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.

WWII Aircraft Coming to SHD

You’ve seen them in movies and read about them in the history books, but now is your chance to experience rare WWII aircraft like never before!

SHD is excited to host the Wings of Freedom Tour with The Collings Foundationfeaturing the WWII era Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress “Nine O Nine,” B-24 Liberator “Witchcraft,” B-25 Mitchell “Tondelayo” bomber, and P-51 Mustang “Toulouse Nuts” fighter plane. Click here for a video sneak peek!

The Wings of Freedom Tour is celebrating its 29th year of traveling the nation as a flying tribute to the flight crews who flew the aircraft, the ground crews who maintained them, the workers who built them, the soldiers they helped protect, and the citizens that share the freedom they helped preserve.

Join us on Wednesday, October 17th at approximately 1:30 pm to watch these majestic aircraft touchdown at SHD, or plan to visit during the walk-through tour times listed below!

Wings of Freedom Tour featuring rare WWII aircraft.
This living history exhibit brings you up close and personal with these rare and extraordinary aircraft. In fact, the B-17 is one of only nine in flying condition in the United States. The B-24J is the sole remaining example of its type flying in the world. Learn more about how the B-25 was crucial in the daring Doolittle raid, and why the P-51 Mustang was affectionately known as the bombers “Little Friend” – saving countless crews from attacking axis fighters.

Walk-Through Tours
Explore these awe-inspiring aircraft inside and out during walk-through tours – $15 for adults and $5 for children 12 years and younger. Discounted rates are available for school groups.

Tour times are: 10/17 2:00 PM – 4:00 PM, 10/18 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM, and 10/19 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM

Once in a Lifetime Flights
Schedule a once in a lifetime epic adventure that you’ll never forget! Enjoy a 30-minute flight aboard one of these rare bombers or take your thrill-seeking to new heights by taking the controls of the P-51 – the world’s greatest fighter!  For flight information and reservations, call 800-568-8924 or

Ready to Win a $250 Travel Voucher?

How does $250 towards your next trip sound in exchange for less than 5 minutes of your time?

Sounds good, right?

We’ve launched a (very) brief survey to gather information from you about your travel experiences.

Simply complete the survey and enter your information at the end for a chance to win a $250 travel voucher!

Your input and opinions matter to us and completing the survey will help us to serve you better.

Thank you for your participation!

You’re Invited to Chicago!

Fall is the perfect time of year to travel to some of the Valley’s most popular destinations. With summer tourist crowds at bay, mild temperatures, and nonstop flights starting at $210 roundtrip from SHD – Chicago is a great place to plan a trip this fall.

Known by the nicknames Chi-Town and The Windy City, Chicago is an excellent destination for a long weekend getaway or full-fledged vacation. To make your trip memorable, we’ve put together some of our favorite must-do activities and attractions!

Get to Know the City 
The architectural influence of Chicago enchants the novice and expert alike. Home to world famous architects and buildings, architecture is key to truly appreciating Chicago. Don’t miss our top pick for exploring Chicago Architecture!

Chicago Architecture Center
Making its debut in August 2018 the new Chicago Architecture Center (CAC), formerly known as the Chicago Architecture Foundation, combines education, interactive exhibits, and storytelling in a way that brings the city to life like never before. The CAC is fun for the entire family and affordably priced at just $12 for adults, $8 for students with ID, and free for children under 5 years old.

Current experiences and exhibits include:

  • Architecture River Cruises Get up close and personal with the city from a unique vantage point with a 90-minute guided cruise on Chicago’s First Lady. Capture Chicago Photography Cruises and Twilight River Cruises are also available. Prices vary based on cruise type.
  • Chicago Model Experience This interactive exhibit weaves the tale of the growth and rebirth of the city.
  • Chicago Gallery Learn about the architects and their creations that make Chicago “the city of architecture.”
  • From Me to We: Imagining the City of 2050 Get a glimpse into the future and explore the trajectory of change for cities to accommodate a global increase in population.

Get Lost in Arts & Culture
Chicago’s vibrant arts and culture scene sparks the imagination and offers something for everyone. Immerse yourself in these top picks for adding the arts to your next Chicago visit.

