Growing Pains at Airport

Traffic into and out of Meridian Regional Airport has held steady since Silver Airways took over operations Oct. 1. As Silver adjusts to its new role, more and more people are expected to take advantage of the cheaper airfares to Atlanta.

Tom Williams, president of the Meridian Airport Authority, tells us, "No one on Delta would fly to and from Meridian and back because their cheapest airfare out of Meridian was $450. And if you walked up and needed to travel now, it was almost $1000. Well on Silver, that's going to be $200 round-trip any time you get ready to travel."

Finding the flights to get you from Atlanta to your final destination may be a challenge depending on where you try to book online.

Williams explains some of the dilemma. "If I went last week on Travelocity and tried to go from Meridian to Chicago, Travelocity says, 'We don't have service to Chicago.' If I would go to Expedia, it says 'We have service to Chicago, and you connect with Delta in Atlanta.' If I go on Priceline, it says, 'We have service to Chicago, and we connect with many airlines in Atlanta."

Williams tells us that Priceline has been the best so far, but that the booking sites are changing daily, so make sure you shop around. There is a major benefit when you get to Hartsfield-Jackson though.

"In the past when we flew in on Delta, we flew into Concourse C or D. It's narrow; it's very crowded. There are hundreds of flights going out of those concourses. Silver's gates are on E, which was the old International Concourse. It's big; it's roomy; it's mostly empty," says Williams.

If you do purchase your ticket online and it says "Island Air," don't be alarmed; that ticket information is correct. Williams tells us that Silver outsources its online reservations through Island Air of Hawaii, so even if your ticket says "Island Air," you will still be able to board in Meridian without any problems.