This passenger interview series, brought to you in partnership with Speaking of Travel, is designed to spotlight our passengers and their unique adventures through AVL.
Ida and Bernie are heading home to Washington, D.C., after a quick trip to Asheville for Ida’s birthday. Bernie travels regularly for work, and he picked up a few helpful tips along the way.
“I’m always trying to stay hydrated,” Bernie said. “It’s healthy for you, and it helps if you’re going to be on long flights. Bring your own stainless steel, reusable water bottle. [Then you] have… the ability to fill up your cannister with filtered water, so you’re not having to buy plastic bottles.”
Flying out of AVL was the perfect way to end Bernie and Ida’s Asheville adventure. “It’s very clean, and everyone is helpful and friendly,” Ida said. “The TSA agents were great getting us through with our luggage. It’s been a great experience.”
Desiree is New York bound for business. She travels regularly for work and leisure, so this frequent flyer knows her way around AVL.
“I am always ready to just get home,” Desiree said. “So, I park on the highest [level of the] parking deck. I know exactly where my car is and can find it without forgetting.”
Desiree knows that flying AVL means flying home, and she loves the ease and familiarity of the Asheville Regional Airport. “I really love… the new parking deck. [It] is really helpful getting in and out,” she said. “I also appreciate the designated pre-check lane. For people like me, it is everything. I’m always able to come in, have a little bit to eat or do some email before my flight. It’s an easy-to-navigate airport.”
Traveling with ease
Diana is kicking off an overnight trip to Orlando for a holiday party, and Asheville’s nonstop flights help her travel with ease. As a flight attendant, Diana is a pro when it comes to making her way through an airport.
“I think passengers don’t realize that they can bring an empty bottle through security and, on the other side of security, fill that bottle up with water,” Diana said. “That way, they can stay hydrated on the plane. That’s super important when traveling.”
Diana loves the convenience and easy connections at AVL. “I live five minutes from the Asheville Airport,” she said. “I’m able to park my car, hop right through security and hit a nonstop flight. The different destinations out of Asheville are very convenient for me.”
Relaxing on the go
Lance is on his way to Orlando to visit family and friends back home. He currently lives in Waynesville, and he’s no stranger to flying in and out of AVL. He says preparation is the key to stress-free travel.
“Pack as soon as you can,” Lance said. “Don’t do it last minute. Just try to relax. Grab a coffee, and just chill.”
Lance enjoys the simplicity and efficiency of traveling through the Asheville Regional Airport. “It’s a smaller airport, so you can just walk right in and get through security fast,” he said.
Deb is on her way to home to Charlottesville, Virginia. She was in Asheville for business but got to mix in some much-needed family time during her visit. As a regular traveler, Deb has learned a thing or two about being prepared.
“Never check your bag when you’re flying to [a destination], because you may not have it when you get there,” Deb said. “I haven’t faced that very often; but there was one time when my flight was delayed because of a storm, so I had to spend the night somewhere that I didn’t expect.”
“I think it’s great,” Deb said. “It’s a small airport, really friendly. Love these rocking chairs. Easy to get in and out!”
Josh and Rachel travel a lot for work, but this time they are headed to see family in Mississippi. Being frequent flyers, Josh and Rachel are pros when it comes to maximizing flexibility and convenience on the go.
“Always pack a carry-on bag, never check a bag,” Josh said. “You don’t have to wait for your bags at the end of a trip.”
“It’s a lot easier if you’re boarding in a later zone or if you’re in a rush, it’s easy just to shove under your seat,” Rachel said. “Then you can get up and go.”
Josh and Rachel love the convenience of their hometown airport. “It’s like a second home to me,” Rachel said. “It’s really easy to navigate and super easy to get in and out of. It’s helpful that whenever you are here, you’re home. You can go straight home and not have to worry about traveling a couple extra hours.”
Getting down to business
Chelsea is Ohio-bound after spending some time in Asheville for business. She travels on a weekly basis for work, so she is a practiced hand with several helpful travel tips.
“Have everything ready,” Chelsea said. “If you have TSA pre-check, that’s very convenient. If you don’t, make sure you have your liquids ready and have easy shoes [to remove]. Pack as light as you can, that way you don’t have to worry about a checked bag.”
“It’s very convenient,” she said. “It’s not like some of the bigger airports where you have to take two hours to get through security. It just takes a couple minutes, and then you’re at your gate.”
Work on the go
Yolanda is on her way back home to St. Louis. She’s been working in the Asheville area for several months now, but she always makes a weekly trip home to connect with friends and family. As someone who travels often, Yolanda knows the importance of traveling light.
