Love is in the air at SHD!

Love is in the air for Valentine’s Day, and we’re counting the ways we L-O-V-E all of our SHD travelers! From rallying behind the new United service powered by SkyWest to helping us break a 20-year old record for monthly passenger traffic, we are honored to be your airport of choice. In fact, check out these “love letters” we’ve received from local travelers just in time for Valentine’s Day!


Dear SHD,

Happy Valentine’s Day to you and all of your staff from lovely and warm Charleston, SC! After a successful week of teaching at the Sheriff”s office, I am so looking forward to seeing you tomorrow!  I must say, flying for business is so much less stressful now that United and SkyWest have come to town. With connections to both Dulles and O’Hare, I can get to my classes that are scattered all over the US with fewer layovers and less wasted time.  Just getting to the airport is easy, no drives over foggy mountains or (gasp!) to northern Virginia! Plus, nice people to talk to at the airport and no long lines to check in. And when I get back after my trip, I just grab my bag, find my keys, and go.  No stops to pay tolls or parking fees which just keep going up! It’s like buying a plane ticket for my car! Life is good when you travel SHD!  See you tomorrow!

Charlotte Robinson, DVM


Dear SHD,

Traveling every week for ESPN, I have a “love” affair with SHD!  I have FREE parking, friendly employees, and TSA and staff to greet me each week.  Flying through Washington Dulles or Chicago O’Hare, I can get anywhere in the country without driving two hours.  Recently, I was able to cash in my United miles for a ski trip to Bozeman, Montana. SHD is convenient with reasonable airfare that doesn’t break my “heart” or wallet! So, if you want to make an impression on your sweetheart, book a getaway from SHD today!

David Gallatin
EVS/ Replay Operator

Dear SHD,

As the Executive Director of the Gilliam Center for Entrepreneurship here at James Madison University I have a monumental challenge. I want to show that the Shenandoah Valley can produce as good or better student startup companies when compared with Silicon Valley. SHD is an important partner in answering this challenge!

Early this fall, we held an event for Women Entrepreneurship Week. We had two Founder CEOs, a Managing Partner, and a Founder of a Venture Capital company. These women executives flew from CT, Chicago, and NYC. They were all able to fly in the day of the talk and fly out early the next day.  Such seamless and timely transportation is paramount for such high-quality executive speakers.

Often, I need to fly for a conference and give a speech on our work here at JMU. This fall I needed do so for a conference that was in Chicago. The direct flight was the best-ever. In my personal life, my children reside in Connecticut, and my fiancé is an entrepreneur owning her own high-end interior designer business operating out of New York City. Having SHD ten minutes away from our Harrisonburg home is great, as we no longer have to deal with Dulles or Reagan National and the corresponding logistical nightmare that is NOVA traffic and parking!!!!

My fiancé Bridget has made fast friends with many of the TSA agents, all of whom who are so nice, professional, and welcoming.  During the government shutdown there were tales of many airports operating less than efficiently during that time, but Bridget and I flew to Florida for some needed R&R and sunshine. Everyone at SHD was a true delight.  To receive prompt service, a smile, and a warm greeting at such a time shows how incredible everyone at SHD really is. We look forward to utilizing SHD for years to come.

Patrick McQuown
Executive Director
Gilliam Center for Entrepreneurship at James Madison University

27.6 million pounds later…

When you think of snow, a day off from work or a cozy day inside might come to mind. At SHD, we think of snow a little differently. Our #1 concern is always safety and decreasing the impact of winter weather on operations. It’s a big job! Can you imagine if your driveway was 6,002 feet long – the length of our runway?!
Here’s a behind-the-scenes look at some interesting facts and figures when it comes to managing snow at SHD!

Snow Removal By the Numbers

  • This area of Virginia averages 23 inches of snowfall a year.
  • 1” of snow equals on average 1 lb. of snow per square foot.
  • SHD’s runway is 6002’ long and 150’ wide. The adjacent taxiway is 6002’ long and 50’ wide. That is the equivalent to a 20-lane highway that stretches over 1 mile long!
  • The total square footage of the runway and taxiway is over 1.2 million square feet.
  • 23” inches on average of snowfall a year with 1.2 million square feet of pavement equals OVER 27.6 MILLION POUNDS of snow moved each year to keep YOU on schedule and getting wherever it is that you need to go!

The Snow Removal Strategy
During snow and other winter weather, our team is responsible for maintaining a safe operating area for aircraft by clearing runways, taxiways, and other surfaces. The airport has snow removal operations “airside” (runways, taxiways, and ramp areas) and “landside” (parking lots, and additional roads).

