They say in the Wood River Valley…and well, a lot of places, if you don’t like the weather, wait five minutes. At times it can work out handsomely in your favor yet it can also have a less desirable impact if you’re flying in and out of the Sun Valley area. We’re fortunate to have Friedman Memorial Airport (SUN) located right here in the heart of the Valley, complete with nonstop commercial flights from 6-major cities. However, this amazing geographical location coupled with the unpredictable nature of weather in the mountains can interrupt the best laid air travel plans. We’ve compiled the ultimate guide to preparing for a possible weather-related delay or diversion when flying to and from Sun Valley.
New Flight Approach Procedures
The result of a multi-year collaboration between the Federal Aviation Administration, Friedman Memorial Airport, Flight Tech Engineering LLC, and SUN commercial carrier SkyWest and their partner airlines, Delta, and United, the new proprietary approach procedure is now in use. This allows flights to land with much lower ceiling and visibility than permitted by SUN’s past approach procedures. Alaska Airlines has used similar technology at SUN since 2016 and has seen a dramatic drop in their number of weather-related flight diversions. However, it is important to remember, this does not mean SUN is immune from weather-related diversions, but it has “saved” 38 flights in its first two months of operation.
Managing Your Expectations
Managing your expectations should be priority number one. If you’re trying to fly in or out of Friedman Memorial Airport, things are subject to change. Even if it’s not snowing or raining, low cloud cover, and sometimes strong winds, can deter your flight.
To check in, there are two hotlines to call to check in on the flight of your status:
- 208.401.9259 for Delta & United Airlines flights
- 208.788.1281 #4 for Alaska Airlines flights
During the winter season, the airport experiences significant increases in nonstop airline service to and from their partner destinations of Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Salt Lake City, Denver, and Chicago. Passengers are encouraged to arrive at the airport two hours but no later than 90 minutes prior to scheduled departure time.
If You’re Diverted
Please ensure that you have the correct email and phone information that you use while traveling included in your airline ticket records. This is what the airlines will use to alert SUN passengers in advance of a change in flight status and let them know what time to get to the SUN airport in Hailey to catch the bus transportation to Twin Falls or Boise airport if their outbound flight is going to be diverted to an alternative airport.
Inbound Flights to SUN
If you are diverted on your inbound flight to an alternative airport, you will be provided with complimentary and comfortable motor coach transportation to SUN.
Outbound Flights to SUN
Call the local SUN Winter Operations Hotline for your airline at least 4-6 hours in advance of your scheduled flight departure to confirm flight and busing status. Please listen carefully to the information provided and plan accordingly. If your flight is being diverted outbound, you must get to the airport on time to catch the bus to alternative airport. Times will be provided on the message.
Do not rely on airline schedule apps for flight departure information as they will not necessarily provide information on whether flights are being diverted.
If your flight is affected by weather and is not canceled, you will be diverted to or from Twin Falls, 75 miles away if flying on Delta or United, or Boise, 140 miles away if you are flying on Alaska or Horizon.
If your flight is diverted due to weather, the good news is that the Fly Sun Valley Alliance, SUN airport and airline partners have implemented a FREE comfy motor coach bussing program that will pick you up upon your flight arrival in either Boise or Twin Falls, depending on where you’re diverted to, and shuttle you up to the Friedman Memorial Airport (SUN) in Hailey. Unlike most destinations where bad weather often means cancelled flights, this free bus service is dedicating to getting SUN passengers to their flight destination on the same day of travel. Onboard you will find comfortable seats, free WiFi and an onboard lavatory. Sit back, catch up on your favorite Netflix series, dive in to those pent-up emails or just grab a few winks as you’re whisked away to your destination.
- Flying United & Delta >> Diverted to Twin Falls | 75 miles from Sun Valley Airport
- Travel time to or from Twin Falls is approximately 1 ½ hours
- What to Expect
- Flying Alaska >> Diverted to Boise | 140 miles from Sun Valley Airport
- Travel time to or from Boise is approximately 3 hours
- What to Expect
With winter weather diversions being a reality in Sun Valley, the airport and its partners are ready to make this unexpected detour from your travel experience as relaxing as possible. Airport hosts will be waiting once you’ve deplaned at the alternate airport with instructions on when the bus will depart and where you can grab a bite and a beverage to bring with you on the bus.
The Twin Falls Airport offers Happy Landing, a full-service restaurant and pub, open Sunday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. and weekends on Saturday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Boise Airport has a number of restaurants, bars, and other amenities to take advantage.
For those looking to rent a car instead of taking the bus, Friedman Memorial Airport offers car rentals from Avis, Budget, Hertz, Enterprise, and National. The Twin Falls Magic Valley Regional Airport offers car rentals from Avis, Budget, Hertz, and Enterprise. Boise Airport offers Avis, Alamo, Budget, Dollar, Enterprise, Hertz, National, and Thrifty.
Boise Shuttle Service
If you’d like to arrange for your own transportation to and from the Boise Airport, the Sun Valley Shuttle is your best answer. They offer daily service in their 13 passenger van equipped with comfortable bucket seats, WiFi and ample luggage space.
- Boise >> Sun Valley | Departs form the Boise Airport at 3:30pm
- Sun Valley >> Boise | Departs from Sun Valley Lodge at 8:20am (other pickup locations available)
Other Travel Options
Winter weather may last longer than a day meaning that getting a flight into Sun Valley may take a bit longer if you are diverted. Other options worth considering include flying into an alternative destination like Boise, Twin Falls, Idaho Falls, or Salt Lake and making the drive yourself. Boise is only a 2.5 hour drive away, Twin Falls 1 ½, Idaho Falls 3, and Salt Lake City 5. It may take longer but it’s sure to get you to Sun Valley on time to enjoy your vacation!
For more details on fly to Sun Valley check out our page below
At the End of the Day
Depending on how you look at it, Sun Valley has the privilege and detriment of not being located on a main freeway artery nor do we have an international airport a stone’s throw away. However, we are fortunate a commercial airport with nonstop flights to 6 major cities and a free bus service dedicated to getting you here and back as smoothly as possible. At the end of the day, your travel day may be a bit longer if you are diverted but we hope that the journey will be worth the effort!