It’s been awhile since Mason City, Iowa has had air service. A couple years ago it was convenient to be able to take a quick ride to Minneapolis to make a connecting flight to other destinations. Delta offered connections and that was wonderful for the loyal Delta customers but as time passed the service was discontinued. Other smaller airlines stepped in and tried to provide service but it was always a bit risky to fly out of Mason City because the service, in my experience, was a bit unreliable.
Smaller planes = inability to fly in some kinds of weather. Mason City has its share of “some kinds of weather” and after several flights that were less than wonderful on planes that were a bit rickety and with pilots who looked to be 12 years of age I quit taking those flights. The convenience of free parking and close proximity were not balanced out by the canceled flights and quality of aircraft that came in to service the airport.
I was thrilled recently when it was announced that Air Choice One was going to begin service out of Mason City (MCW) to Chicago with several flights daily. Chicago O’Hare is probably my least favorite airport but so many connections are made there that it makes sense that it would be the destination. So I thought I would give it a go since I needed a one way trip to Dallas Fort Worth.
I was pleasantly surprised from the start to the finish of the experience. Check in at Mason City Municipal Airport is always so easy—TSA agents are polite and thorough, speedy and efficient as there is just not a lot of traffic that comes through the airport. I was hoping for a private flight that day but “Brad” was the other passenger on our flight so I almost had a private flight.
Rudy was our pilot and assisted by a lovely young woman whose name I did not catch. He briefed us on the safety features of the plane after we seated ourselves in the 9 passenger seat plane and as we prepared to take off I was happy to be able to relax and let Rudy do the
The cloud cover got a bit thick and it was a bit bumpy for a few minutes but no worries—Rudy had it all under control and as I watched him fly I was impressed with his attention to looking all around the aircraft as it was flying to insure that all was well. Finally—about 2 hours later we came out of the cloud cover and I spied Chicago.
Would I do this again? Definitely. And I will. Some things to consider are that you do have to walk to and from the plane (in bad weather it might be not as enjoyable as a covered jet bridge), carry on luggage has to be stowed under the plane as there are no overhead bins and you would have to check any luggage for your next flight if you have anything oversized . None of those are deterrents for me at all but if you need any assistance in boarding it might be more difficult as you do have to climb a set of small stairs to access the plane.
One happy customer and hopeful that they will be able to continue to provide reliable and quality service to anyone who wants to fly the friendly skies. Thanks, Air Choice One, for making my first experience with you an enjoyable one. I hope to fly with you often.
Oh and by the way, in case you wondered why I just wanted a one way flight—the picture below shows you why. Who doesn’t fly all the way to Texas to get a new car? I’m telling you—my life is a bit complicated. Fun but complicated.