Private plane experience for only $29? Yes!

Old Sep 2, 17, 3:06 pm
Original Poster
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: STL
Programs: Hyatt Platinum, Hilton Gold
Posts: 507
Private plane experience with smaller airline charters

Okay, I know the above headline is clickbait...but it can be true if you fly from STL to Jackson, TN....but read on....

I live near the STL airport and was trying to find a way to get to Rochester, MN (Mayo Clinic) without having to drive about 7-8hrs. I was set to fly from STL to MSP but I had a miserable experience the last few times...I hate that airport, the traffic, the lines, and then having to take a 1hr goShuttle from MSP to Rochester. I could fly into RST airport (Rochester) from STL but that can be more expensive and it takes about 4-5hrs thanks to layovers. At that point, I may as well drive the 7hrs!

I say all of that because I found a great hidden gem that gives you a "private plane" experience for around $50+. It looks like the government has been subsidizing some small airline charters to fly into small airports under the Essential Air Service program . I got the list from that site and then looked them up...Google Flights had their airlines listed sporadically and the information was incorrect. So, I went to the airline's website (in my example, Air Choice One at and discovered that Google Flights was not reliable in listing the availability and times for Air Choice One. I snagged a ticket for only $70 to get from STL to Mason City, IA, where I would rent a car and drive to Rochester for another hour for another $70 (dang 1 way drop fee) . Still pretty cheap considering I get to avoid the cattle carrier airlines (AA, SW, etc) and get to my destination faster.

Air Choice One only has a handful of stops around the MidWest (Chicago, Iowa, Michigan, TN, AR) but the flights can be mostly empty. Many online reviews mention that people flew alone in a luxurious cabin with ample legroom and more (check out the Cessna Grand Caravan EX) . If you don't mind a prop plane (better scenery since you're at lower altitude) , give it a whirl!

So this got me asking....anyone know of any other smaller airlines that make short stops around the country?
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Last edited by doss1; Sep 2, 17 at 3:14 pm
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Old Sep 2, 17, 4:16 pm
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Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: IAD/DCA
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great details re airline and its routes, thanks for posting!

would be good to have thread tracking this & similar services
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