“Travel lightly, carry only the necessities,” Yolanda said. “Always check your bag. It’s too much… especially when you have connecting flights.”
Yolanda loves the experience she has at AVL. “It’s small, very personable,” she said. “The employees have always been a pleasure.”
In and out
Maria and Ron are headed home to Miami. The couple was visiting Asheville for a convention, but they made sure to hit the highlights during their stay. Ron is no stranger to travel, and he has few tricks up his sleeve.
“I like… TSA pre-check. It saves time,” Ron said. “It was pretty easy. You just sign up online, get your appointment and… do it within a half hour. It gets you in and out pretty quickly.”
Maria loved her time at AVL. “It’s not too crowded and people are friendly,” Maria said. “We’re not rushing in any way.”
Mary and Hannah have a unique carry on. They’re heading out for a summer adventure in Wisconsin with Bear, a fluffy ten-week old Leonberger puppy. Mary and Hannah have taken Bear on trips in the past, and they know the drill when it comes to bringing a dog onboard.
“Wear them out, and pray for no delays,” Mary said. ‘Get their energy out, make sure they are taken to the bathroom before you leave, and hopefully they sleep the whole way.”
Mary and Hannah love the ease of traveling out of AVL. “[It is] super convenient,” Mary said. "Small, quick, no-hassle. This is just a piece of cake. It’s really lovely. It’s a really nice environment to fly in and out of.”
Meagan is heading home to Denver after visiting WNC for the first time. As part of her best friend’s bachelorette party, she spent the weekend exploring every nook and cranny of Asheville. Given her busy itinerary, Meagan knew it was important to pack light.
“Of course, check the weather," she said. "I had a max of two outfits per day. I rolled them up as tightly as I could to fit as many as I can in my bag.”
Meagan loved the amenities at AVL. “It’s been great,” she said. “One of my favorite things [is that] they have a lot of different charging stations.”
Tying the Knot
Robert took the plunge! He and his family traveled from Cape Coral, Florida, for his destination wedding. Traveling with such a large entourage can be quite the organizational feat, but Robert has it down to a T.
“Traveling with such a large group of people, I always make a checklist,” Robert said. “We don’t leave anything or anyone behind.”
Robert has visited the area before, and he loves flying in and out of AVL. “It’s a nice airport,” he said. “Everybody is super nice out here.”
Head over heels
Alex and Mark are flying home to Denver. Their Asheville weekend was filled with a friend's wedding festivities, but they ended up falling in love with the city itself. This weekend trip called for a quick turnaround, and Mark knew just what to do.
“Download mobile passes and don’t check a bag,” he said. “We did this time, and it’s been the only slow part of our travels.”
Alex and Mark love the intimate size of AVL. “The Asheville Airport is small and easy to get around, so it’s made flying nice,” Alex said.
Fun in the sun
McCall is ready for vacation. She is from Franklin, North Carolina, and is traveling to Florida for a sunny escape with friends. McCall lives an hour away from the airport, so she is a practiced hand when it comes to planning ahead.
“Wherever I’m flying to, I have the app downloaded on my phone,” McCall said. “I check in before I leave and try to get here about an hour and 30 minutes early, just so I have plenty of time.”
McCall loves flying AVL. “I love that it’s a small airport, so it’s very easy,” she said. “You know where you’re going and then you just get to your gate and wait.”
We are the champions
Trevor is on his way to a coaching convention in Tampa with a unique accessory. As a director of basketball operations, his hat was prominently adorned with a piece of a basketball net — telling a story of its own. The piece was cut from a net the night before, symbolizing Appalachian State University’s Women’s Basketball Team’s victory in the Invitational National Tournament. As a professional tasked with arranging travel for the team, Trevor is a seasoned pro.
“A big thing for us is making sure you always have your ID,” Trevor said. “People take that for granted. We’ve gotten into situations when it’s not necessarily where you think its going to be all the time. Make sure you always have that, even before you get in your car.”
This marks Trevor’s first time flying AVL. “This is definitely one of the better regional airports I’ve ever been to,” he said. “It’s clean. There’s a great restaurant and a great shop inside once you get in. Getting through security maybe took… five minutes. It was great and this place seems packed right now.”
Old friends, new adventures
Alice and Chuck meet up with friends in different locations every year, and this year’s vacation brought them to WNC. They are originally from Ohio and decided to explore Asheville after hearing that it was a great place to be. When it comes to taking vacations, Alice likes to be prepared.
