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April 15, 2010

I dislike flying. Who doesn’t these days, what with all the security hullabaloo and fees-upon-fees?

But I have an aviation BFF: Western Nebraska Regional Airport.

It just tickles me that the airport code is BFF. Sure, “BFF” probably stands for “bluff” and not “Best Friends Forever,” but it sure is a friendly little airport.

The one time I flew into Scottsing, our itty-bitty plane pulled right up to the airport building. It was just like parking a car. Walk about three steps into the building, and there’s the sole baggage carousel.

Flying out of BFF, you have two destination choices: Alliance, Nebraska, or Denver.

The security staff are very polite, probably due in part to the natural congeniality of folks around here, and in part to the fact that there isn’t a whole lot of air traffic, so there are fewer stress-inducing passengers. (One problem with the lower passenger volume: air operations are subsidized by the Essential Air Service program, and if passenger levels fall low enough, there’s a risk that the subsidy would go away.)

If you happen to be stranded because of wicked weather bucking over the Rockies, the airport has free wireless internet access to keep you entertained.

There’s also art to look at, including some mesmerizing kinetic sculptures just out front. (Such a perfect building-garnish for windy western Nebraska!)

And if you happen to be stranded in the earlier part of the day, or if you’re just rattlin’ around town looking for a congenial place to eat breakfast/lunch, you can dine in the Skyport Restaurant and Lounge.

From Skyport, you can watch the planes take off and land, or look around at the avation-themed artwork on the walls.

The food’s pretty good, too. All of the “grease” and “carb” food groups are well represented.

The menu has a little bit of healthier stuff like fruit, too. But let’s be honest. Who wants that healthy stuff anyway?

At times, you may wind up waiting a long time for a coffee refill or to pay your tab, but the waitstaff is very attentive if they know you need to catch a flight.

I dropped husband off at the airport two weekend mornings in a row, and we ate breakfast at Skyport both times. It was a very homey feeling when the waitroid recognized us and knew that we’d want coffee right away.

About the coffee: I’d heard rumors of this awful thing called “Nebraska coffee” . . . coffee that you can see through. The first time we dined at Skyport, I could, to my horror, see through the pot of “coffee” that the waitroid was pouring. But the next weekend, the coffee was a normal consistency. Must have been a fluke.

Yes, it can sometimes seem like Scottsing is a long way from anywhere, but our friendly little BFF helps keep us connected.

Copyright 2010 by Katie Bradshaw

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