Travel That Passes the Stress Test. Here’s How…

What comes to mind when you think of travel? Hopefully, easy and convenient are at the top of your list. However, for most of us, stress is also associated with traveling. At SHD, we take the stress out of travel by offering free parking, free Wifi, TSA PreCheck on select flights, and of course, reliable United jet service powered by SkyWest! To help you reduce your travel stress even more, we’ve compiled a list of our best Stress-Free Travel Hacks.

1.  Everything You Could Want in a Travel App!

Ever wish you had a personal assistant to keep you informed, organized, and stress-free when you travel? Look no further than the United Airlines app!

Use the United app to reduce travel stress.This comprehensive app features:

  • Flight booking
  • Reservation changes
  • Seat maps
  • Mobile check-in and boarding passes – you can also access your boarding pass for 19 different partner airlines!
  • Passport and visa scanning
  • MileagePlus account access
  • Flight status and reminders
  • Baggage Tracking
  • Interactive airport maps
  • FlightView with real-time maps of flight paths and weather
  • Travel Wallet for keeping all your travel information in one place

Through the United Airlines app, you can also:

  • Purchase one day United Club passes
  • Buy United Travel Options
  • Watch popular movies & TV shows from your device on selected flights
    And more!

Simply click here to download the app and let United Airlines do the rest!

2. Travel Like a Local
Make the most of your tip while reducing stress with technology that solves common travel challenges and will have you feeling like a local in no time!

 Detour app
Whether you’re on vacation or have time to spare during a business trip, the Detour app puts on-demand tours in your pocket. Better yet, the tours are narrated by locals to give you the inside scoop. Skip the stress of finding last-minute activities and let Detour do the work for you!Google Translate app
Don’t have time to brush up on your language skills before traveling the friendly skies? No problem! Google Translate helps you over the language barrier with 103 languages, connection even without data access, and text translation using your phone’s camera.

XE Currency app

Guessing at exchange rates or calculating conversions can make travel hectic. XE Currency removes the guesswork with live exchange rate information, quick conversions, and value change alerts.

3. Grab and Go Packing

If you’re like most people, packing is a chore you’d rather not tackle. Lucky for you, we’ve compiled some helpful tips, so you can pack like a pro.

The Pain of Packing Learn to pack without stress for your next trip.
Yes, there’s an app for packing (at least the list part)! PackPoint creates a custom packing list for you that accounts for your destination, the weather, and what you plan to do during your trip. You can also add custom items to the list as you go along. Let the stress of second-guessing your packing list melt away with PackPoint.

Don’t leave home without them! 
Pre-pack for your next trip by keeping the standard items at the ready. Toiletries are a great place to start. Having a toiletry kit stocked with TSA approved containers helps avoid the last-minute packing rush. Refill the items when you get home and never worry about having what you need for your trip!
Stay connected
Don’t risk the stress of a dead cell phone, tablet, or laptop. Fully charge all your devices before leaving home. Consider bringing along TSA approved battery packs for backup. People tend to use more battery life when they travel, so prepare ahead of time for the additional battery drain!

Embrace the adventure and fun of travel with these stress-reducing travel hacks! Remember, SHD is always here to answer any travel questions you may have. Ready for your best trip ever? Click here to book your next vacation, business trip, or adventure!

You Asked – We Answered! FAQ’s of SHD Travelers

Since our new United jet service powered by SkyWest launched in April, we’ve seen more travelers than ever coming through our terminal. Like the savvy travelers you are, you’ve asked some great questions about the service, the process, and what you should expect. So, we’ve put together a Q&A of the top questions we’ve received. Do you have a question that’s not listed in this email? Contact us anytime, and we’ll be glad to help! In the meantime, take a look at these SHD FAQ’s about enhancing your travel experience.

What’s the best way to book a flight to/from Shenandoah Valley Airport?
The easiest way to book a flight is on United.com using our airport code – SHD. Be leery of third-party travel sites promising the cheapest fares. We have found these sites have the same fares (or higher – yikes!) than booking with the airline directly, and sometimes details can be lost in translation between the website and airline causing headaches down the road. If you aren’t comfortable booking flights on your own, there are several great travel agencies in our area that can help, or you can call one of our Fare Specialists for assistance.

How early do I need to arrive at SHD? What’s the latest I can board the flight?
United’s suggested arrival and check-in time at SHD is one hour prior to departure. This ensures that you have plenty of time to deal with any unexpected issues and still board your flight on time. System-wide United’s policy is to cut off checked luggage 45 minutes prior to departure time. Passengers without checked luggage must be checked in for the flight a minimum of 30 minutes prior to departure. The self-service kiosk, United mobile app, and customer service computers will not allow you to check-in for a flight inside the 30-minute window.

