Last week I was headed to Long Beach, Calif, to meet my newest grandchild, Claire. Tricia, my wife, had made the travel arrangements and I flew out of the newly remodeled Brainerd Lakes Regional Airport terminal.
Having never connected to the Minneapolis/St.Paul hub of Delta from Brainerd, I was uncertain of the service I would experience flying out of this much smaller airport.
One advantage that was immediately apparent, I did not have to get up at 4 a.m. to drive to the Twin Cities. I was relaxed and avoided the extremely long security checkpoints at Lindbergh and was surrounded by a lot of nice folks from our area using the same flight to avoid the same hassles.
My experience was great! The new terminal was comfortable. Security check-in was a breeze (roughly two minutes to be screened by TSA agents who were more than accommodating) and I was immediately moved to the loading area and on the aircraft.
Even the type of aircraft was impressive. For years, when I worked for other publications and was assigned to out-of-the-way places, I was forced to fly prop-jets that were noisy and, at times, a frightening experience in turbulent weather. That was not my experience on Delta’s connection out of Brainerd. The aircraft was a Bombardier jet with a capacity of around 70 passengers. (It was the same style of aircraft I flew on the final leg of my journey from Salt Lake City to Long Beach.)
Here’s the real advantage of flying out of Brainerd Regional: parking was free for the five days I was gone. In the Twin Cities it would have cost around $100 or more to park in one of the monster ramps that one needs a shoe horn to squeeze into.
I understand that Delta will pull out of Brainerd in the near future. While that is unfortunate, other airlines will accommodate the region’s need to connect to the world outside the lakes region.
Next time you need to travel from the Twin Cities start your travel from our regional airport. Your experience will be less stressful.