“I’m a great organizer,” Alice said. “I have things planned out. I start laying stuff out. By the time I’m ready to pack, it only takes minutes because everything is right there.”
Alice and Chuck love the relaxed nature of AVL. “I like small airports. They’re much more comfortable and relaxing,” she said.
There’s no place like home
Joseph is heading home. Some might call it St. Petersburg, but Joseph calls it paradise. While he may not be a native, Joseph is a regular visitor to Asheville; and he has a few tips when it comes to smooth travel.
“Depending on the airline… make sure you download the app,” Joseph said. “You can check in.”
Joseph loves the ease of traveling through AVL. “The one thing about Asheville Regional is that it’s a smaller airport,” he said. “The rental cars are on-site… and baggage claim is a few yards away from the gate. Everything is concise and expedites the whole process — getting in, getting out and getting on your way.”
Hello, Sunshine State
Burt is to off Tampa. The trip has become routine, as he flies down most weekends to continue the process of becoming permanently settled in Florida. As a frequent flyer, Burt knows how to make the most of his time in the airport.
“If you can get TSA Pre-[check] or Global Entry, you can get through security lines much, much quicker,” Burt said. “There’s usually no line, so that saves 15 or 20 minutes.”
Burt loves the stress-free experience of flying AVL. “There is very little stress to fly here,” he said. “It is very relaxed. You don’t see a lot of people very nervous… it’s about as laid-back an airport as you’ll ever find.”
Headed for the Holy Land
EJ is gearing up for the adventure of a lifetime. EJ works with a Christian outreach ministry in Brevard, and he is excited for his 15-day excursion exploring the history behind biblical texts in Israel. With an extensive packing list and a family at home, EJ understands the importance of preparation.
“I needed to look over the packing list a million times,” EJ said. “This is a trip I have been preparing for [over] the last six months, so this week has been wrapping things up.”
EJ loves his hometown airport. “I love flying in and out of Asheville Regional because it is so efficient and quick,” EJ said. “I checked my watch when I came through security and… from the time my wife dropped me off until the time I came through security took 14 minutes. That’s really awesome. It’s also 25 minutes from my house which makes it extremely convenient.”
Paws for Passengers
Hunter is headed back home to Maine after a busy semester at Brevard College. After locating his gate, he also found he had some company to help him pass the time. Samson, one of the airport’s Paws for Passengers therapy pets, was there to offer Hunter an enthusiastic greeting.
“We have 23 registered therapy dogs who volunteer here at the Asheville Regional Airport,” said Karen, Samson’s handler. “They volunteer to help mitigate travel stress or boredom or entertain people who happen to be at the airport.”
There are several things that Karen enjoys about the airport, but she thinks the therapy pets are a special touch to the AVL experience. “It’s a cool airport,” Karen said. “We have rocking chairs and wi-fi, but we also have 23 fuzzy little ambassadors who are here to make you appreciate your time while you’re at the Asheville Regional Airport.”
Hunter echoes the sentiment, explaining that it was a great part of his travel experience. “It’s really unique,” Hunter said. “I’ve never seen a program like that. When you’re bored and you have a couple hours to waste, it’s nice when you just get to sit and pet a dog.”
Cruising through AVL
Straw hat in tow, Wesley and Madison are ready for a sunny escape. The couple is flying to Fort Lauderdale for a tropical cruise around the Mexican Riviera. This adventure marks Wesley’s first-ever flying experience, so he is depending on Madison’s expertise to navigate the airport smoothly.
“Always plan early. Traffic, TSA – you never know if they are going to get something in your bookbag or not,” Madison said. “Make sure you have all of your toiletries in your checked bag or in a quart size bag.”
Madison and Wesley enjoy taking the easy way out at AVL. “It’s small,” Madison said. “I can park right outside and come right in [without having] to worry about getting a bus over here or spending two hours waiting in line at TSA. It’s in and out.”
Getting down to business
Taylor and Natalie are coworkers that enjoy traveling together for business. When they realized they were both scheduled to fly through the same airport for connecting flights to their differing final destinations, they decided to seize the opportunity to chat and catch up in the terminal.
The Denver-based friends are experienced travelers and know how to make the most of their trips.
“Always be nice to your flight attendants,” Taylor said. “Say hi to them on the way in, maybe buy them a snack. I’ve gotten lots of free drinks and snacks on the plane from it. Always give them a smile and say hey. They appreciate it.”
For Natalie, a well-planned itinerary is the key to success while traveling.
“I get there extremely early just in case something random happens,” Natalie said. “It’s always nice to have some wine or beer along the way.”
