Free Market Adds Sioux Falls–Phoenix Snowbird Flight

You can fly from Watertown to Denver on a government subsidy (for a little while longer, at least), or, come December, you can really get away from it all and catch a flight from Sioux Falls to Phoenix on your own dime. According to a press release this week from the Sioux Falls Airport, American Airlines will have its partner Mesa fly a 76-seat CRJ900 (built by Canadian planemaker Bombardier) once a day from Sioux Falls to Phoenix. This snowbird service will be available December 15 through June 2. These Mesa flights will leave Sioux Falls at 5:55 p.m. and arrive at Phoenix at 8:05 p.m. Return flights leave Phoenix at 1:25 p.m. and land in Sioux Falls at 5:05 p.m.

I check Expedia this morning and find American Airlines will take us to Phoenix over the weekend before Christmas for $459.70. The best rate for a Sioux Falls–Denver flight that weekend is on Frontier at $405.20. Expedia shows no Watertown–Denver flights that weekend, but the average fare in Aerodynamics Inc’s original proposal was $83.16 out of each passenger’s pocket and $253.38 in aeronautical welfare payments (should we call it Air Stamps?).

According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, Sioux Falls has the 120th busiest U.S. airport out of 826 airports. Over the twelve months ending May 2016, Sioux Falls Airport had an average of 25 flights a day carrying 1,340 people out of town (and similar numbers back). Those flights also carried over 232,000 pounds of freight and mail daily. Phoenix was the fifth-most popular destination, behind Dallas, Chicago, Denver, and numero uno Minneapolis. Over the twelve months ending May 2015 (comparing to the most recent year is unfair, since Watertown booted unreliable Great Lakes Airlines at the end of June 2015), Watertown Regional saw an average of four passengers in an out each day, all on Minneapolis flights.

10 Responses to Free Market Adds Sioux Falls–Phoenix Snowbird Flight

  1. Wow, we must be getting quite a bargain, we can fly from Rapid to Phoenix round trip for a couple hundred bucks on Alegent. It’s not a daily but with a little planning it’s also not a problem.

  2. “You can fly from Watertown to Denver on a government subsidy”

    Seems we do a lot on government subsidy here in republican SD.

  3. Wayne Pauli

    Allegiant flys out of FSD also. Depending on time of year I can visit my son and daughter in law very inexpensive. Round trip next month with all the Allegiant fees, (they are great at adding fees) round trip for $300…That is priority seats, priority boarding and 1 checked bag. Very affordable.
    Snowbird demand will raise the prices as we move toward colder weather. Demand dictates cost of supply.

  4. Based on my experience, if one needs to travel to Mesa in the worst way, that means flying Allegiant.

  5. mike from iowa

    Gawdalmighty why would anyone go to Phoenix?

  6. I bet those republicans from Watertown like that.But they will probably not call it a subsidy.

  7. Mignon Mike, from the shorter end of Iowa, did you know they have better golf there in Phoenix than they even do in North Sioux City? Or any part of Iowa. I’m just sayin. Plus it doesn’t snow as much as it does in Sioux Center.

  8. mike from iowa

    Duffer Grudz, in iowa you can get grits with your gravy taters. In Phoenix, the grit is likely to be desert sand with road runners and gila monsters in it as well. Snow won’t hurt you.

  9. Porter Lansing

    ⛷ SKI COLORADO … you know, for the scenery ⛷

  10. I suppose instead of those direct subsidies for the air service to Watertown, we can replace them with the government assistance programs that many of the employees have to rely on when they are working for the ground handling company that handles the AA and Allegiant flights out of Sioux Falls. Pre-ACA, they hired you “part-time” and expected full-time hours out of you, post-ACA you get 32 hours per week so they don’t have to pay benefits or health insurance. Luckily, their puppet union provides you wonderful benefits like having two consecutive days off. Go across the terminal to Delta, and they provide the same horrible benefits with even less pay. United replaced their employed, union, ground handling and replaced them with contractors from the same company that does Delta.

    Enjoy your cheap flights, poor customer service, and damaged bags ya’ll.