Security lines at SHD are still much shorter and faster than a larger airport but with an increase of passenger traffic comes the need to plan accordingly for the screening process. Per United guidelines, travelers must be through the TSA process and on board the aircraft 15 minutes prior to departure.

More details on United’s policies can be found here.

What are United’s baggage policies and/or fees at SHD?
Baggage policies and fees vary with the type of ticket purchased, your destination (domestic or international) and your status in the United Mileage Plus program. For the most up to date information, it’s best to visit United’s Baggage Information page. You can also calculate fees for your specific trip using United’s Baggage Calculator tool.

Will United match my frequent flyer status on another airline?
YES! We know Valley travelers may be members of other airlines’ frequent flyer programs and those perks are well-earned. That’s why we are so excited about United’s MileagePlus Premier Status Match Challenge where you can receive comparable status! Submitting your request is an easy online process and you could be enjoying United perks in as little as 7 days! Click here to get started.

I haven’t flown for a while; can you remind me of TSA guidelines? TSA luggage guidelines for travelers.
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) makes it really easy to find out what items can be packed in your carry-on bag and checked luggage, and what items should be left at home. A simple rule to remember for liquids in carry-on luggage is the 3-1-1 rule.

TSA.gov also has a great search feature where you can put in just about anything to see if it can be packed. Would you rather just snap a picture while you are packing and get a quick answer? You can do that too by sending a photo to @AskTSA on Facebook Messenger or Twitter.

Whether you’re a frequent SHD traveler or planning to try us for the first time, use these helpful tips to make the most of your travel experience!

SHD Connects JMU to the World

This month SHD is proud to be part of the cover story for Madison magazine’s “Aiming Higher” edition – a publication of James Madison University (JMU).

For those of us that call the Shenandoah Valley home, JMU is one of the cornerstones of our community. However, JMU’s reach extends beyond the Valley towards a vision of being both a nationally and internationally engaged university. In fact, President Jonathan Alger was recently appointed to the American Council on Education and joined leaders from the U.S., Canada, and Europe to discuss important issues facing higher education.

“As JMU now has a seat at such lofty international convenings, and as we seek to pursue our vision to be a national and international model of the engaged university that is engaged with ideas and the world, I was struck by the importance of having improved air access to our own campus now that United Airlines partnered with SkyWest is flying in and out of Shenandoah Valley Regional Airport,” explains President Alger.

To read President Alger’s letter (page 7) and the full Aiming Higher article (starting on page 18) in Madison magazine, click here.

JMU Duke Dog and SHD staff standing in front of a United jet.For students, staff, faculty, and visitors to JMU, easy and reliable travel access has been a barrier to the engaged university mission. Today, we’re proud to say this is no longer the case. United’s jet service powered by SkyWest at SHD is opening national and international gateways for JMU travelers like never before.

“In today’s world, with all the moving parts and busy agendas and wanting to maximize your time, having a local airport that’s 20 minutes away from campus is terrific. The drive here is beautiful. It’s a lot less hassle going through the gates and checking your baggage. There are a lot of advantages that you’re just not going to get at a larger airport,” says Melissa Lubin, dean of Outreach and Engagement at JMU.

Take a look at the Aiming High video featuring JMU staff explaining how SHD is helping them achieve the goal of an engaged university. 

Support from the community is vital for SHD to sustain and expand our services. A special thank you to everyone with JMU that has made SHD their go-to airport – Go Dukes!

How is Our New United Jet Service Doing?

It’s been a little over four months since we started our new United jet service powered by SkyWest, and we want to say a big thank you to everyone that has made the choice to fly local from SHD! Because of you, our new service is off to a very successful start!

We love the fact that a record number of valley travelers are now enjoying reliable, affordable, and convenient flights to hundreds of global destinations – nearly 2,900 of you in July!
Chicago skyline at night - a destination within reach with our United jet service.
Speaking of record numbers of passengers at SHD, we are so excited to announce our Chicago O’Hare (ORD) flights will become non-stop starting October 4th!

As you may recall, our flights to/from Chicago have been making a short stop in Lewisburg, WV to pick up additional passengers since service began. The two markets were paired together with the goal to build passenger traffic in both communities to the new Chicago hub and due to our impressive growth, these flights will no longer have room to pick up additional travelers!

That means your total travel time to Chicago is shortened to just 2 hours and you will have access to even more connecting opportunities!

Don’t forget all the other perks of choosing SHD such as FREE parking, TSA Precheck on select flights, and  United’s MileagePlus status match program!

This is just the beginning of the travel options you’ll find at SHD with the continued support of our community! The more passengers that use our current service, the more additional service we will be able to attract in the future.

