Good news has been hard to find for air travelers over the last few months, but Minnesota’s Rochester International Airport just announced an exciting new route commencing on October 1st. For the first time ever, travelers will be able to head west to Denver, Colorado without the necessity of a connection. SkyWest Airlines will operate the daily direct service as United Express, utilizing a 50-seat regional jet.
For as long as Rochester (RST) has offered airline service, and that is several decades, the one and only way to the western U.S. and beyond was via the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport and Northwest Airlines, which became Delta Air Lines when the two carriers merged. MSP and RST are a mere 76 air miles apart. The next best option is currently via American Airlines or United, with both offering daily service between RST and their Chicago O’Hare hub.
United’s massive route system includes dozens of cities to the west of Denver International Airport, so travelers to and from Rochester will find it easy to connect to Las Vegas, Phoenix, throughout California, to the Pacific Northwest and even Hawaii. And of course, during the winter snow season there’s no better way to the slopes than via Denver. Announced flight times are RST/DEN, 1:15-2:37 p.m., and DEN/RST, 1:50-5:03 p.m.
As for inbound travelers to RST, the world renowned Mayo Clinic calls the city home. Travelers come from around the world for cutting-edge medical care, and it isn’t unusual to find many business jets and even wide-body airliners at the airport which have transported international dignitaries here for treatment.
The third largest city in Minnesota, the Rochester metropolitan area is home to 220,000 people. Visitors immediately notice upon arrival that there are scores of hotels serving Mayo Clinic patients and their families, far beyond the number of hotel rooms typically found in a city of this size. Many are directly connected to the Mayo complex in downtown Rochester via heated skyways and underground passageways.
United’s new Denver to Rochester nonstops also offers an attractive alternative to the 75-minute drive from the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport for those who prefer to drive down from the Twin Cities.