private pilot, and in our previous life before children, we used to fly in little two seater Cessnas quite often. We lived in Okinawa, Japan when he got his license and enjoyed island hopping, whale watching from the air, and once we even went camping via airplane with two awesome friends of ours.
The Mississippi River From the Air
I loved the views from the plane so much – it’s pretty amazing to see where you live from the air. I enjoyed looking out for the Mississippi River on our trip to Chicago. Some other bloggers on our trip were even able to find their homes! I tell you what though. Having kids turned me into the biggest weeny there is regarding all things potentially scary and / or dangerous. I’m not sure what happened, but I used to love reading Stephen King. Not anymore. I used to love watching Law & Order. Not anymore. And I even used to love flying. Not anymore – not on little planes. Not on big planes. Not really on any plane… I always feel like I’ve cheated death when I finally land, even though I know that driving is statistically more dangerous than flying.
So when I was got the chance to fly to Chicago with the North Iowa Bloggers, I went with some trepidation. Knowing how bumpy it is to fly to Chicago from Eastern Iowa on a “small” plane that seats at least 40, I knew that we might be in for it on an even smaller planes like those flown by Air Choice One. And to some degree, I was right. It was a tad bumpy on the return flight, but I can honestly say that I have experienced much worse in much larger aircraft.
In all, it was a great tip. However, you will want to consider some things before you book travel on a commercial plane that seats only 8 passengers and 2 pilots.
What you need to know about Flying Air Choice One Airlines
- There are no snacks, no beverage service, no mini-bottles of wine. So pack an empty water bottle and fill it up once you clear security if you want something to drink. If you’re in a larger airport and can buy a bottle of wine on the other side of security, go for it!
- Go to the bathroom before you board. There is a toilet, but it’s behind a curtain and it’s really for emergencies only. I didn’t peek at it, but I heard it resembles something in a camper.
- You get up close and personal with the pilots. So close that you can watch their GPS and see all their blinking instruments.
- You might get a hand written boarding pass. For real!
- You’ll enter and exit via stairs. No jetways for this little airline.
- Prepare for bumps. Because they fly smaller planes at lower altitudes, the flight could very well be bumpy. We had one smooth flight on the way to Chicago, and one more bumpy flight, at least at take off and landing, on the way home from Chicago.
- You’ve got lots of leg room, but no arm rests. I missed my arm rests – there was nothing for me to clutch. 😀
- It’s like flying on your own private plane. Want to go with seven friends to Chicago? The plane is yours alone! No worrying about who will sit next to you. It’s actually pretty awesome.
- Security is the same as flying with a larger airline. You’re still limited by the same TSA requirements as everyone else so make sure to pack those travel sized toiletries or they’ll be confiscated.
- You might want to pack carry-on sized luggage. It looks to me like it all goes in the same place anyway, and this way you will avoid having to deal with baggage claim on the other side.
Air Choice One Travel Options
In all, I really enjoyed flying with Air Choice One. It’s great for small towns to have access to commercial travel without having to drive two hours to get to a bigger airport. And I really enjoyed the FREE PARKING at the Mason City Airport!
Air Choice One travels in the Midwest and is based out of St. Louis. They fly to Chicago & Decator in IL, Minneapolis – St. Paul; Mason City, Ft. Dodge, Burlington in Iowa; Jonesboro, AR; Jackson, TN; and Ironwood, MI. Their prices (a little over $100 round trip from Burlington, Iowa to Chicago) seem really reasonable to me and I hope you’ll consider them if you live in one of the areas mentioned above.
Thank you to Air Choice One for providing transportation between North Iowa and Chicago.