The SHD Snow Removal Team
SHD has approximately 20 trained snow removal personnel. Personnel experience is key to the success of each winter weather event. Majority of our personnel has over 10+ years of experience – several have over 20 years of experience!

Our Equipment 
SHD has approximately 15 pieces of equipment to handle both “airside” and “landside” operations. The equipment includes blowers, brooms, blades, plows, and spreaders. In 2017, SHD acquired two multi-task machines that can plow, sweep, and blow snow at the same time.

Each of these machines has a 20 ft. snow plow, an 18 ft. high-speed tow behind broom that spins upwards of 500 RPMs, and air blowers that blows air at speeds over 300 MPH! Below is a list of some other equipment that SHD uses to keep the airport going during winter weather.

  • 2 Volvo L60E Front End Loaders. Each of these includes a snow blower, ramp plow, and broom attachments.
  • Ventrac 4500Z 4×4 with a broom, snow plow, snow blower, and granulate spreader for the parking lots and sidewalks
  • Various other vehicles with snow plows for both landside and airside operations.

Click here to see a piece of our newest equipment in action last weekend!

As you can see, a lot goes into snow removal efforts at an airport! We are proud to say Team SHD is the best of the best at keeping your local airport open and operational. Next time the snow starts to fall, rest assured that we’re doing everything possible to keep your travel plans safe and seamless!

Make 2019 Your Best Year of Travel!

Happy New Year Valley Travelers!

I hope you had a wonderful time ringing in 2019! Resolutions go hand-in-hand with the start of a new year, so we thought we would help you to make some great travel-related resolutions with the four suggestions below. Make lasting memories, streamline your business travel, travel like a pro, and reward yourself with a springtime getaway – read on to see how!

1. Visit at least one bucket list destination this year!
Are you dreaming of a tropical getaway, an epic adventure, or a visit with a faraway loved one? Don’t put off the dream any longer! SHD can help get you to your dream destination through two major hubs – Chicago O’Hare and Washington Dulles.

In fact, Chicago O’Hare is ranked #1 in the U.S. for flight connectivity with 81,913 one-stop domestic flights and over 128 daily direct flights to 50 international destinations!

Plus, United offers 30 daily nonstop flights from Dulles to 30 international destinations as well as 195 daily domestic flights to 74 airports across the United States. Our in-house fare specialists even provide free booking assistance to help you plan your trip. Simply call 540-234-8304 x2.

We’re not just in the travel business; we’re in the making lifelong memories business. Let’s get you where you want to go in 2019!

2. Start enjoying your business travel.
Get back the minutes that tick away while you sit traffic, stand in long security lines, and fight crowds to get to your gate. Choosing SHD saves you valuable time, makes travel less stressful and gets you back to your family sooner! Want to know what your out-of-town airport is costing you in terms of time? Check out our True Cost Calculator!

3. Travel like a pro with United MileagePlus and TSA Precheck.
United Airlines app
Put the power of a personal travel assistant in your pocket with the United Airlines app! Give yourself the (free) gift of real-time flight status alerts, mobile check-in, baggage tracking, and more through one convenient app.

United MileagePlus Program
Earn miles while you fly and for everyday purchases from participating stores and keep track of them all in the United Airlines app! Use your miles for flights, rental cars, hotels, and exclusive experiences. Already a member of another frequent flyer program? No problem! Check out United’s MileagePlus Premier Status Match Program to see how you can instantly get comparable perks from United.

TSA Precheck
SHD offers TSA Precheck on select flights! Keep your shoes on, your laptop in your bag, liquids sealed up, and more. With average wait times of less than 5 minutes, TSA Precheck saves you time and stress. Click here to apply today! (Remember, even with TSA Precheck, you’ll need to arrive one hour before your flight.)

4. Take a long weekend to relax and recharge!
Give yourself a boost after a long winter with a spring trip to one of the most famous cities in the world – Chicago! Epic architecture, arts & culture, cuisine, and more await you in Chi-town. Our non-stop, roundtrip flights to Chicago start at just $210. Click here to book your flight today!

Whatever your travel goals for 2019, we’re here to help! We appreciate all of you that made SHD your airport of choice in 2018, helping to make it a record-breaking year for passenger traffic! If you haven’t tried SHD yet, we invite you to experience all that we have to offer this year.