The Joffrey Ballet in Chicago.Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University  
Look no further for award-winning theater, music, opera, dance, and experimental arts. From Broadway to ballet and everything in between, you can experience it at the Auditorium Theatre. With a story all its own, this historic venue has brought culture center stage for 127 years. Click here for a full list of upcoming performances including The Joffrey Ballet’s Swan Lake, October 17th-28th.

Museum of Science and Industry
With a slogan like “Long Live Curiosity,” the Museum of Science and Industry is a must-see for all ages. Since 1933, it’s welcomed visitors to explore, imagine, and discover the wonders of science and industry. Ticket prices vary based on experience and exhibit packages. Discounts are given for ordering tickets online.

Current experiences and exhibits include, but are not limited to:Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago.

  • The Science Behind Pixar: This exhibit features over 40 interactive elements that showcase the filmmaking process of family favorites and brings beloved characters to life right in front of you. This exhibit runs through January 6th.
  • Flight and Ridge Simulators & Space Walk: Where else can you launch into space, ride a Red Baron from World War I, or complete a spacewalk mission outside the International Space Station? Trust us; you’ll be talking about these exhibits for years to come!
  • Coal Mine: From descending a mine shaft to riding the rails, experience a true-to-life coal mine in this unforgettable exhibit.

 For the Foodies
From deep dish pizza to the dazzling cuisine of famous chefs like Grant Achantz, you can easily eat your way through a trip to Chicago. From downtown to uptown, here are some top picks for food destinations that are sure to satisfy.

Chef Grant Achantz at Alinea in Chicago.$$$$ Alinea 
Awarded the prestigious 3-star Michelin ranking, Alinea will delight your senses and open the world of cuisine in a whole new way. Much more than a restaurant, this engaging experience is bucket list item for the ultimate foodie. Chef Grant Achantz is world renowned and when you dine at Alinea, you’ll understand why. Plan your trip carefully as bookings are often filled months in advance.

$-$$ Hit the Streets
From pizza to lobster rolls, Chicago streets are filled with delicious cuisine. Believe it or not, Chicago’s food trucks serve up some of the best meals in the city. With cult-like followings, get the latest locations and menu offerings by following them on Twitter. To get you started, click here for a list of favorite food trucks in Chicago.

Navy Pier Food & History Tour
Take a delicious deep dive into Chicago cuisine and history with this foodie favorite tour. Enjoy the iconic landmark, delicious food, and informative guided tour in this all-in-one activity. Departures take place multiple times a day and tickets range from $35-$50.

Ready for a trip you’ll never forget? Click here to book your Chicago flight now!

Travel That Passes the Stress Test. Here’s How…

What comes to mind when you think of travel? Hopefully, easy and convenient are at the top of your list. However, for most of us, stress is also associated with traveling. At SHD, we take the stress out of travel by offering free parking, free Wifi, TSA PreCheck on select flights, and of course, reliable United jet service powered by SkyWest! To help you reduce your travel stress even more, we’ve compiled a list of our best Stress-Free Travel Hacks.

1.  Everything You Could Want in a Travel App!

Ever wish you had a personal assistant to keep you informed, organized, and stress-free when you travel? Look no further than the United Airlines app!

Use the United app to reduce travel stress.This comprehensive app features:

  • Flight booking
  • Reservation changes
  • Seat maps
  • Mobile check-in and boarding passes – you can also access your boarding pass for 19 different partner airlines!
  • Passport and visa scanning
  • MileagePlus account access
  • Flight status and reminders
  • Baggage Tracking
  • Interactive airport maps
  • FlightView with real-time maps of flight paths and weather
  • Travel Wallet for keeping all your travel information in one place

Through the United Airlines app, you can also:

  • Purchase one day United Club passes
  • Buy United Travel Options
  • Watch popular movies & TV shows from your device on selected flights
    And more!

Simply click here to download the app and let United Airlines do the rest!

Reduce your stress and enjoy travel with these apps.  2. Travel Like a Local
Make the most of your tip while reducing stress with technology that solves common travel challenges and will    have you feeling like a local in no time!

  Detour app
Whether you’re on vacation or have time to spare during a business trip, the Detour app puts on-demand tours in your pocket. Better yet, the tours are narrated by locals to give you the inside scoop. Skip the stress of finding last-minute activities and let Detour do the work for you!Google Translate app
Don’t have time to brush up on your language skills before traveling the friendly skies? No problem! Google Translate helps you over the language barrier with 103 languages, connection even without data access, and text translation using your phone’s camera.

