Category Archives: Around Bozeman Airport

Navigating the busiest little airport in Montana. Tips, tricks, recommendations for visitors to southwest Montana’s finest international airport.

New East Belgrade interchange, it is official?

Where will the TMC gravel pit geese go?

I90-BZN Interchange
Proposed $37-million I90-BZN interchange

We have been hearing about it for a while now, and rumor has it construction will start soon. A recent conversation with Belgrade Chamber of Commerce divulged the construction plans for a new I-90 straight into BZN interchange. The plan looks likes it will cross through the TMC Gravel Pit (where will all the roosting geese go?) and straight into the current airport entrance. Meanwhile, a temporary road will be built west of the airport.

How will this effect the airport and surrounding businesses? Well, traffic on Frontage road, Bozeman to BZN will certainly decrease. I would venture a guess for residents of downtown Bozeman, taking the 7th street exit to Frontage Rd to the Airport will still be the best option. Those west of town, in the sprawl behind 19th may take Valley Center to Alaska to the airport? Certainly, those coming from West of the airport (all 12 of them) will use the new exit, because let’s be honest, the Amsterdam Road through Belgrade exit takes all of 5-minutes. Clearly the $37-million interchange is of less value…

We all know majority of airport users are heading right down Jackrabbit to Big Sky and West Yellowstone. Maybe they will use the new interchange to hop on I90, drive 1-mile (dodging 70-mph Semis), and then exit off to Jackrabbit?

At one stage we heard the Federal Government pulled $5-million of funding, however, it seems everything is back on track. As it was explained to us, TMC will get there own direct gravel pit access (great news as having their trucks pull out onto Frontage rd can be terrifying), the Railroad will lose 2-whistle stops, and BZN gets a direct portal from the highway.

The airport authority is posting $3-million to this project, and they are likely the only benefiting parties. All for the creation of jobs, but building for the sake of building isn’t the most logical move in this humble servants opinion. I would think that $3-million, heck the $37-million, would be much better spent on advertising and promotion of Bozeman as a tourist destination!

 

Bozeman Airport Adds Additional Newark Service

Shared from the ‘Official’ Bozeman Airport website:

Newark to Bozeman
BZN offers expanded service from Newark to Bozeman.

BZN Announces expanded summer 2013 New York Service

February 4, 2013

Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport (BZN) today announced a fifty percent increase in non-stop flights to New York/Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) for the summer season 2013 compared to summer 2012. Located just 14 miles from Manhattan, EWR serves the entire New York-New Jersey metropolitan area. The flights will be operated by United Airlines.

United will operate the service using Airbus A319/A320 aircraft in a two-class configuration. Flights will operate twice weekly; Saturday flights will operate June 22, 2013 through August 31, 2013. Sunday flights will operate June 30, 2013 through August 25, 2013. Flights are scheduled to depart EWR at 8:25 a.m. and arrive BZN at 11:07a.m. The return flights are scheduled to depart BZN at 12:00 p.m. and arrive EWR at 6:00 p.m.

These flights are made possible by the cooperation and contribution of 17 entities through the Bozeman Chamber of Commerce, Big Sky Resort, Moonlight Basin and the Yellowstone Club in conjunction with a Department of Transportation Small Community Air Service Development Grant (SCASDG).

United also operates year-round service between BZN and Denver, with seasonal service to Los Angeles, Chicago and San Francisco.

About Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport
Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport serves as a year-round gateway to Yellowstone National Park. BZN also serves the recreation areas of Big Sky Resort, Moonlight Basin and the Bridger Bowl Ski Area as well as the business centers of Bozeman, Belgrade and Livingston and higher education at Montana State University. For more information about Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport go to http://www.bozemanairport.com

About United
United Airlines and United Express operate an average of 5,472 flights a day to 381 airports across six continents. In 2012, United and United Express carried more passenger traffic than any other airline in the world and operated nearly two million flights carrying 140 million customers. United is investing in upgrading its onboard products and now offers more flat-bed seats in its premium cabins and more extra-legroom economy-class seating than any airline in North America. In 2013, United became the first U.S.-based international carrier to offer satellite-based Wi-Fi on long-haul overseas routes. The airline also features DIRECTV® on nearly 200 aircraft, offering customers more live television access than any other airline in the world. United operates nearly 700 mainline aircraft and has made large-scale investments in its fleet. In 2013, United will continue to modernize its fleet by taking delivery of more than two dozen new Boeing aircraft. The company expanded its industry-leading global route network in 2012, launching nine new international and 18 new domestic routes. Business Traveler magazine awarded United Best Airline for North American Travel for 2012, and readers of Global Traveler magazine have voted United’s MileagePlus program the best frequent flyer program for nine consecutive years. United is a founding member of Star Alliance, which provides service to 194 countries via 27 member airlines. More than 85,000 United employees reside in every U.S. state and in countries around the world. For more information, visit united.com or follow United on Twitter and Facebook. The common stock of United’s parent, United Continental Holdings, Inc., is traded on the NYSE under the symbol UAL.

Cheap rental cars Bozeman

Cheap rental cars Bozeman?

Those that are not in the know, generally opt for the smallest, least expensive rental car they can find while visiting Bozeman, MT. Those of us who live here, would never recommend anyone to rent a motorized roller-skate and this is why: a head-on collision with an elk. If you do get in an accident in a rental car here in Montana, chances are it will be with an animal- and we have BIG animals. A bull elk, like the one that caused this damage weighs about 700 pounds. Can you imagine what would have happened if these people had rented a compact car to save a few dollars?

Cheaper car rentals are not always better here in Montana!

Why you do not want to rent an economy/ compact car in Montana
Why you do not want to rent an economy/ compact car in Montana

Departing BZN

BZN Departures terminal
Lines for certain departures can be long, but in general nothing like a major urban airport.

Bozeman Airport departures- typically painless

We love the Bozeman Airport and give much respect to the way it is operated. Typically, we recommend guests to show up at the airport 1-hour prior to their departure of their domestic flight. This being said, we have heard some horror stories that will be mentioned later.

If you will be arriving via airport shuttle or off-airport rental car agency, you will be dropped off right outside of departures terminal. Typically, if you are in a private shuttle or with one of the off-airport rental car agencies, they will even help you with your bags right up to your airline counter.

If you have rented a car from an on-airport rental car company, we recommend dropping your family and luggage off at the departures terminal then doing a ‘lap’ around the airport back to the rental car returns parking lot. Departures and the rental car returns area are about a half-mile walk. Not a big deal in the summer, but when it is -4 degrees in winter and you have screaming kids, this is an unpleasant experience.

If you are  a local and need to park a vehicle at the airport there are two options. Bozeman airport offers on-site parking. ‘Premium’ is $10 per day, ‘Economy’ is $7 per day. There is a new company who is offering discounted off-airport parking, Bozeman Park and Shine. Listed prices are $4/ per day $100/ month. They also offer very reasonable car cleaning services.

If you are a second home owner and looking to store a vehicle long-term you can: purchase a car condo on airport for $25k+, or lease a garage at Airport Valet and Storage.

Once you have dealt with your rental car or shuttle service, head to your respective counter for check-in/ baggage drop. Typically our counter attendants for all airlines are extremely pleasant, real people. Rarely do we witness the superiority complex and attitude found in larger airports. Then again, even our DMV in Bozeman is hosted by nice people. Treat them with respect and you will be treated the same.

Once you drop off your bags, or if you have pre-printed your boarding pass, head upstairs to proceed through security. This is where things will likely slow down. TSA for Bozeman Airport can be painfully slow and deliberate. Fortunately, the volume of people they process isn’t large so you can still get through in a timely manner, just be forewarned the will want to bomb-scan your bag, frisk each individual, make you take your shoes off, etc. TSA is the only downfall of the airport, and to our latest knowledge BZN has been looking to outsource this role.

Once you are through security the worst is over. There is a small cafe inside departures where you can get an overpriced coffee and stale bagel. Fortunately, we rarely have delays on departing flights so most likely you will soon be on your way back home.

Arriving at BZN

BZN Airport Arrivals
Bronze geese adorn the Bozeman Airport arrivals area

Welcome to Montana

We find that many travelers arriving and departing Bozeman Airport (BZN) are not adjusted/ used to using such a small and personable airport. Arrival to BZN is very straight forward; follow the signs and head towards baggage claim and ‘Arrivals’.  We do not have separate terminals/ buildings- just one big one. Enjoy the bronze goose sculptures, the ‘Big Bear’. and the cast tyrannosaurus Rex skull. Additionally, the Yellowstone Association, a non-profit conservation group has an excellent information area/ kiosk. The majority of the workers in the store are passionate volunteers and are more than happy to provide as much information as possible about the park. Purchasing a membership not only goes to help preserving Yellowstone, but also offers significant savings on Park Services.

Although luggage is typically released quickly, sometimes it takes a LONG time. Check out some of the free rack cards of mostly non-pertinent information. These are paid for spaces, and just because a provider has a card there does not mean they are the best. Be wary and do a little review research before booking anything- especially some of the fly fishing guides. The abundant Discovery Maps are a great resource.

Be wary of the cafe and gift shop at arrivals. These stores are horrendously overpriced in order to pay the airports concession fee. Think $9 for a piece of reheated frozen pizza. You are better off waiting a couple of minutes or using the water fountain (underneath escalators along with restrooms).

If you are renting a car from an on-airport provider (Hertz, Enterprise, Thrifty, etc) it is recommended that one person waits for the bags while another person goes and collects the rental car as the rental car kiosk lines can often be long as well. The airport car rental agency’s kiosks are at the far western side of the building. With your back facing the baggage carousels, turn left and keep walking till you run out of building. Once your rental car is collected  you can pull forward, hopefully finding a parking spot, while your family takes the luggage outside to arrivals. Or, you can walk with the family to the rental car parking lot. Just be warned, it is far.

If you have opted for a) a shuttle/ taxi or b) an off-airport rental car agency they will meet you at the base of the escalators as you head towards baggage claim with placard. Whether it is your shuttle to Big Sky, taxi to Bozeman, or rental car- these off-airport concessionaires have dedicated parking lanes outside of the arrivals terminal. If your concessionaire is not parked in the Karst Stage, shuttle lane, or taxi lane be wary as they are probably not an authorized airport sanctioned company. Concessionaires to Bozeman Airport are all required to charge their customers additional airport fees. Shuttles and taxis range from $2.00 per person and car rentals 10% additional airport fee.

If you are able to find transport to one of the off-airport rental car agencies, like Phasmid or TRAC, you will be able to save the 10% concession fee. Very beneficial if you are renting a vehicle for an extended period of time. Hint: both of these companies offer free pick-up service at hotels and around the greater Bozeman area, and many of the hotels offer free shuttle service.

There are no regular buses between the airport and Bozeman. There is a scheduled service via Karst Stage to Big Sky, West Yellowstone, and Mammoth Hot Springs. As mentioned in BZN ground transportation article, there is not a taxi stand at BZN- so all of your travel arrangements departing the airport need to be made in advance.

Navigating BZN Rental Car Options

Dec-22---Jan-3

First and foremost, book in advance. Car rentals at Bozeman Airport can be extremely expensive during peak times. The above search is for a Premium SUV December 22 – January 3, 2012. As you can see, SUV rentals command an extremely high price in Bozeman. At this time, economy car rentals were $100/ day as well. The moral of the story- book in advance. Options 2; think outside of the Big Box. We checked with the off-airport rental car companies, and although they were almost completely booked out, Toyota Rent-A-Car had a 2012 Sequoia for $120/ day and Phasmid Rentals had a 2012 Chevrolet Suburban z71 for $150/ day. Nobody likes wasting money on a rental car, so think in advance and if you forget to do that- think outside of the Big Box.

Bozeman Airport- Montana and Yellowstone’s Gateway

There are numerous options for visitors to begin their southwest Montana adventures, yet Bozeman Airport (Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport at Gallatin Field, BZN) continually stands as the most convenient and welcoming venue for visitors to arrive. BZN’s continually expanding direct flight destinations and expanding flight schedule are one of the fastest growing in the entirety of the US. Combined with a truly stunning facility built in 2012 and Montana hospitality, BZN is the perfect gateway for your Montana and Yellowstone vacation.

This unofficial site offers resources and information for visitors to the Bozeman area and the Bozeman airport. We simply hope that all visitors to Montana and Bozeman make the most out of their time, come back and visit us again, and tell their friends!