From the SHD Family to Yours

The hustle and bustle of the holidays is at its peak! What makes the holidays memorable though are the special people we spend it with and the traditions we create over the years. From the SHD family to yours, we’d like to share some of our favorite holiday traditions with you.

We wish you a safe and joyful holiday season filled with special memories!

My favorite tradition: 
Every Christmas Eve as a child I always looked forward to getting to open one special present early – new Christmas pajamas to wear that night. It always seemed to make the wait for Santa Clause even more exciting. Now that I have two daughters of my own, we carry on that tradition gifting them matching pajamas on Christmas Eve. At 5 and 7 years old they still think it’s pretty cool to look like twins!

For 30 years now, I have hosted brunch at our house on Christmas morning. We used to have about 25 family members joining us but as children have grown up and moved away to start families of their own, we are down to about 10 of us. Even with brunch being a little bit quieter now, we still really enjoy this special time together.
– Tammy Powell, Fare Specialist/Customer Service Representative

When our kids were younger, we would rush home from wherever we were to put out milk and cookies for Santa, and sometimes sprinkle reindeer food on the sidewalk. Then we would all sit together on the floor, and I would read ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas’ before the kids went off to bed so the magical night could begin. My children are now 14 and 17 so those times have passed, but I still have the same copy of this book that I read to them for many, many years.
– Chris Hoover, Operations/Public Safety Officer

One of my favorite memories growing up was when we would go as a family to look at Christmas lights around where we lived in Parkersburg, WV.
– Becky McNemer, SHD Operations

Every year, we go to Tastee Freez and get a Christmas cone, which is soft serve ice cream with red and green sugar sprinkles, and ride around for hours looking at Christmas light displays all around Staunton, Waynesboro, and Augusta County. We always listen to Christmas music and share stories of years past while driving around. It never really feels like Christmas until we have done this tradition. And even though I have the DVD and Blu-Ray, I still watch “24 hours of A Christmas Story on TNT” at least once through.
– Justin Kyle, Operations/Public Safety Officer

My parents were divorced and each December my three sisters and I would watch the mail for a big package to arrive from my dad. If we were lucky, it would show up while my mom was still at work and we could carefully open each one with a butter knife to see what was inside. Then we would wrap it back up like nothing ever happened. I’m pretty sure my mom still has no idea we did this!
– Debbie McAllister, Facilities & Shuttle Coordinator

Travel Gifts Everyone Will Love!

If you’re like us, your holiday shopping is in full swing! For the travelers on your list, we’re making your gift giving a breeze with the best travel gifts, gadgets, and gizmos. From commemorating world travels to making travel more comfortable, there’s something for everyone in this gift giving guide.

Multiway Travel Bag
Travel like a pro with this 3-in-1 travel bag. Attach it to your suitcase, transform it into a backpack, or use it as a shoulder bag. Multifunctional pockets, straps, and compartments are perfect for organization that can adapt to your needs. Take a look at why the Multiway Travel Bag by Mochimakes our top 5 list!

Stocking Stuffer Bonus: Add a bag luggage straps make navigating the airport with multiple suitcases a breeze. Every traveler will appreciate the convenience and practicality of this gift!

Portable Power Bank 
Every savvy traveler will appreciate a compact portable power bank to keep their gadgets charged on the go. Take into consideration the type of device being charged when choosing the milliamp hours (mAh). Higher milliamp hours mean more charges.

Stocking Stuffer Bonus: Never dig through a bag, pocket, or suitcase for device cords and accessories! Keep them organized in one place with a travel cable organizer. It will soon be a must-pack item for your busy traveler.

Noise Cancelling Headphones 
If you’re a frequent business trip flyer or flying internationally, noise cancelling headphonescould be your saving grace for working without distraction or getting a good night’s sleep. Unlike passive headphones, noise cancelling headphones reduce unwanted ambient sounds and allow you to listen without having to increase the volume. While noise cancelling headphones are typically more expensive, you can find quality options starting at around $40.00 per set.

Stocking Stuffer Bonus: To compliment the noise cancelling headphones, add an inexpensive 3D sleep mask for blocking light. Your favorite traveler will love the gift of good sleep!

Stocking Stuffer Bonus: Keep the good rest coming with an inflatable ergonomic travel pillow that provides maximum comfort. The best part? When it’s not in use, it’s easy to deflate and pack away.

Socks That Rock 
Flights can be a challenge for good circulation in your legs and feet. Give the gift of fashion and good health with stylish compression socks that anyone will be proud to wear! Fun designs and patterns make them indistinguishable from regular socks.

