A plane flies over Yampa Valley Regional Airport on Thursday. Delta Air Lines and United Airlines are offering a range of flights for less than $300 round trip.

Photo by Matt Stensland

A plane flies over Yampa Valley Regional Airport on Thursday. Delta Air Lines and United Airlines are offering a range of flights for less than $300 round trip.

Steamboat airfare deals pop up

Range of summer prices are less than $300; Ski Corp. planning winter air promotions

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A plane takes off from Yampa Valley Regional Airport on Thursday. Delta Air Lines and United Airlines are offering a range of flights for less than $300 round trip.

YVRA airfares

Round-trip fares for top 10 ski season markets

Arriving at YVRA on Dec. 28, 2008, and leaving Jan. 3, 2009

Atlanta: $880

Chicago: $869

Dallas/Fort Worth: $1,044

Fort Lauderdale, Fla.: $1,313.99

Houston: $791.49

Minneapolis: $809.01

Newark, N.J.: $1,097.99

New York: $1,097.99

Tampa, Fla.: $992

Philadelphia: $1,185

Source: Steamboat Central Reservations

A sample of round-trip flights, as of Thursday

- $233 to Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (Aug. 20 to 26)

- $248 to Los Angeles (Aug. 23 to 31)

- $248 to San Diego (Aug. 8 to 11)

- $256 to Las Vegas (Aug. 25 to 29)

- $257 to San Francisco (July 31 to Aug. 4)

- $257 to Portland, Ore. (Aug. 8 to 11)

- $261 to Chicago (Aug. 16 to 22)

- $265 to Oklahoma City (Aug. 25 to 29)

- $265 to Austin, Texas (Aug. 7 to 10)

- $275 to Dallas/Fort Worth (Aug. 16 to 23)

Source: Kayak.com

— Despite months of abysmal airline news, travelers leaving from Yampa Valley Regional Airport in Hayden might be able to rustle up some summer bargains.

Delta Air Lines and United Airlines are offering a range of flights for less than $300 round trip. High fuel costs have led to concerns about fare increases, and airlines have been laying off employees to cut expenses.

Still, travelers can track down good deals, particularly if their dates are flexible. Some round-trip tickets to Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas and other destinations were in the mid-$200s Thursday. Andy Wirth, chief marketing officer for Intrawest, said fares for the ski season could be a different story.

"They're enjoying high load factors," he said of airlines. "That's because summer always has been and likely always will be the highest load time."

Only United and Delta flights are operating out of YVRA now.

"With specific routes in specific times of the year or specific flights, you want to stimulate traffic, so you make adjustments," Delta spokesman Anthony Black said. "Also, you make adjustments to price flights to compete with others in the market."

Black said airlines look at demand and then price flights to make a profit and remain competitive. Airlines pass along fuel costs to passengers and will continue to do so, he said.

High gasoline prices also might be discouraging travelers from driving to larger airports to catch flights, he said.

"I think passengers are considering now what are the options - if I want to drive to another airport," Black said. "Fuel is a dollar and a quarter more (a gallon) than last year. : You're paying more to drive to a larger airport, and it's often a wash."

Deals also are available for those coming into the Yampa Valley this summer. On its Web site, Steamboat Central

Reservations lists a set of Delta Air Lines summer specials, ranging from $199 for Tucson and Salt Lake City to $259 for Dallas/Fort Worth. Those prices don't include extra fees and charges.

But excitement about lower fares might be slightly muted by baggage fees, which several airlines have increased throughout the past few months.

Continental, Delta, Northwest, United and US Airways are charging $25 for each passenger's second checked bag. American Airlines is charging $15 for the first and $25 for the second checked bag for domestic economy class passengers.

Fighting the fees

Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp., of which Intrawest is the parent company, is not simply sitting on its hands, Wirth said.

The company influences fare prices, mostly because of the guaranteed revenue program. Through that, a Local Marketing District, businesses and Ski Corp. pay the airlines the difference if their revenue doesn't reach a set amount during ski season. As long as officials have the ear of pricing officials at the airlines, the Steamboat Ski Area is on track, Wirth said.

The Ski Area also is planning some promotions for the ski season. It is working on a program with American Express to pay the baggage charges for travelers coming to YVRA.

"You're going to see a program where kids fly free and your bags do, too," Wirth said. The promotion, which is set to be advertised in Skiing Magazine in September, will be offered exclusively for Steamboat, he said.

"Our mechanism is basically to be giving people a card precharged with that amount of money to take care of their bags at check-in," Wirth said. "American Express has given us a very smooth mechanism for this."

Analysts will watch the deal carefully for 45 to 60 days. If it seems to be attracting people, the baggage promotion could expand to other Intrawest resorts, Wirth said.

Ski Corp. is going to work harder than ever to promote Steamboat this ski season, he said, adding that the weak economy and high travel costs will test the marketing teams.

The fight already has started.

"The game's won or lost in spring or summer," Wirth said. "It's game time for Steamboat. We're very aggressively working at every facet of this that we can. : Even though it's 85 degrees outside, we're very much in the heat of battle for the dead of winter."

Comments

BoatMaster 6 years, 5 months ago

You have got to be kidding. There are NO deals to or from Steamboat.

I fly almost every week. The arlines stick to to Steamboat with the short flight to Denver or Salt lake so you have no other than to continue with Delta or United to your destination.

For Example. If you want to take Southwest Airlines to Florida you can go from Denver To Tampa for $149.00 (on the Southwest website.) The Trip from Hayden to Denver is $480.00 (United Air found on Orbitz.com today)

$480.00 to go from Hayden to Denver !!! What a ripoff. They know you have no other choice so they a sticking it to us here!!

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grannyrett 6 years, 5 months ago

Sure you have a choice. You can drive to Denver.

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Jason Miller 6 years, 5 months ago

Just take the Alpine Taxi. It has been awhile since i took it. It will cost about 180.oo Dollars round trip. But it is better then 480 and if i remember correctly they have a locals discount.

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BoatMaster 6 years, 5 months ago

Both the drive to Denver and Alpine are options, but if you travel often thats a lot of hours tied up on the freeway and then you still have a long flight ahead of you.

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Chris Elliott 6 years, 5 months ago

Although the dates were limited to the month of August, I was able to book airfare to the midwest for 300.00, The lowest I could find out of Denver was 318. It pays to do the flight watcher on travelocity.

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another_local 6 years, 5 months ago

Changing airlines on an itinerary will cost you a lot of money no matter where you start. That is not a Steamboat/Hayden issue. I have flown out of Steamboat for years. Airfares are generally not bad compared to the expense and time used driving to Denver for cheaper fares. Most of the time I get round trips for $300 - $400 out of Hayden to the West Coast and a little more to the East.

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