A large number of my Vegas trips are between October through March. The last couple years I have averaged 4-5 of my trips per year during this time frame. Whenever you are trying to decide what flight options you should take, you have to consider how you want to travel from Wisconsin.
Travel From Wisconsin: Flight Hubs vs. Local
With the snow already starting to fly during the fall and winter, I have found I prefer to fly out of a hub vs locally. The local flights around here in central Wisconsin connect you to a regional flight hub. These centers are in Milwaukee, Minneapolis, Detroit or Chicago. From one of those main airport centers you then have to catch another flight anyway.
I have found when considering how to travel from Wisconsin I prefer to drive to Milwaukee or Minneapolis and fly from there. Many people have questioned why I would want to drive in the snow during these attempts. My usual response is “I prefer to gamble when I get to Vegas, not if my flight will make my connecting flight to get to Vegas.”
With flying out of a hub, I find that there are more options if my flight is delayed or canceled. Delta seems to have a non-stop trip to Vegas every couple hours from Minneapolis; United has the same in Chicago and Southwest out of Milwaukee.
Where I have found my most significant delays are from the small airports. Most of my canceled flights are the puddle jumpers from the regional hubs back to Mosinee or Appleton. There are fewer flights, sometimes only 1-2 a day per carrier to these small airports. I have had a flight canceled for work where they decided to bus us to Chicago.
By that time the connecting flight was long gone leaving me to wait on standby to try to get to my training classes. I have also been stuck overnight due to some of these flights being canceled and rescheduled for the next morning. These are not good experiences for those of us who need to travel from Wisconsin.
These experiences are why I prefer to drive to the hub location the night before. This way I have the flexibility and no worries if I am going to make the flight due to traffic. It also reduces the stress on the connecting flight issues if the plane needs to be ‘de-iced.’ When trying to travel on the cheap, even with the increased number of flights at the hubs, you have the best ability at finding a great deal.
And the biggest tip for flying in the winter when you travel from Wisconsin? Do not watch Die Hard 2 before flying out. Yes, I did make that mistake back on my first ever flight back in Junior High during the Winter.