Remember the Journey 
scratch-off world travel map is a unique way for travelers to remember their adventures and track their adventures. Avid travelers will love commemorating their globe-trotting with this map that doubles as a work of art!

Holiday Travel Problems Solved!

‘Tis the season to be jolly, and if you read this email to the end, it can also be the season of enjoyable holiday travel! We’ve compiled our top travel hacks for staying sane during the hustle and bustle of the holidays. With tips for pre-planning, packing, and making your flight, we’re making sure this really is the most wonderful time of year for travel!

Download a Personal Assistant 
Before you even pack your bag, make sure to download the United Airlines app! Give yourself the (free) gift of real time flight status alerts, mobile check-in, baggage tracking, boarding notifications, and more through one convenient app. It’s your personal assistant on the go for holiday travel and beyond!

Other pre-planning tips include:

  • Take photos of all your travel documents (your passport & itineraries for example) and email them to yourself in case these items are lost or stolen.
  •  Invest in a power bank or two and make sure they are fully charged so you can quickly charge your devices.
  • Remember to turn your phone to airplane mode prior to takeoff so your battery doesn’t drain during flight.

Pack Like a Pro
Packing during the winter season comes with its own set of challenges. Here are some of our best seasonal travel hacks, along with tips  you can use any time of year! Don’t forget to check in advance for guidelines and resources about what you can pack.

Holiday Packing Hacks

  • If you’re traveling to a place with winter weather or rain, use a hard-sided suitcase that can repel outside moisture more effectively than soft-sided suitcases.
  • Plan to wear your heaviest clothing items like your winter coat and boots on the plane to make your checked bags lighter.
  • If you’re packing gifts, plan on wrapping them when you arrive at your destination. Wrapped presents could cause delays when you’re going through security. Better yet, give experiences instead and save yourself the hassle of pack bulky gifts!

Bonus Hacks

  • Keep your clothes smelling fresh longer, by packing a dryer sheet in your bag.
  • Try rolling your clothes instead of folding them to create more space.
  • Pack your shoes in shower caps to keep them from touching your clothing.
  • Put plastic wrap over the opening of bottles and screw the lid over top of the plastic wrap to prevent liquids from leaking.
  • String necklaces through straws to keep them untangled.

Time Is Your Friend
One of the biggest travel mistakes people make is not allowing themselves enough time catch their flight. Arrive at least one hour prior to your departure at SHD.This ensures that you have plenty of time to deal with any unexpected issues and still board your flight on time. Many airlines, including United at SHD, will not allow you to check-in for a flight inside a 30-minute window.

Give yourself the gift of time, by signing up with TSA Precheck! Keep your shoes on, your laptop in your bag, liquids packed away, and more. With average wait times of less than 5 minutes, TSA Precheck saves you time and stress. Click here to apply today! (Remember, even with TSA Precheck, you’ll need to arrive one hour before your flight.)

With these tips in mind, we hope you’ll have your best holiday travel experience yet! And remember, SHD is always here to answer any travel questions you may have.

Happy Thanksgiving From SHD!

If you are like me, the Thanksgiving holiday tends to make you feel a bit sentimental when you reflect on what you are the most thankful for. The same is true for all of us at SHD!

I know I’ve already shared with you what amazing growth we’ve seen in passenger traffic since the start of United in April but has it really sunk in that YOU are the reason we can celebrate? Every single one of you that have purchased a ticket from SHD in the past 8 months have made a big impact on the future growth of your local airport! There is no doubt YOU are what makes us the most thankful!

On Tuesday WHSV came out to report on local holiday travel, and we had quite an exciting story to tell! The airline terminal has been buzzing more than ever this week with full flights arriving carrying visitors to the Valley and full flights departing with locals heading out for the holiday. Knowing that SHD can make it easy for you see family and friends for Thanksgiving this year makes us incredibly happy.

I started thinking earlier this week it would be so fun if we could just show up at your door and say “Thanks” in person today. The problem is we would hate to keep you from tending to the turkey, interrupt your dinner conversation with Aunt Ethel about politics, or awake any of you “watching” football (we all know you’ll actually be dozing off from the tryptophan).

A close second will just have to be this short video we made especially for you! Maybe you can even open the front door and pretend we’re there while you watch it? Or you can remain on the sofa resting from your great feast. We won’t be offended!

Warm wishes for a safe and Happy Thanksgiving from Team SHD!

You Helped Us Break a Record!