Help us continue to spread the word within your network and encourage others to join you in making SHD the go-to choice for Shenandoah Valley travelers.

Don’t Miss Out on These SHD Travel Perks!

We love providing travel perks for SHD travelers! Along with our free parking and Wi-Fi, reliable United jet service that can get you anywhere, and local customer service that can’t be beaten – there’s more! Check out two more exciting perks that will make traveling with SHD better than ever before – United Mileage Plusand TSA Precheck.

Get travel perks with United MileagePlusUnited MileagePlus is much more than a frequent flyer program. Not only do you earn miles when you fly, but you also earn miles when you make everyday purchases at participating stores like Lowe’s or Barnes and Noble. In fact, you can earn up to 4 miles for every $1.00 you spend and keep track of the purchases in a convenient app. As a United MileagePlus member, use your miles towards flights, rental cars, hotels, and exclusive experiences offered only to United Mileage Plus members!

The more you fly the friendly skies, the more rewards you’ll earn through the United MileagePlus Premier miles and status match program. As a United MileagePlus Premier member, you’ll get bonus award miles, upgrades, priority travel services, fee waivers, and more!

Already a member of another airline’s frequent flyer program? No problem! Check out United’s MileagePlus Premier Status Match Program to find out how you can easily get comparable status. Not only will United match your miles and status from another airline, but you’ll keep the rewards you’ve already earned through your other program. What do you have to lose?
Get travel perks with TSA Precheck
In addition to the United MileagePlus program, TSA Precheck is now available at SHD on select flights! Keep your shoes on, your laptop in your bag, liquids packed away, and more. With average wait times of less than 5 minutes, TSA Precheck saves you time and stress. Click here to apply today! (Remember, even with TSA Precheck, you’ll need to arrive one hour before your flight.)

At SHD the skies are friendly than ever! Click here to book your next trip and experience the SHD difference.

Are you in a travel rut?

Have you ever gotten stuck in a travel routine just because it’s the way you’ve always done something? It’s easy to do! So, one of the exciting things about working at SHD is providing “lightbulb moments” for travelers and getting them out of their travel rut!

With our new flights to two major hubs, Washington Dulles and Chicago O’Hare, we’re changing the way you connect with the world! Take a look at the difference flying from SHD can make in your travel experience.

See which person has a better travel experience.

SHD brings you the reliability of United powered by SkyWest for your local connection to the world.

With fares starting at just $80 roundtrip to Washington Dulles and $210 roundtrip to Chicago O’Hare, plus competitive pricing to hundreds of global destinations, why not give SHD a try? Click here to book now!

Women Can Fly 2018

Can you guess how many pilots are women? It turns out that only 6% of all pilots are women, making females severely underrepresented in aviation. To encourage women and girls to consider careers in aviation, SHD hosted our 3rd annual Women Can Fly event this past Saturday in partnership with the Virginia Department of Aviation and The Ninety-Nines, an international organization of women pilots. Guests enjoy learning about aviation at SHD during the Women Can Fly event.

Women and girls from across Virginia came out to meet with women aviators and instructors, learn about various aircraft, and get information about flight training, courses, and career options. While pilots are often the face of aviation, there are many other lucrative career options such as aviation mechanics which boasts a nearly 100% placement rate upon completion of education and training.

The highlight of the event was free flights for attendees flown by volunteer pilots. Guests participated in a pre-flight briefing to learn about the science of flight and safety precautions before soaring into the friendly skies. For many participants, this was their first time flying. Women Can Fly aims to spark interest and excitement for aviation and show women and girls a path to success in the field. From the excitement and smiles that abounded on Saturday, I think we met that goal!

Guest receive certificates to commemorate their first flight.Five other airports in Virginia also hosted Women Can Fly events this summer. The Women Can Fly initiative takes a state-by-state approach to improving the low rates of women in aviation. More women aviators could also help reduce the nationwide pilot shortage. If you or someone you know, is interested in learning more about aviation here are some helpful resources:

Blue Ridge Aviation – Flight instruction at SHD.

Blue Ridge Community College – Courses in aviation maintenance and commercial pilot programs.

Virginia Department of Aviation – The state transportation agency for aviation.

The Ninety-Nines – Networking, mentoring, scholarships, and opportunities for women and girls interested in aviation.

Association for Women in Aviation Maintenance (AWAM) – Dedicated to supporting the advancement of women in aviation maintenance.

Thank you to everyone who participated in the 2018 Women Can Fly event and stay tuned for details about next year’s event!

Are you flying with the best?

