Fly Salem...Updated

You may have noticed the rumble of commercial passenger jets over the skies of Salem recently. Delta Airlines has added airline service to the Salem Airport from their hub in Salt Lake City. The fifty passenger jets fly out of McNary Field twice a day and can be connected with many other cities from the Salt Lake hub. On a recent trip to the Mid West, I got a chance to test out our new terminal to the world.
Free parking, no traffic, no crowds, no confusing airport signs, and in Salem, those are some positives that made this the best commercial flying experience I've ever had. I got to the airport about forty five minutes early, parked, checked in, and waited in the small terminal. Security was just like any other airport but with shorter lines. One thing they do need is some sort of concessions in the waiting area. I was expecting there to be something, even a candy machine, but I had to drive up to Dairy Queen to get a bite. My ticket was even cheaper than PDX but I booked several months in advance. A seat to Denver was $224, but a recent search found tickets for up to $518. Get a seat on the left side of the plane because the view of Salem and the Willamette Valley is awesome. The layover in Salt Lake was less than an hour and there was plenty of places to eat in that airport.

Lines longer than Disneyland's Space Mountain is what I experienced in Denver on my return trip from Colorado. The delay at the security checkpoint almost caused me to miss my connection to Salt Lake City. There were several other people running to the gate, almost too late to board the plane. Once inside, I finally got a chance to tie up my shoes for the turbulent flight to Utah. In Salt Lake there was only enough time to use the bathroom before the connection to Salem departed. The Salem gate is the last door at the end of a very long corridor with no air conditioning. As I climbed the stairs to the plane, I saw that my bags were ready to be put into the cargo section of the Canada Air Jet. I should have stayed and made sure that they got on, because, for some reason, one of them didn't. After getting off in Salem, the crews unloaded everyone's bag except mine and another passenger's. By six o'clock the next day, someone whose job it is to return peoples bags that are delayed, returned mine and reunited me with my toothbrush and dirty laundry. One other thing, there is a coffee and sandwich vendor in the waiting area now at the airport. It was in there before, but inside the security checkpoint area.


Samuel John Klein Portlandiensis said...

How very cool that is.

I'm old enough to remember that at one time, United served SLE, and I still remember Air Oregon before it became Horizon and pulled out entirely.

At the time I lived down McGilchrist; i was very aware of "Salem International Airport" (as we wags liked to call it).

Good for Salem that there's finally air service there; ironic that you can't go straight to PDX or Mahlon Sweet, but that's life I suppose.

riggity said...

The Statesman ran an article recently saying that if flights continued to go well, service to Las Vegas and L.A. could be in the works. I haven't personally been out to support SLE myself yet, but I need to so that I can contribute to keeping it alive. having three flights like that would be incredible.

Everyone I've spoken to who has flown the SLE/SLC flight has had the same positive experience you described.

Salem Man said...

I would use that flight to LA all the time. Especially in winter.