As many of you know, last month SkyWest/United began direct flights to Chicago. We knew this flight would be popular in the community, but the number of you who flew from SHD in October blew us away! With your help we broke a 20-year old record for monthly passenger traffic!

To be exact, 3,362 of you took advantage of the convenient, cost-effective, and time-saving flights at SHD –  for that we can’t say thank you enough!

Another reason to celebrate? SkyWest also had a 100% completion rate of scheduled flights at SHD. That means there wasn’t a single flight cancellation for the entire month of October! SkyWest continues to prove why it’s ranked #1 in regional airlines for reliability. If you haven’t flown with United powered by SkyWest, we invite you to experience the difference firsthand!

For many of you, travel will be a part of your Thanksgiving holiday, and you aren’t alone. TSA is predicting this Thanksgiving holiday season (November 16-November 26) will be the busiest travel season on record with more than 25 million people flying on commercial airlines!

To make your travel experience a great one, here are a few reminders:

  • Plan to arrive at the airport early. At SHD that means one hour prior to departure. If you are returning from a larger airport you will want to be sure to allow at least two hours or more for the check in and screening process.
  •  Review TSA guidelines before you pack. Check the TSA website or MyTSA app for the most up to date information. You can even send a picture of what you aren’t sure about to Ask TSA on Facebook Messengeror Twitter to get a quick response.
  • Get familiar with airline baggage policies.  Baggage policies and fees vary with the type of ticket purchased, your destination (domestic or international) and your status in the United Mileage Plus program. For the most up to date information it’s best to visit United’s Baggage Informationpage. You can also calculate fees for your specific trip using United’s Baggage Calculator tool.

Wishing you safe and stress-free Thanksgiving travels!

Chicago Ranks #1 – Here’s Why

One of the things I’ve heard time and again from visitors traveling to the Shenandoah Valley is that we have the best of both worlds.

We enjoy the personal touch of small-town living but welcome the innovation of industry, technology, and a thriving higher education community. We’re surrounded by natural beauty but within easy reach of big cities through our proximity to air, rail, and highway travel.

Now that United powered by SkyWest is available at SHD, we’ve connected travelers to two major airport hubs – Washington-Dulles and Chicago O’Hare – allowing for seamless connections to the world right from your backyard.

In fact, OAG, a leader in airline data analysis, recently announced that Chicago O’Hare ranked #1 in the United States for flight   connectivity – an astounding 81,913 possible one-stop domestic flight connections during a three-hour window to be exact! Not to mention that there are over 128 daily direct flights to 50 international destinations from Chicago O’Hare.

Plus, United offers 30 daily nonstop flights from Dulles to 30 international destinations as well as 195 daily domestic flights to 74 airports across the United States.

Combine this with SHD’s direct flights to Chicago O’Hare and Washington Dulles, and we have another best of both worlds option for our SHD travelers. We can literally get you anywhere you want to go.

With an airport so close to home that connects to two major hubs and a tremendous number of destinations within reach, we’re helping record numbers of Shenandoah Valley travelers do business, see the world, or take that vacation they’ve been needing!

And guess what? We can get you there affordably.  Our in-house fare specialists provide free booking assistance to make sure of it. Simply call 540-234-8304. 

There’s not just one reason to fly with SHD – there’s 81,913! Let us help you reach your next destination.

SHD Attracts New Business

This month SHD is proud to be featured in Virginia Business Magazine, a publication that has covered economic activity in every sector and region of the state since 1986.

Since we’ve started our new service with United powered by SkyWest we’ve been excited to connect travelers to destinations across the country and the globe through two major hubs – Washington-Dulles and Chicago O’Hare.

As the Gaining Altitudes article in Virginia Business Magazine explains, the opportunity to bring the best in regional aviation to the Shenandoah Valley with United and SkyWest is a game changer for travel to and from our region. In fact, since May we’ve had a 50% increase in passengers using the service, and that number continues to climb.

The impact of this partnership also plays an essential role in economic development. As Carrie Chenery, former executive director of the Shenandoah Valley Partnership (SVP) points out, access to commercial air service is a key factor for business prospects.

“They hear about our location and our transportation assets,” Chenery says, “What had been missing there [until recently] was quality, reliable air service. So, now to have that in our fold is significant for our efforts.”

Support from travelers like you is essential for the continued growth of SHD. When you fly with us, you aren’t just getting great reliable service; you’re also supporting a larger vision of a thriving Shenandoah Valley – the place we love to call home.