Aspen Pitkin County Airport expects some of its busiest days to start Sunday |

Aspen Pitkin County Airport expects some of its busiest days to start Sunday

A United Express airline prepares for boarding at the Aspen/Pitkin County Airport Tuesday.
Jeremy Wallace/The Aspen Times |

Aspen-Pitkin County Airport is preparing for what may be the first of many of the airport’s busiest days, independent of flight delays and cancellations, starting Sunday.

Departing Food & Wine guests are the source of Sunday’s anticipated airport traffic, but it’s the additional commercial flights in and out of Aspen this summer and fall that has led airport officials to send the public one message: Get to the airport early.

Earlier this month, Stay Aspen Snowmass President Bill Tomcich sent out a statement that said both the summer and fall “will see more nonstop flights than ever before at Aspen-Pitkin County Airport.”

According to Aspen airport director of aviation John Kinney, the airport has added flights to and from San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago and Dallas.

On Tuesday, Pitkin County sent a statement informing the public of its expected spike in traffic and recommended that passengers with checked bags arrive 120 minutes prior to departure. Those with carry-ons should arrive 90 minutes prior.

Kinney said that arriving early is especially important for passengers with flights between 7 and 9:30 a.m., when most flights are expected to depart.

He added that he “guarantees” that anyone who arrives at the airport less than an hour and a half prior to any flight between 7 and 9:30 a.m. Sunday will miss it.

“Historically, people have enjoyed the fact that they could come an hour or 45 minutes before their flight,” he said, adding that, “some people have even pushed it to 30 minutes.”

“That’s kind of the appeal of living in a small mountain town and having a boutique airport.”

Not anymore — at least, not this Sunday or at any point during the month of July, Kinney said. He also pointed toward June 26 as a particularly busy travel day at the airport.

In addition to its busy period between 7 and 9:30 a.m., the airport expects to have a second “rush hour” from 3:50 to 5 p.m. throughout July.

During this one-hour, 10-minute period, five flights are expected to depart the Aspen airport daily, Kinney said.

To expedite wait time, airport officials recommend that all passengers check in for their flights and pay any baggage fees online in advance.

The county statement also reminded Food & Wine patrons to remove any bottles of wine, bladed corkscrews and “sharp objects like culinary implements” from their carry-on bags.

“Our guests who have been having fun all week at the event sometimes forget that they can’t carry more than 3.4 ounces (100 ml) onto the plane with them,” according to the statement.

According to Kinney, Transportation Security Administration personnel at the Aspen airport have encountered forgetful Food & Wine folks in previous years.

“We will take no pleasure in confiscating their favorite wine,” Kinney said.

And don’t forget marijuana — Aspen-Pitkin County Airport has four trash containers, located at each door, whereby travelers may dispose of the drug that won’t be welcome upon their arrival.


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