The highs and lows of parenting and real estate.

The 'Other' Airport

I’m sure you’ve heard of it. That little airport over in East Mesa? The one that used to have a really cheap flight to Vegas, but apparently discontinued it? Yeah, that’s all I had ever heard about it too.

Two weeks ago we needed to get to Portland, Oregon on short notice (72 hours). I checked all the usual places first:,, Southwest, etc. The cheapest I could find was $420/each for a roundtrip with a layover in Salt Lake City. Then I checked our airline credit card that we put everything on to accrue miles and we had enough for one free roundtrip ticket. Unfortunately, it would have been $670 to add the second person on the same flight. So basically our options were $840 and no miles for a flight with a layover, $670 and all of our miles for a direct flight, or $420 and all of our miles for a direct flight and one with a layover (so two different drop off/pick up times at the airport and no moral support for me and my nail-biting flying fear). Not particularly attractive options.

Then I got a thought to check the Phoenix-Mesa Gateway airport… Because I’m the QUEEN of cheap travel. That’s right, bow down. The Mesa airport flies to a really limited amount of locations, but they do fly to Eugene, Oregon, which is about 100ish miles from Portland. Two roundtrip tickets from Mesa to Eugene was $215 (that’s including one roundtrip checked bag). Of course, being 100 miles from our destination meant that we had to rent a car, but that was only an additional $100 (and we got to keep it for the weekend). So for $315 we made the trip.

The other fabulousness of the Mesa airport is that it’s so small that parking, check-in, security and baggage claim is all super quick and easy.

Jason was worried that because it is a small airport, the plane would be super small (and my flying fear would be increased). But that was not a worry because it was a 5 seat wide, 35 seat deep jet; nice and big. The flight out of Phoenix was bumpy (as per usual), but the one in was smooth as silk.

So my vote is thumbs up! Fly Phoenix-Mesa Gateway when you get a chance. Here are the cities they fly to:

Bellingham, WA (BLI)
Billings, MT (BIL)
Bismarck, ND (BIS)
Cedar Rapids, IA (CID)
Eugene, OR (EUG)
Fargo, ND (FAR)
Great Falls, MT (GTF)
Medford, OR (MFR)
Missoula, MT (MSO)
Peoria, IL (PIA)
Rapid City, SD (RAP)
Redmond-Bend, OR (RDM)
Rockford, IL (RFD)
Sioux Falls, SD (FSD)
Springfield, MO (SGF)

5 Responses to The 'Other' Airport

  1. I’m glad you were able to get there at the lowest cost to you. What a bargain! I’m fairly certain this is what I’ll be flying when I come home for Addison’s surgery…..and most other things. It’s a drive to get to Rockford, but worth it.

  2. That’s the airport I used this past weekend to get back to Iowa. For two roundtrip tickets and one checked bag we got home for $263. My brother came and picked us up, so we saved on the rental. We were about an hour and 15 minutes from my home town, so it was great. As of Saturday night, May is all $29 days.

  3. I am going to Billings in May. RAD!

  4. We (the family) flew Allegiant air this past Christmas to Billings Montana.

    The price was actually decent compared to the normal, “We’re going to double the price because it’s Holiday travel time” deal…

    Also no crowds for sure. I did laugh when they had a “raffle” / (aka gambling) on the plane in the “spirit of being Vegas based”


  5. If you ever get a wild hair to visit Missouri, you’ve got a place to stay!

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