No plans for ski plane this winter | AspenTimes.com

No plans for ski plane this winter

Naomi Havlen

A flight from Denver to Aspen that in the past has worked for a quick ski trip won’t be running again this winter, in part because the airlines have learned to schedule planes to better serve out-of-state visitors.The Aspen Ski Plane was a hit during the winter of 2001-2002, when it offered a round-trip flight between Denver and Aspen and a lift ticket for $99 plus tax. It was less popular the following season when it was offered only on weekdays.The reason for the plane’s demise this year and last is simply because of a new, more convenient schedule United is offering to Aspen that benefits flights connecting to Aspen from out of state, but leaves no room for a ski plane from Denver. What made the ski plane work for United Express was the fact that it had an empty plane running between Denver and Aspen early every morning.”The first flight is now timed to make inbound connections from many of our top markets – Dallas, Chicago and Washington, D.C., to name a few,” said Bill Tomcich, president of Stay Aspen Snowmass, the town’s central reservation agency. “It’s no longer an empty repositioning flight.”The ski plane didn’t operate last winter – Tomcich said if it had, it would have had a very frustrating schedule.”We counted maybe eight days in February and seven day sin March when flights were available in both directions to create a day trip up to Aspen,” he said. “So instead of frustrating guests with never being available, why launch the program in the first place?”The good news, however, is that flights are filling up throughout the holidays, and the connections make it easier for out-of-state guests to come quickly from Denver to Aspen after first arriving in Colorado.”United has a much better schedule,” Tomcich said, especially considering that guests from elsewhere in the country and the world spend their money on lodging and dining in Aspen, compared to day-trippers who ski, eat lunch and leave as it’s getting dark.Naomi Havlen’s e-mail is nhavlen@aspentimes.com


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