Living in a smaller town, you wouldn’t think that you would have an airport at your disposal. A long time ago, when Delta had their smaller prop planes we had them making connections to Minneapolis. It was a great convenience to be able to fly from here and not have to drive two hours to Des Moines or Minneapolis to catch a plane. After they had to leave here because of eliminating those planes, we went through another not so successful carrier before finally Air Choice One became our local carrier. They started with flights only to Chicago and added flights to St Louis. (After learning they are in Minneapolis, I hold on to the hope that flights will be added to that destination!) The planes for Air Choice One seat only 8 people. I have not been in a big hurry to fly on such a small plane. I imagined if I had a reason to go to Chicago, I would definitely try them out.
Such an opportunity presented itself when the North Iowa Bloggers recently traveled to Chicago. I was willing to push my nerves aside and see how this airline and airplane would be. I expected a long, bumpy ride. Was it? Read on.
We were told to pack a backpack for the trip. You would think that would be easy as we were going for a quick 24 hour visit. If you knew me, you would know that was going to be a challenge. I am what you call, an ‘over-packer’. I can, and do, over-pack for any and all trips I go on. Even overnight. There are too many unknowns, right? Weather for one. I like to pack in case it is going to be warm, or cold. Maybe, I will spill something on me, too. Then what do I do if I don’t have something to change into? Regardless, I packed everything successfully into a backpack.
We arrived at the airport at 6 a.m. to check in. I was treated to a great sunrise as I drove in. And we were all presented with wings for the trip. Yes, we wore them all day in Chicago!
One thing I love about our small airport is the security screening is short and fast. Some of us talked ahead of time about being randomly selected for extra screening. I have been many times. I learned also a long time ago to not use my moisturizer the morning of a flight-if I was chosen to get my hands screened, well, let’s just say, I will be having a special screening after that! No moisturizer this morning. I was still picked to have my shoes screened. I didn’t even know it was a thing. That was fine, but then I am told that my bag had a couple things they had to check. Seriously? I wasn’t thinking when packing that this would be a true carry on. Luckily the only thing I had not allowed was my dreaded tube of toothpaste. I had a choice of checking my bag, taking it back to the car or throwing it away. I chose the last one. That brand new 3.5 ounce tube went right into the garbage. Was that it? Nope. I had to stand and watch them swab every part of my bag. Of course it was all fine. Still, it sure makes you nervous. Lesson learned. I do like taking a carry on and avoiding having to go get my bag at baggage claim, but make sure you leave that big toothpaste at home!
We finally get on board. The pilot and co-pilot were extremely nice. They are your only crew of course. Remember the 8 seats! Soon all the wondering and unknown of flying on such a small plane to Chicago would be behind me. I am happy to say the takeoff was a breeze and I actually liked it much better than the larger planes! The scenery from this plane was unbelievable! It was a gorgeous day for a flight!
Since we all had carry on bags, there was no waiting for luggage at Baggage Claim. We headed into Chicago for our 24 hour adventure. More on that on the next blog!
The next day we headed to the airport a little early knowing that security lines could be long. They weren’t bad at all. No special checks this time! I had bought a travel size tube of toothpaste-no need to repeat that lesson!
When it was finally time to head home, we were walked out to the plane. One of the pilots was from the day before and asked us how our trip was!
Someone had mentioned that they heard it was windy at home, so I was anticipating that arrival with some trepidation. Most of the flight home was beautiful and calm. The clouds blocked the view for a short distance. When we got past them, we once again got a view of some beautiful scenery.
The ride did get a little ‘bumpy’ when we got closer to home. It made for a long last few miles of the trip, but I am glad to say, the landing was fine and we made it home. I think we were all glad when that plane came to a stop.
I can honestly say, it was a great flying experience. I would definitely fly Air Choice One again! I can whole-heartedly recommend them! What a great way to travel to Chicago and not have to worry about driving in all that traffic!
I would like to thank Air Choice One for providing transportation between North Iowa and Chicago.