Taylor and Natalie love flying through AVL. “It’s really personal,” Taylor said. “You don’t have to worry about long security lines. They have a great little restaurant here. It’s great customer service; everyone is super sweet. It’s small, [so] you’re in and out pretty quick. It’s a great experience.”
Across the pond
The Warner family will be spending their holiday season across the pond in London, England. Commuting to visit relatives in Somerset is an especially interesting experience for the Warners. “We will drive down,” Doug said. “What is interesting about the drive is that you go… within 50 yards of Stonehenge.”
As a family who frequently travels together, the Warners know what it takes to get the job done. “Get here early,” Doug said. “Do whatever you have to do to get out of the house quickly and relax at the airport.”
The Warner family loves the convenience of AVL. “We live one exit away,” Doug said. “It is literally a five-minute drive.”
Grace is heading south for winter. She will spend the season with family in Arizona. Her dog is also joining in the fun, awaiting boarding in her carrier.
“You have to pack a lot of stuff.” Grace said. “That is why we… carry her the way we do. We have so much to handle, to check in and out.”
Grace likes how easy it is to navigate her way around AVL. “It is friendly and small,” Grace said. “It is just easy to get around. I enjoy it here.”
The Keaton family is making their first-ever trip to Rome, Italy. With the holidays on the horizon, the Keatons are eager to celebrate in a different way and make memories together over the holidays. When it comes to traveling as a family, Michael understands the importance of patience and flexibility.
“It can try the patience a little bit,” he said. “Kids want to do their thing, and parents have ideas of what the kids should be doing. We give them enough freedom, and it all works out.”
Michael loves starting his adventures at AVL. “It is very convenient,” he said. “The parking is close to the terminal. It is very affordable. It is much faster than taking a long two-and-a-half-hour drive… and it is great that at the end of your trip you do not have a two-and-a-half-hour drive awaiting you when you are all exhausted and just want to go home.”
Home for the holidays
Robert is Memphis-bound for the holidays to be with family. The Tennessee native was only in town briefly, picking up his son who attends college in the area. With such a quick turnaround, he came prepared to navigate the airport with efficiency.
“I always anticipate the TSA stop. Wear stuff that is easy to get off and put back on. Have a backpack to keep it all so you do not misplace it. It will fit in the overhead bin – no matter how small the plane is.”
Robert likes the convenience and speed of traveling through AVL. “I picked Asheville for our… flight because it is easy to check in and check out,” Robert said. “If you rented a car, you can drop it off.”
Steven is off to New Orleans to spend the holidays with family – but he is not going alone. He is bringing along his favorite four-legged travel companion, Levi. As someone who frequently travels with a pet, Steven knows a thing or two about bringing furry friends on board.
“He is fun to travel with,” Steven said. “He has traveled everywhere with me. A lot of people like him and try to pet him.”
Steven likes the ease of traveling in out of the AVL. “It is an easy airport to travel out of,” Steven said. “It is not like a big airport where you have so many planes coming in.”
The sport of spontaneity
Michael works for Delta Airlines at the Asheville Regional Airport. As an avid traveler with 13 years of airline experience under his belt, Michael knows the ins and outs of travel from both sides of the counter.
“I love [working here],” Michael said. “Every day is a new day… there’s different challenges and different experiences. Meeting all types of people on a daily basis; I truly love it.”
Michael likes to leave room for spontaneity when he travels. “If you really want to enjoy some place or take it all in, don’t overpack or overthink,” he said. “We only have one life, so it makes a big difference.”
Cynthia is on her way to Indiana, and she has a unique way of passing time while traveling.
“[Knitting] is a really good thing to do in the airport or on the fly to entertain yourself,” Cynthia said. “You actually get something done and have something to show for… spending time waiting.”
Cynthia likes the convenience of flying out of AVL. “It’s really small and it’s easy to get through the line for security,” “It’s a lot faster than at a larger airport.”
In the atmosphere
Gabriele is a PhD student from Italy studying finance in Oklahoma. Over the past four years, he has learned a thing or two from traveling around the United States.
“I try to avoid the touristic places,” Gabriele said. “I try to walk around the city and meet locals. That’s the best way to discover a city, to feel the atmosphere. Wherever the atmosphere is right, step in those places and look around and talk to people.”
Gabriele came to Asheville for a conference but spent his free time exploring the city. “The few things I’ve seen here in Asheville, they’re all beautiful,” Gabriele said. "Beautiful city, great people, very friendly. It was a great experience.”
