What's the worst part of flying to Milwaukee? When you get off the plane, you're in Milwaukee.
And what's the best part of flying to Milwaukee? Hopefully for area travelers it's the additional flights to come.
On Friday, Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald announced that Frontier Airlines will recommence daily non-stop flights from Pittsburgh International to Frontier's Milwaukee hub. The service — the area's only direct flight to the region — ended unexpectedly in December but will begin again May 17 with two flights a day. (The schedule appears in the full press release, below.)
"These new flights from Milwaukee General Mitchell International Airport will enhance nonstop service at the Pittsburgh International Airport. This is an important destination for business and we are thrilled with Frontier Airlines' decision," Fitzgerald said in a statement.
While any expansion at the airport is nice, on its face travelers might not be willing to get too excited about a direct flight to Cheese State. Still, aside from the fact that an additional direct flight to a hub airport anywhere opens up choices for travelers, this also marks a very early victory for the Fitzgerald's team.
At a press conference over the summer, during the height of his election campaign, Fitzgerald talked about driving traffic through the airport. It struck me as normal campaign rhetoric; his Republican challenger was saying the same thing, after all.
But when I talked to him afterward, he legitimately seemed to have a plan to get more flights into the airport. That plan involved starting small, bringing back flights and growing new flights using smaller carriers — basically building it back up in pieces, methodically.
It's certainly easy to understand why today's announcement of a non-stop to Milwaukee may initially give one a feeling of "So what?" But Fitzgerald's administration isn't even 60 days old, and it's nice to see that he's already able to make an announcement like this.
Let's hope it's just the first of many; we've got a million dumb jokes about a lot of other cities all ready to go.
Frontier Airlines to Resume Pittsburgh to Milwaukee Service
PITTSBURGH - Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald announced today that Frontier Airlines will resume Pittsburgh to Milwaukee service with two flights a day beginning Thursday, May 17, 2012. The news came as the Executive, the Airport Authority and business leaders work cooperatively to provide more direct flights for the region's businesses and residents.
"Increasing the direct flights for our region is a priority of my administration," said Fitzgerald. "These new flights from Milwaukee General Mitchell International Airport will enhance nonstop service at the Pittsburgh International Airport. This is an important destination for business and we are thrilled with Frontier Airlines' decision."
Frontier Airlines had ended its direct service to Milwaukee last January, leaving the region without any direct service to the Wisconsin market. The news was well-received in the region because it means increased access for business and leisure travelers.
"Frontier Airlines is pleased to bring Pittsburgh travelers their only nonstop access to Milwaukee's General Mitchell International Airport," Daniel Shurz, Frontier's senior vice president, commercial. "Customers will enjoy Frontier's low fares in Milwaukee and on connections to destinations across the United States and Mexico."
Flights can be booked today at Frontier's website: http://www.frontierairlines.com/. The flight schedule for Pittsburgh (PIT) – Milwaukee (MKE) is: