Posted by: Barbara Evanhoe | January 17, 2011

In Praise of Regional Airports

While considering flight options for my trip to Williamsburg last week, I made a conscious decision to avoid large hub airports if at all possible.

In my case, this meant Atlanta.

I’d flown through Atlanta a number of times and lived to tell the tale, but the crowds and craziness are way too much for this old gal, so I chose to fly through small regional airports instead, in honor of the more simplified lifestyle Keith and I have adopted in the past year.

Therefore, I decided to fly out of the Gainesville Regional Airport, just an hour’s drive from White Springs.

It’s a convenient drive, and the airport is easily accessed once you arrive in Gainesville.

Airport signage is easy to spot, and a simple left turn onto Airport Road takes you right up to the main building.

The stressful scene at the entrance of most airports where drivers vie for a drop-off position at the terminal was noticeably absent.

Keith simply pulled right up near the door, and I stepped out of the truck, retrieved my luggage, kissed Keith good-bye, and walked into the terminal, straight up to the U.S. Air counter line, which consisted of one person.

After checking in and dropping off my bag, I headed for the gate. Gate 3, to be precise.

It was easy to find, as this airport has a total of just 3 gates!

Yet, Gainesville offered all the amenities a traveler might need…I picked up fresh fruit to munch on and an espresso to wash it down with.

Then, I sat in the waiting area for my flight.

At the time printed on my boarding pass, we were ushered onto the plane. It was a full flight, which took off on time and arrived in Charlotte, North Caroline on time as well.

I sat next to an elderly woman from Louisville, Kentucky. We spoke for a few minutes at both the beginning and end of the flight, but she kindly left me to read my book while in the air.

It was truly a refreshing experience, which upgraded my overall opinion of airline travel.

I suggest the next time you have occasion to travel, take a look at routes that make use of regional airports rather than major hubs, and you just may find yourself enjoying the friendly skies more than ever before.

Kudos to everyone at the Gainesville airport ~ keep up the good work!

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