Being in the airline industry, I know two major concerns of travelers are time and expense. You want fast service at a good price – totally understandable! There’s also a third factor to consider when flying though, and that’s the airline carrier. Why is this important? Because not all airlines are created equal. The airline you choose impacts everything from reliability to experience – and yes, time and expense!

Switching to United Airlines powered by SkyWest is a HUGE opportunity for you, SHD, and our community. Why? Let’s break it down.

Why Who You Fly with Matters
United Airlines Jet Flying

#1 Reliability Rankings
Nothing is more frustrating than carefully planning your trip only to be delayed at the airport. Sometimes delays are unavoidable like in the case of inclement weather. However, airlines are rated on their ability to execute on-time flights. The U.S. Department of Transportation and the Bureau of Transportation Statistics keep a close watch on an airlines ability to adhere to flight schedules. In the most recent report, United Airlines ranked #1 for on-time performance.

#2 The SkyWest Difference
When a major airline like United provides flights at regional airports, they often partner with a regional airline operator. These regional airline operators vary in size, capacity, and quality. SkyWest is the largest regional carrier in North America serving over 31 million passengers annually with 2,000 flights per day. Flying United powered by SkyWest gives Shenandoah Valley travelers access to award-winning jet service from a carrier with a proven record of reliability.

#3 The Price is Nice
Because of the seamless integration between United and SkyWest, you get the advantage of major airline connectivity and regional operation savings. Fares from SHD start at just $105 each way to Chicago O’Hare and $45 each way to Washington Dulles. Plus, you will find through-fare pricing to hundreds of destinations globally are very competitive. Consider the added expense of travel costs and drive time to fly out of other airports and SHD fares make even more sense! Check out our Trust Cost Calculator to discover how fares from SHD compares with other airports!

#4 Timing is Everything
SHD’s daily flights with United to two major hubs (O’Hare and Washington Dulles) are timed to provide maximum connection opportunities to both business and leisure travelers. You can go from local to global with ease!
It’s an exciting new day in air service for the Shenandoah Valley with United powered by SkyWest! Ready for blue skies ahead? Book your flight with the airline you can trust!

Avoid These Three Hidden Travel Costs

I must admit, working at an airport is never boring! There’s something awe inspiring about the power of planes and the connectivity that travel brings to our lives. It never gets old!

Being behind the scenes, I see the airport experience from start to finish. So, I’m always amazed at some of the myths we embrace as travelers.

Working for a regional airport, one of the biggest myths we encounter is that departing from a major airport is less expensive. What I know from experience, is that it can actually be quite the opposite!

So, I’ve compiled a list of hidden costs to consider when booking your next flight.

Our new jet service from United powered by SkyWest could be the travel game changer you need!

The Hidden Costs of Travel
Couple Waiting in Terminal on Flight

If you’re like most travelers, being cost conscious and sticking to a travel budget is important. While most people spend time searching for good flight deals, there are other hidden travel costs that can upset your wallet if you’re not careful.

Travel Trap #1 – Choosing the Wrong Departure Point

Flying from that out of town airport could cost you big time when you factor in transportation to get there. Gas, car service fees, rental cars, and taxi fare adds up quickly when you consider a round trip drive from the Valley to a major airport several hours away.

For instance, our True Cost Calculator shows that a person driving round trip from Harrisonburg, VA to an airport two hours away spends $116.25 MORE on mileage than driving to SHD for a direct flight. Round trip mileage to SHD from Harrisonburg or Staunton averages only $18.71.

Rest assured that SHD is saving you money even while you’re away with FREE parking. A trip including 4-days of parking will cost you between $48 and $68 at other airports. Why waste that kind of money to “rent” a pavement square while you are gone?

Travel Trap #2 – No Flexibility for When You Travel

Lack of Flexibilty in TravelDid you know airline fares can vary greatly based on what days you choose to travel? It’s true! Airline pricing is very complicated but one thing we know for sure is fares can sometimes be drastically different when traveling one day vs. another. United.com has a great tool to use if your travel dates are flexible, allowing you to search for your initial travel dates +/- 3 days. We know sometimes travel plans aren’t flexible, but when they are, using a tool like this can save you significant green!

Travel Trap #3 – The One Thing You Can’t Get Back

You can almost hear the wasted minutes ticking away as you sit in traffic, stand in long security lines, and fight the crowds trying to get to your gate. Starting and ending your trip at SHD enables you to skip all of that and seamlessly catch your connection at the hub, giving you back precious time. While other travelers are still stuck at the airport or traveling back home, you can reap the rewards of a streamlined, efficient travel experience.

Want to know what your out-of-town airport is costing you in terms of time? Check out our True Cost Calculator!

How will you spend your extra time and money when you travel with SHD?

Ready to save time, money, and travel headaches? Let SHD be your smart travel choice!