STEAMBOAT SPRINGS -- Travelers who plan to fly frequently between Yampa Valley Regional Airport and Denver this month will want to pay close attention to changing schedules.
Steamboat's ski season jet program winds down Sunday and Monday.
The daily ski season flight from Minneapolis on Northwest Airlines ends Sunday along with the Delta flight from Atlanta. Also ending for the ski season is the daily United Airlines 737 from Denver as well as the regional jets from Denver on United Express.
Monday is the last day for ski season service from Dallas and Chicago on American as well as the ski season jets from Salt Lake City.
After Monday, YVRA will be served exclusively by United Express with Mesa Airlines providing three flights a day on 37-passenger turboprops.
Mesa's flight schedule changes April 15 and again April 24 before tentatively settling into a consistent schedule for the summer and fall June 7. The Delta Connection from Salt Lake returns on June 8 with twice daily flights on 50-passenger jets.
Business travelers catching the first flight of the day to Denver should pay particularly close attention as the departure time changes from 6:30 a.m. to 6 a.m., then 6:15 a.m. and settles in at 6:30 a.m. for the summer and fall. Ann Copeland, terminal manager at YVRA, said the terminal will open every morning at 5 a.m. and travelers should arrive promptly at that time, or within a few minutes after 5 a.m.
"People tend to think that just because it's a little flight, they can arrive 15 to 20 minutes before scheduled departure," Copeland said. "But especially with the new TSA rules, that's not the case."
For the week ahead, April 8 to 14, the first United Express flight of the day departs at 6:30 a.m. The next flight of the day arrives at YVRA at 9:30 a.m. and departs for Denver at 10:04 a.m. The first flight of the afternoon arrives at 1:41 p.m. and turns around for Denver at 2 p.m. The next roundtrip arrives at 4:09 p.m. and heads back to Denver at 4:35. The last arrival of the day is due into Hayden at 9:39 p.m. and remains on the apron overnight to be prepared for the next morning's 6:30 a.m. departure.
The flight schedule for the three daily roundtrips changes significantly the following week, April 15 to 23. The first flight to Denver leaves at 6 a.m. The next flight doesn't arrive in Hayden until 11:01 a.m. and returns to Denver at 11:20. Another arrival is scheduled for 12:41 and turns around at 1 p.m. The final arrival from Denver is due in at 9:31 p.m.
The United Express schedule is planned to stabilize for the spring beginning April 24 with the first departure set for 6:15 a.m. The next departure of the morning is at 10 a.m. followed by a 1:40 p.m. flight The last flight of the day is due to arrive at Hayden at 9:44 p.m.
The first departure reverts to 6:30 a.m. June 7, and that schedule is tentatively set to prevail throughout the summer and fall, continuing until Nov. 20 with four daily roundtrips.
The second departure of the day this summer will be at 10 a.m. followed by a 12:42 p.m. and a 4:40 p.m. The late arriving flight is schedule for 9:39 p.m.
Copeland said the airport would miss the daily 50-passenger continental flight from Houston that operated last summer. She said Continental returned some of its leased regional jets and opted to send the remaining fleet to more lucrative markets.
Travelers to West Coast cities will enjoy connections through Salt Lake on two daily roundtrips operated by SkyWest flying as Delta Connection. Beginning June 8, there will be 8 a.m. and 1 p.m. departures for Salt Lake. The second flight from Salt Lake to YVRA doesn't arrive until 10:18 p.m. With the hour time difference to the West Coast, business travelers could comfortably fly to Los Angeles for a meeting and return home that night, assuming the connection in Salt Lake is on time.