Winter in North America means ski weekends, and to many western resorts flying by private jet will save you major time versus needing to change in airline hubs, switching to the regional jets airlines use to serve many of these destinations. The problem with flying commercially to these places is that when there are cancellations, often you can’t get new seats for days due to the low capacity aircraft they use on these routes.
Magellan Jets CEO Joshua Hebert, writing on his company website, says, “The seven most popular winter airports travelers fly into also happen to be some of the most problematic during the winter, due to their mountainous location and terrain.”
Number one on his list is Aspen, which he notes is in the same “bowl” of mountains as Eagle County Regional Airport and Garfield County Regional Airport in Rifle. This is good and bad. “These three airports are popular diversions for each other, however since they are all in close proximity, extreme weather at one usually means extreme weather at the other two,” he warns.
Jackson Hole Airport, located about seven miles north of Jackson, Wyoming, is another popular airport that also has its challenges. Herbert notes it is located inside the Grand Teton National Park with the Grand Teton mountain range providing challenges for pilots during bad weather periods.
Another airport where you will need to monitor weather is Telluride Regional Airport which sits on top of a plateau about 200 miles south of Rifle Airport. Hebert says Telluride has unique qualities that can impact the airfield such as high terrain, a steep drop to the San Miguel River, and the runway’s dip in the center.
The Friedman Memorial Airport in Hailey, Idaho is 13 miles south of Sun Valley, another popular destination for winter travelers. The mountainous terrain of this airport makes it challenging airport to fly into. The Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport is the busiest airport in Montana and neighbors popular communities such as Belgrade, Bozeman and Big Sky.
Hebert notes, “Although all seven of these airports offer beautiful scenery and access to some of the country’s most popular ski resorts, they prove to be problematic during the winter season as flights can often get diverted to other airports in the case of bad weather. If you have plans to fly in or out of these regions, remember to check the weather to ensure your flight will not be impacted.”
Of the over 100 jet card programs analyzed by Private Jet Card Comparisons, there are significant differences in pilot sourcing standards as well as diversion policies, recovery support and additional winter-related costs such as de-icing, which can cost as much as $10,000.
You can also read Private Jet Card Comparisons’ Jet Card Insider Review of Magellan Jets’ jet card programs here.