Skybus: Montana Via Seattle, Washington

A few days ago, I was kvetching and in a quandary about how exactly we would go to Montana. (see post) After checking with every cheap airline ticket site I could think of to see if maybe, just maybe, prices might have dropped since the last time I looked, I did break down and buy four SkyBus tickets. What made me hit the pay button had to do with the calendar that highlights each month with a ticket price listed for a one-way flight each day. Neil mentioned SkyBus price ranges in one of his posts as well. Since we want to be in Philipsburg, Montana on July 28th for the Flint Creek Valley Days parade, the latest we can fly to Seattle is the 26th. That ticket was $150 per person. A ticket on the 25th cost $175, and the 24th was $280.. The tickets over the weekend were even more. My fear was the $150 would jump to $175 if I waited one more day to think about it and we’d be again wondering if we should suck it up and drive.

So, I hit the pay button after deciding that– no, we would not pay the extra $10 each for priority boarding on the trip back and we would forgo the extra travel insurance until I figure out if we actually need it. (That would add $65 to the cost of the total) We’ll still need to pay for four suitcases, maybe five at the airport. This will be $5 a piece. (The 5th suitcase is for bedding since we stay in a teepee in downtown Philipsburg, but that’s another story.)

Once I hit pay, I found out that it’s recommended that we get to the airport two hours early. Because the flight leaves at 7 in the morning, that means 5 o’clock. WHAT!!!! Without assigned seats we kind of need to get there early. There isn’t any priority boarding for people with small kids unless you pay for it, and we didn’t pay for it since the flight from Columbus to Seattle didn’t have any more priority boarding available. There are limited priority passes. Of course, maybe I could just put my five year-old son in between two people, hand them coloring books, crayons and a juice box or two to keep him occupied and hightail it towards a few rows back.

Another reason to get to the airport early is because my husband is a big guy. If he doesn’t get an aisle seat, heavens, that won’t be fun. I’m interested to see if there’s a mad dash for the door when it’s time for general boarding or if they give people colored boarding passes that sort you by first come first serve. I have to say, it does make me a bit nervous that I haven’t actually talked with a person who works for Skybus and won’t be able to until I show up at the airport. I assume they have people who work at the airport. There is not a number to call with questions. The website does have a place you can email questions, but doesn’t promise to answer them in a timely way. I emailed at the end of April to ask why I got a warning in red saying the web site wasn’t secure during one of the times I planned to pay. I have yet to hear back. Back then, we would have spent only $800 plus taxes for the airfare part of the trip. By waiting for an answer, it cost us $400 and priority boarding. When I did break down and whipped out the credit card, I still got the security warning, but decided to take a chance and pay anyway.

Our next travel arrangement involves tracking down a deal on a rental car. Since we actually fly into Bellingham, I hoping it is cheaper than Seattle.