Post Number: 19
Posted From: 184.108.40.206
|Posted on Monday, March 01, 2010 - 12:20 am: |
This was an impulsive SpaceA trip. Our original plan was to do a ski trip this winter, but el Nino (warmer & wetter winter) messed that up (recall the rain delays for the Olympic downhill ski events). With the week off from school, we then decided to drive to Florida and pick up a piece of furniture gifted to my spouse - not to exciting. When this flight to S. Cal came up along our route to FL, we checked the weather (which was forecast to be sunny & warm for the week - we were so ready to get out of this New England winter) and return airfare, which can go as low as $108 out of one of the four LA airports and decided to go for it. Our son loves flying SpaceA and my spouse likes the logistics involved. If the weather would have remained nice we probably would have driven to San Diego and caught one of the east-coast bound SpaceA flights (but this didn't amount to a very large savings over the commercial airfare). Round trip airfare would have been about $350 plus airport parking. I was surprised at how much airfare is into Las Vegas (as well as car rentals).
We were all dreading flying commercial back east but ended up being pleasantly surprised. The Delta jet was new, the passengers were polite (full plane) and so were the cabin crew. Delta provided free drinks and snacks (on their larger planes they have free WiFi). The Orange County airport is tiny and easy to get through.
Post Number: 5854
Posted From: 220.127.116.11
|Posted on Sunday, February 28, 2010 - 09:38 pm: |
Hi Katie, great report with a lot of good information. One question: did you price a round-trip Philly/Orange Cty commercial before you left?
Post Number: 18
Posted From: 18.104.22.168
|Posted on Sunday, February 28, 2010 - 09:33 pm: |
Connecticut to S. California, Feb., 2010
3.5 hour drive early Saturday morning from Groton, CT to McGuire AFB, NJ for a 0940 showtime to March ARB, Riverside, CA. Got turned around in the spyder web of county roads that lead to Dix/McGuire.
Lots of snow on the base from the big storm that hit the mid-Atlantic states a few days earlier. The empty C17 took all nine passengers for the five hour flight to March. We did fly over the Grand Canyon and took turns looking out a small "port hole" window.
Arrived at 1400 and a shuttle van drove all of us the 1 mile to lodging at the March Inn. I was told they only provide this shuttle service if they have time. The Inn is located NW of the PAX down Graeber St. to Meyer Dr. If you can make it to the historic water tower with the rotating beacon on top, you'll see the Inn. Enterprise car rental will pick you up and has a phone with a direct line to their local office in the Inn lobby - but this being Saturday, all the local car rental offices had closed an hour earlier and would not open until Monday morning. The local Hertz will pick up within a 15 minute radius of their office, which should be right at the main gate. The main gate is about a mile NW of the PAX, straight down Graeber St. It is another 150 yards from the gate to Cactus Ave., the first cross street in Riverside (really, Moreno Valley). A gas station/convenience store and Richie's Famous Burgers (good breakfast and Greek & Mexican dinners) are located there at the intersection of Elsworth St. & Cactus Ave.
Since this was Presidents Day weekend, it was not a reserve weekend so we had no trouble getting a room at the Inn. The base is 14 miles SE of downtown Riverside. Inland Empire Cab (888-333-taxi) will get you there for $30. The bus is $1.50 (riversidetransit.com) but you would have to walk a ways to catch it and it doesn't appear to run on Sunday.
The nearest open car rental office was at the Ontario airport, 27 miles NW of March. This is an $80 cab ride (or $70 flat rate if it is a slow day). The bus would take four hours to get you to the Ontario airport.
I called the SuperShuttle (800-258-3826) and they picked me up at the March Inn and took me to the Ontario airport Hertz for $41. Another passenger paid the driver $5 for a ride to the downtown Greyhound bus station where he bought a $25 ticket to San Diego. Prime Time Shuttle (800-red-vans) will take you to the airport for $35 but their service is more limited than the other shuttle.
A weekly rental at the airport was $222 with AAA discount. At the local Riverside Hertz it would have been $162 and would not have required the shuttle fare. The local Hertz also allows the car to be dropped off at the Ontario airport for no charge.
We now had a car and a place to stay!
The handsome March Inn is located in the historic portion of March ARB. The buildings all have the mission style architecture. There is a combined club and a cafe across the street, but they are only open M-F and reserve weekends. Downtown Riverside also has many nice mission style buildings.
We spent a couple of nights at the March Inn and then drove up to Las Vegas. We got a room at the Orleans for $36 (AAA discount)- 15th floor overlooking the entire strip - very nice. The Orleans has a good, cheap buffet that I thought was better than the the overpriced Bellagio buffet. Vegas was crowded with the Chinese New Year and a Veterinary conference.
After a couple of nights we headed up to Bryce Canyon for a couple of nights.
I started looking for a flight back to the east coast. North Island NAS (San Diego) had a flight to Willow Grove NAS (Philadelphia) and I suppose Miramar MCAS (San Diego) had the Sunday medvac flight to Andrews (DC) but when I added up the cost of a one-way rental from LA to San Diego, the additional hotel nights and taxis it was only going to cost $80 more per person to fly commercial back east at $150 per ticket. Also, it was going to start raining in S. Cal again so I felt it was best to get home.
Kayak.com is a great site to find cheap commercial air tickets and hotels but when looking for rental cars or hotels always check the company's own website as it may be cheaper there.
I found the North Island flight on the Willow Grove recording. I never saw it show up on the North Island website and couldn't get through to the Pax rep. The Willow Grove Pax rep told me their C9 would RON North Island Saturday and return Sunday.
Flew out of Orange County to Philadelphia, rented a car for $22 weekend day ($75 weekday), drove the hour to McGuire (got turned around again on those county roads), picked up my car, returned the rental and drove home.
Fun SpaceA trip and we left New Jersey knowing that there was not much chance of catching a return flight back east out of March ARB and that we would would probably wind up flying commercial return.