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Vacation-Planning from Portland

pdx2As was noted recently on this site, living in Portland doesn’t always lend itself to easy escapes to far-off destinations. Yes, there’s an international airport here, but Portlanders know that getting anywhere far away requires at least one stopover en route – and sometimes two – even if “far away” is just the other side of the US.

It’s for this reason that some Portlanders I know (including me, on occasion) plan trips based on how long the flights are from PDX. There’s no sense in wasting an entire day of a short vacation getting to where you’re going, after all, so in order to take advantage of weekend travel deals people around here need to figure out first how long it’ll take to get where they want to go. Luckily there are often great deals from Portland to places up and down the western third of North America, and those flights are short enough to have you actually on vacation (and not just in transit) in no time.

If your travel dreams are farther away than just the west coast, however, then don’t feel limited by just what flights you can get from PDX. There are enough major hub airports within a short (and often cheap) flight from Portland that it’s not a bad idea to check the prices on flights from places like Seattle, San Francisco, Denver, and Los Angeles. And provided you can find cheap flights to Los Angeles, San Francisco, or any of the other nearby hubs, you might end up saving money on your airfare in addition to expanding your destination options.

A favorite airline with many Portlanders is Alaska Airlines and its budget-friendly sister airline Horizon Air – partly because there are usually lots of flights from PDX to choose from on both airlines and partly because it’s easy to find Alaska and Horizon flight deals. I’m sure I’m not alone in being a happy Alaska customer – especially since they added cross-country flights. I love that I can now fly Alaska all the way to the east coast, racking up frequent flyer miles more quickly. And in my experience, Alaska’s been quite good with customer service. Yes, there have been a couple times when my bag didn’t make it home with me, but the Alaska representatives have always been extremely helpful about it and my bag has always been delivered to my doorstep within eight hours.

Not only that, my Alaska flights have always been on time. Usually when I’m flying I don’t care so much about the schedule (I get there when I get there), but when I’m picking someone up at PDX I always appreciate when flights are on time or close to it. Sure, I always check the Alaska Airlines flight status before I leave home, and PDX has that parking lot where I could wait for a call from whoever I’m picking up, but I’d much rather circle through once and grab my passenger – PDX is lovely, but I don’t necessarily want to hang out in the parking lot.

photo by pfly