Packing on the fly
Meghan is taking an impromptu trip to Las Vegas. By checking into the amenities offered at her destination, she was able to pack as quickly as possible.
“I’m hoping that by staying at a house, it will have most of the necessities I need,” she said. “I pretty much just packed a couple pairs of clothes.”
With little time to spare, she was thankful for the flexibility and convenience of her local airport. “I like that it is conveniently located near my home, so I didn’t have to prepare too far in advance before leaving,” Meghan said. “I had plenty of time to get here, and now I’m enjoying the company in the terminal.”
Traveling in style
Arielle is headed home to New York, and she likes to strike the balance of cute and comfortable.
“I like to get travel-size makeup,” she said. “Whether it be mascara, my lashes or just some quick lip gloss. You have to look good when you travel. You don’t know who you’re going to see on the plane.”
Arielle likes the customer service she receives at AVL. “It’s very intimate,” she said. “United lets me know when things are delayed or on time. I enjoy it because the customer service is nice here. I know that I can get checked in… and go through the process pretty quickly.”
Sierra is the Marketing and PR Coordinator at the Asheville Regional Airport. As part of the marketing team, she helps organize AVL’s art and music programs for passengers and airport visitors.
“We invite local artists to come and play for our passengers,” she said. “It sets a nice relaxing tone for everyone."
Highlighting local talent in the terminal allows passengers to have an immersive Asheville experience before they even leave the airport. “Our art gallery features a lot of local artists,” Sierra said. “It allows people to get a taste of Asheville and gives them something to do while they are traveling.”
Off to Switzerland
Madison is headed to Switzerland for an impromptu adventure. With nothing but a rented car, Madison and Steven plan to spontaneously explore Europe for a week. From the Holy Land to Russia, these two young travelers know a thing or two about experiences abroad.
“Getting to see all these different cultures, you just have a deep respect for other people’s viewpoints and opinions,” Madison said. “It really broadens your horizons. If you have the opportunity, I would highly recommend everyone to go out and travel.”
Madison loves kicking off his adventures at the Asheville Regional Airport. “I don’t think we’ve ever walked through these doors in the last two years without someone greeting us by name. They make such a personal connection and take such good care of us.”
Tricks of the trade
Drayton is a customer service representative for United Airlines. After working with an airline for 17 years, he knows all the tricks to traveling with ease.
“Have your ID available,” Drayton said. “If you are traveling internationally, you must make sure you have your passport.”
Drayton loves working at the Asheville Regional Airport. “I like the customers, working with the public and interacting with people is what I love to do most,” he said. “Some travel a lot and you get to see their faces a lot and you know them personally.”
Traveling with baby
April and three-month-old Carter are making the trip back home to Orlando after visiting with family here in Asheville. With family in California and a six year old at home, she knows the ins and outs of flying with kids. Traveling with a baby can be daunting, but April has some great tips for moms on the move.
“We usually go to the dollar store and get a bunch of little, they don’t even have to be toys, calculators or boxes with things in them,” April said. “Anything that he hasn’t seen before, lots of snacks, letting him engage with other kids on the flight and explore.”
For April, flying out AVL makes all the difference. “I love going out of small, nice airports. It makes traveling with kids so much more convenient and less stressful.”
Biking around Germany
Tom is off to Germany for an eight-day bike trip. Touring the country by bike leaves little room for excess when it comes to packing, and Tom understands the key to packing only the necessities.
“I packed once and I cut it in half,” Tom said. “People don’t need all that they pack.”
Tom loves starting his travels at AVL. “Every chance I get I come out of Asheville because it’s small,” Tom said. “These guys actually know me. I travel a good bit, and it’s easy. Lines are almost not existent and friendly mountain people.”
Dan and Jen are making their way to Phoenix, Arizona, for a family event. Both Dan and Jen travel for work, and they figured out the secrets to packing like a pro.
“Pack for the security line to get in and out as quickly as you can,” Dan said. “Make sure you have liquids handy at the top of your bag… and reduce the number of electronics that you carry on with you.”
The couple loves the ease and convenience of flying out of AVL. “It is one of the easiest airports I’ve ever flown out of, and we love it,” Jen said.
Natalie and her family can’t wait to start their family vacation. They are flying from AVL to Tampa to kick off their cruise to Cozumel and the Grand Cayman Islands. Natalie’s children enjoy the perks of traveling with family.
“They love traveling with their cousins,” Natalie said.
AVL helps Natalie start her vacation as quickly as possible. She said, "I love that it is so close to us, and that it has direct flights."