XE Currency app

Guessing at exchange rates or calculating conversions can make travel hectic. XE Currency removes the guesswork with live exchange rate information, quick conversions, and value change alerts.

3. Grab and Go Packing
If you’re like most people, packing is a chore you’d rather not tackle. Lucky for you, we’ve compiled some helpful tips, so you can pack like a pro.

The Pain of Packing Learn to pack without stress for your next trip.
Yes, there’s an app for packing (at least the list part)! PackPoint creates a custom packing list for you that accounts for your destination, the weather, and what you plan to do during your trip. You can also add custom items to the list as you go along. Let the stress of second guessing your packing list melt away with PackPoint.Don’t leave home without them! 
Pre-pack for your next trip by keeping the standard items at the ready. Toiletries are a great place to start. Having a toiletry kit stocked with TSA approved containers helps avoid the last-minute packing rush. Refill the items when you get home and never worry about having what you need for your trip!

Stay connected
Don’t risk the stress of a dead cell phone, tablet, or laptop. Fully charge all your devices before leaving home. Consider bringing along TSA approved battery packs for backup. People tend to use more battery life when they travel, so prepare ahead of time for the additional battery drain!

Embrace the adventure and fun of travel with these stress-reducing travel hacks! Remember, SHD is always here to answer any travel questions you may have. Ready for your best trip ever? Click here to book your next vacation, business trip, or adventure!

You Asked – We Answered! FAQ’s of SHD Travelers

Since our new United jet service powered by SkyWest launched in April, we’ve seen more travelers than ever coming through our terminal. Like the savvy travelers you are, you’ve asked some great questions about the service, the process, and what you should expect. So, we’ve put together a Q&A of the top questions we’ve received. Do you have a question that’s not listed in this email? Contact us anytime, and we’ll be glad to help! In the meantime, take a look at these SHD FAQ’s about enhancing your travel experience.

What’s the best way to book a flight to/from Shenandoah Valley Airport?
The easiest way to book a flight is on using our airport code – SHD. Be leery of third-party travel sites promising the cheapest fares. We have found these sites have the same fares (or higher – yikes!) than booking with the airline directly, and sometimes details can be lost in translation between the website and airline causing headaches down the road. If you aren’t comfortable booking flights on your own, there are several great travel agencies in our area that can help, or you can call one of our Fare Specialists for assistance.

How early do I need to arrive at SHD? What’s the latest I can board the flight?
United’s suggested arrival and check-in time at SHD is one hour prior to departure. This ensures that you have plenty of time to deal with any unexpected issues and still board your flight on time. System-wide United’s policy is to cut off checked luggage 45 minutes prior to departure time. Passengers without checked luggage must be checked in for the flight a minimum of 30 minutes prior to departure. The self-service kiosk, United mobile app, and customer service computers will not allow you to check-in for a flight inside the 30-minute window.

Security lines at SHD are still much shorter and faster than a larger airport but with an increase of passenger traffic comes the need to plan accordingly for the screening process. Per United guidelines, travelers must be through the TSA process and on board the aircraft 15 minutes prior to departure.

More details on United’s policies can be found here.

What are United’s baggage policies and/or fees at SHD?
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 Information page. You can also calculate fees for your specific trip using United’s Baggage Calculator tool.

Will United match my frequent flyer status on another airline?
YES! We know Valley travelers may be members of other airlines’ frequent flyer programs and those perks are well-earned. That’s why we are so excited about United’s MileagePlus Premier Status Match Challenge where you can receive comparable status! Submitting your request is an easy online process and you could be enjoying United perks in as little as 7 days! Click here to get started.

I haven’t flown for a while; can you remind me of TSA guidelines? TSA luggage guidelines for travelers.
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) makes it really easy to find out what items can be packed in your carry-on bag and checked luggage, and what items should be left at home. A simple rule to remember for liquids in carry-on luggage is the 3-1-1 rule. also has a great search feature where you can put in just about anything to see if it can be packed. Would you rather just snap a picture while you are packing and get a quick answer? You can do that too by sending a photo to @AskTSA on Facebook Messenger or Twitter.

Whether you’re a frequent SHD traveler or planning to try us for the first time, use these helpful tips to make the most of your travel experience!