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Monday, September 25th 2017

"I'm a travel junkie who's hooked on deals from YQT." - Chris Myden



2013
18
January
The Official Guide For Canadians Flying Out Of U.S. Airports (from Thunder Bay & area)


This guide will attempt to organize everything someone living in the Thunder Bay area might want to know about flying out of U.S. airports.

If you see anything in this guide that looks incorrect, out of date, or could just simply be improved with better info, please don't hesitate to contact me and I'll fix / update it.

Flying out of Duluth, Minnesota (DLH)

How long of a drive is it?

According to Google Maps, Duluth airport is about a 4 hour drive from Thunder Bay (310 km each way). map link

Don't forget to account for border-crossing times in each direction. You can find estimated wait times online.
estimated wait times at U.S. border
estimated wait times at Canadian border

Tips:

- If you travel to the States a lot you may wish to get a NEXUS card for $50 (US) for 5 years and eliminate the line ups at borders and airports. [Info on how to apply for NEXUS]

Are there good deals to be had?

There are 3 airlines that fly out of Duluth: Allegiant Air, Delta, and United.

strengths:

The most common reason someone from Thunder Bay might want to trek down to Duluth is to catch a flight on Allegiant Air, which can have very cheap fares to Florida (Orlando and Daytona Beach), Arizona (Phoenix) and Las Vegas.

weaknesses:

Internationally, it's possible to find cheaper flights out of Duluth but they're likely to involve complicated and lengthy routes. It's a smaller airport, and it's strengths are serving the U.S. destinations listed above. Also, when comparing costs, be aware that Allegiant charges extra for absolutely everything, including even carry-on luggage now.

How much would I have to save for it to be worth the drive?

This is a tricky question, because the answer is different for everyone, based on the variables involved. But costs you should consider factoring into your comparison (besides the roundtrip flight price) include:

- extra fuel costs (how fuel efficient is your vehicle?)
- baggage costs
- parking your vehicle at the airport
- cost of hotel if it requires an overnight stay
- how much your time is worth
- extra vehicle depreciation

I've created an Excel spreadsheet to help calculate what the true savings are when flying out of Duluth:
click here to download the spreadsheet in Excel format
or
try the U.S. Airports Savings Calculator via Google Docs

screenshot: (click to enlarge)

Go to the YQT vs DLH worksheet and enter in a few variables to calculate what your true savings would be. Using common averages, I've found that if the flight from Duluth is about $275/person less than the flight from Thunder Bay, the average person is only breaking even.

In my opinion, when the flight from Duluth is at least $375 less per person than the flight from Thunder Bay, it becomes worth the drive. This is based on my calculations using average factors, and 2 people in a vehicle. You can see the example in the spreadsheet that was used to draw this conclusion.

How much is parking?

Parking is currently $7.50/day or $45/week, according to the Duluth Airport website

Is there any public transportation from Thunder Bay to Duluth airport?

There are no good options unfortunately.

Links

Duluth Airport Website


Flying out of Minneapolis, Minnesota (MSP)

How long of a drive is it?

According to Google Maps, Seattle airport is about a 6 hour drive from Thunder Bay (559 km each way). map link

Don't forget to account for border-crossing times in each direction. You can find estimated wait times online.
estimated wait times at U.S. border
estimated wait times at Canadian border

Tips:

- If you travel to the States a lot you may wish to get a NEXUS card for $50 (US) for 5 years and eliminate the line ups at borders and airports. [Info on how to apply for NEXUS]

Are there good deals to be had?

Minneapolis is a fairly major U.S. airport, with practically every airline you can think of. There have been some truly amazing deals out of Minneapolis in the past, notably to international destinations.

strengths:

Being a relatively large U.S. airport, with so many airlines serving it, the chances of a great deal out of MSP are high. It's usually a question of whether the price differential is great enough to warrant the 6 hour drive each way.

weaknesses:

The 6 hour drive each way!

How much would I have to save for it to be worth the drive?

This is a tricky question, because the answer is different for everyone, based on the variables involved. But costs you should consider factoring into your comparison (besides the roundtrip flight price) include:

- extra fuel costs (how fuel efficient is your vehicle?)
- baggage costs
- parking your vehicle at the airport
- cost of hotel if it requires an overnight stay
- how much your time is worth
- extra vehicle depreciation

I've created an Excel spreadsheet to help calculate what the true savings are when flying out of Minneapolis:
click here to download the spreadsheet in Excel format
or
try the U.S. Airports Savings Calculator via Google Docs

screenshot: (click to enlarge)

If you've downloaded the Excel file, please note that you will need to switch to the YQT vs MSP worksheet at the bottom of Excel.

Go to the YQT vs MSP worksheet and enter in a few variables to calculate what your true savings would be. Using common averages, I've found that if the flight from Minneapolis is about $450/person less than the flight from Thunder Bay, the average person is only breaking even.

In my opinion, when the flight from Minneapolis is at least $550 less per person than the flight from Thunder Bay, it becomes worth the drive. This is based on my calculations using average factors, and 2 people in a vehicle. You can see the example in the spreadsheet that was used to draw this conclusion.

Realistically, it's likely only an amazing deal on a flight to a far away international destination that is going to be $550/person cheaper out of Minneapolis than out of Thunder Bay.

How much is parking?

Parking at the airport is currently around $14/day, according to the Minneapolis airport website.

There's also offsite parking for around $11/day or $66/week, such as at EZ Air Park.

There are also some hotels that offer Park Sleep Fly packages.

Is there any public transportation from Thunder Bay to Minneapolis airport?

There are no great options unfortunately.

Links

Minneapolis Airport Website

See Something Wrong?

If you see anything in this guide that looks incorrect, out of date, or could just simply be improved with better info, please don't hesitate to contact me and I'll fix / update it.









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