Sunday, May 10, 2015

Ridin' on Air Choice One

As part of a blogger trip with the Clear Lake Chamber of Commerce, I was provided with a free ticket on Air Choice One to facilitate my review. All opinions are honest and my own.

 I had just started hearing about the new airline at the Mason City/Clear Lake airport, Air Choice One, when I signed on to go on a blogger trip to Chicago with the North Iowa Bloggers. A couple of the team moms opted to use their service when team took off for the IGI Chicago Style meet in February. When my mom realized that she wasn’t going to be able to drive out on Thursday with the kids and I, Air Choice One had early enough flights to Chicago (at great prices) that we realized she’d be able to spend most of the day with us still (unfortunately, though, work kept her from attending). When the team went to St. Louis? Guess who flies there, too (hint, this post is about Air Choice One)?!

So anyway, I was super excited to check out Air Choice One last week as an option for traveling the Midwest with my kiddos. The MCW airport is conveniently located right between Clear Lake and Mason City, meaning you don’t have to drive through the city and battle traffic to get there. But even better? They have free parking. I know. What?! Unheard of. But what an amazing gift when you get back from your trip! Because the last thing I want to do after I get done traveling is pay another $50-100 for airport parking. Hello, I already spent all my money on apology gifts for my kids for being gone.

Air Choice One flies small planes, ours was an 8-seater, multiple times a day (I imagine this is to accommodate business travelers). What I realized as I was talking to Sara Broers of Travel with Sara though, is that those frequent flights make an ideal situation for either spending a day in the city or a weekend. Now I know you’re thinking that flying is never going to be as “cheap” as driving no matter how reasonable Air Choice One’s prices are, right? Wrong. If you consider that you’ll use 2-3 tanks of gas (I can do it in my van in 2), plus road snacks, plus $60+/night parking at your hotel if you’re downtown, and then add in what YOUR TIME is worth? I’m a busy momma, I don’t always have 6-7 hours in a weekend to spend driving. You’re probably at least even, if not coming out ahead.  And don’t’ forget the stops for diaper changes, getting hit in the back of the head with toys, and the fun that ensues when the devices you travel with hit the “low battery” mark.
Them People @ the Airport
Free books for travelers from
the Ventura Library

I would definitely recommend Air Choice One for business travel or a weekend trip with the family. The small, local feel of the Mason City airport provides for a super low-stress check-in process, and they have your bags waiting for you right there when you get off the plane. They even have a little café, Them People, which offers free books for travelers. O’Hare is… O’Hare, and you’ll want to leave plenty of time to navigate the massive airport because finding a small airline in that crowd can be a bit daunting.

They fly small planes, so you’ll want to be aware of weather. One of our bloggers, Laura, flies with her pilot husband and pointed out that while big planes can often fly above the weather, small planes may have more of an issue. The other thing we learned is that they have a small staff. They run from the front ticket counter to the back boarding counter. Have you ever seen O’Hare? Huge. So don’t be afraid to call them if you are needing updates about flight info. In fact, we ended up calling the Mason City people a few times for info about our outbound Chicago flight, and they were amazingly helpful. That’s #IowaNice for you!
Can we just take a second to appreciate
the patchwork beauty that is a sky view
of north central Iowa? 

On the flip side, I cannot say enough about the idea of popping over from Chicago to enjoy something like 4th of July festivities in Clear Lake or a concert at the Surf and dinner at a place like Ge-Jo’s for a small-town weekend getaway. For anyone looking for a break from the chaos that can be city living, a long weekend in Clear Lake can be just what the doctor ordered. Even as a north Iowa native I was impressed with all the events and amenities Clear Lake has to offer everyone, be it a girls’ weekend, romantic getaway, or family vacation.

PS: The pilots and crew were all super friendly, and great about posing for pictures, so make sure you enjoy your time with them. It makes a flight way more fun when your pilot will pose for a “thumbs up” picture while you’re taking your group selfies. receives free products for review purposes. All opinions expressed are my own and were not influenced by any form of compensation. This disclosure is done in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission 10 CFR, Part 255 Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.


  1. Love it! I am so glad you joined us to travel to Chicago. I do agree- Air Choice one offers a great option for Chicagoans to visit Clear Lake, Iowa.

  2. I love your post and I loved getting to know you better. Sorry that things got delayed for you getting back but we all made it through it, right? Thanks for the fun couple of days!

  3. I had a great time and enjoyed getting to know you better!

  4. I'm glad you were able to go on the Blogger Trip. Can't wait to hear more.

  5. It was so great to get to know you all! I had a blast!