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.
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.