By Chris Gray
Ingham County Chronicle staff writer
The weather in mid-Michigan has been cold and snowy this season, leaving area residents yearning for warm weather. For those who cannot wait for Mother Nature to usher in the warmth of spring, however, there is always the opportunity to catch a flight and escape to a warmer climate – with the gateway right in our backyard: Capital Region International Airport.
Located less than five miles from downtown Lansing in Dewitt, Capital Region International Airport allows nearby residents to catch flights aboard major airlines just miles from their homes. Compare that with the 90-mile drive it takes to get to Detroit Metropolitan Airport and fliers could be looking at cost and time savings.
According to the Federal Aviation Administration, Capital Region International Airport is a Class C airport, meaning it is small, but still capable of handling large commercial airplanes. Over the decades, multiple carriers have added flights out of Lansing, with the latest addition coming from Delta Airlines. Beginning Feb. 15, the airline will fly non-stop service to and from Atlanta on Saturdays.
“This new Saturday service will continue to expand growing leisure and destination travel options from Lansing,” said Bob Selig, president and CEO of the Capital Region Airport Authority, in a press release.
“I’ve never really considered looking for flights out of Lansing,” Nick Campbell, a resident of Okemos, said.
The 29-year-old salesman grew up in Livonia. Whenever he searches for a flight, he said, he automatically looks for departures out of the largest airport in the state, Detroit Metropolitan Airport in Romulus.
“Detroit Metro is always my go-to because it’s where I’ve gone my entire life,” Campbell said. “I thought the Lansing Airport was more of cargo and private planes.”
The airport offers non-stop, year-round flights to six domestic destinations – including Detroit, Chicago and Washington, D.C. In 2008, the airport became a U.S. port of entry, making it an international airport and one of seven foreign trade zones in Michigan. As a result, the airport offers a duty-free store and seasonal, non-stop flights to Mexico and the Dominican Republic.
Jasmine Milon, 24, of Annandale, Va., flew into Lansing Capital Regional Airport to visit family. Milon, originally from Michigan, said she flew from Reagan National Airport in Washington, D.C., to Lansing because she does not like how busy Detroit Metro Airport can be, even though it cost her more to fly in to Lansing.
“I am closer to where I need to go and I am out the door right after I land,” Milon said. “I am not a big fan of the craziness flying usually involves, so this place is right up my alley.”
Customers looking for flights out of Capital Region International Airport can book tickets through the websites of airline carriers or the airport. Spring may be several weeks away but the warmth of family, friends or a southern destination is right around the corner: at the intersection of Grand River Avenue and Capital City Boulevard.