GRRWest Michigan is definitely well-situated for traveling by plane, with commercial flights available at airports in Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo/Battle Creek, Muskegon and Traverse City. Plus with Detroit’s Metro Airport and Chicago’s O’Hare each only a 2-3 hour drive away, there are always options to compare flights to get the best possible fares.

But with many destinations available from the local airports, even quite a few direct flights, you really don’t need to drive very far from home to head out on a family vacation to, well just about anywhere. Whether you live locally and are traveling elsewhere, or are flying here for a West Michigan family vacation, I think that it’s well worth it to use one of these airports if you can.

Some of the non-stop destinations regularly served by carriers out of the Gerald R. Ford International airport in Grand Rapids include:

  • Toronto (Air Canada)
  • Orlando (AirTran, Allegiant Air & Delta)
  • Tampa (AirTran & Allegiant Air)
  • Baltimore/Washington International (AirTran)
  • Chicago (American Eagle and United)
  • Dallas (American Eagle)
  • Fort Lauderdale, Phoenix and Las Vegas (Allegiant Air)
  • Cleveland and Houston (Continental)
  • New York (Continental and Delta)
  • Cincinnati, Memphis, Minneapolis, Detroit and Washington DC (Delta)
  • Milwaukee (Frontier)
  • Denver (Frontier and United)

And while you’re waiting for your flight, don’t forget to take advantage of the free wireless internet service, provided by the Kent County Department of Aeronautics!

If you’re closer to the lakeshore, you might want to consider flights out of the Muskegon County Airport to Chicago (United Express). Although you would need to layover in Chicago before changing planes to your final destination, the cost savings (and convenience) can sometimes be worth it if you can find a good deal on a flight. Plus, the Brownstone restaurant at the Muskegon airport is definitely worth a visit, even if you’re not flying anywhere that day!

The Kalamazoo/Battle Creek International Airport also offers several non-stop flights to Chicago (American Eagle and AmericanConnection), Detroit and Minneapolis (Delta Connection) and Florida (Direct Air) – allowing travelers to connect to other flights from those airport hubs. The airport is also currently constructing a new, 2-story terminal which will open at the end of April 2011.

Travelers in the Traverse City area can fly out of the Cherry Capital Airport to Detroit and Minneapolis (Delta Connection), Chicago (American Eagle and United Express) and seasonal destinations such as New York (American Eagle and Delta Connection) and Denver (United Express). There’s also an airport concierge service available to help assist with any problems or issues that might arise.

I’ve flown out of the Muskegon and Grand Rapids airports several times each and love that they’re smaller. There aren’t usually crowds to fight at the ticket counters, parking tends to be close to the terminal and easy to get to, and I’ve very rarely had to wait in a line at security. Even traveling with my older girls last year was a quick and easy process – so that when we flew home out of New York’s LaGuardia airport and did have to fight the crowds, at least the girls knew what to expect when going through security, etc.

No matter where in the world you need to fly, whether for business or family travel purposes – there’s an airport nearby in West Michigan to help you get there!

Deb writes as West Michigan TravelingMom as well as at Mom of 3 Girls and Just a mom’s take on things…. You can also find her on Twitter – she’s @DebMomOf3.