Wheels Up Andy Manz
U nlike many aspects of our lives, advanced technology and modernism have done little to ease the hassles associated with air travel. While Denver International Airport has several nice perks (Root Down, Mod Market) I’ve rarely heard the word “convenient” uttered in the same sentence. Over-crowded parking lots, long security lines, these are all things that are a major drag on our time and patience – and those are just the emotions I have when flying by myself. Insert my four young kids into the equation, and we have a virtual Molotov Cocktail waiting to explode at any moment.
Enter the alternative – flying charter. Yes, reality TV shows and music videos have done a fantastic job of painting private air travel as simply a Veuve Champagne commercial at 45,000 feet. For anyone that has, or currently utilizes charter flights, the benefits are far more appreciated.
Our family of six recently had to be in Telluride for a wedding. We were faced with three travel choices: Option one was pull the kids out of school on Friday and make the seven hour haul by car. Option two was drop $650 per ticket and 18 hours of total travel time to fly commercial out of DIA, with a layover in Phoenix – yes, you heard that right. Option three was to charter through Mountain Aviation, out of Centennial Airport. After we calculated the time of driving, missing a day of work/school for the kids, option number three was an obvious choice.
My wife was coming from the kids school, and I was coming from downtown Denver. To no surprise, I-25 was already a parking lot at 3:30pm on this particular day. As a general reflex, I had a panic moment initially, thinking I was going to miss the flight. Chalk up another “W” for charter, because the plane isn’t leaving without you. I don’t know what the monetary value of pulling your vehicle directly up to the plane to board, but it is significant. No security, no lines. We popped the back hatch, boarded the plane, and handed the car keys to the good folks at Mountain Aviation.
The great Paul McCartney famously wrote “Can’t Buy Me Love”. Sir Paul failed to mention that money can’t buy you time either. If convenience comes in as the number one reason most people choose to fly private, time saved is a close second. Roughly fifty minutes from the time the twin engines of the Citation XL came to speed, we were on the ground in Telluride, with ample time to check in our hotel, and be at the 6:30pm rehearsal dinner.
No caviar, no champagne, just Avery IPA for mom and dad, and goldfish crackers for the kids. The only way to fly!