Weather Impacted Flights

SUN Passenger Advisory

Snow is what winter in Sun Valley is all about, and we love getting lots of it. But occasionally, extreme winter weather will affect flights into and out of our airport (SUN).

Weather-related diversions into the Friedman Memorial Airport have been drastically reduced thanks to new landing system approach technology. As a result, there will no longer be a winter busing program.

If you are traveling by air to SUN this winter, please take these steps to keep informed and updated on your flight status, and plan accordingly.

TO DO LIST FOR SUN AIR TRAVELERS
  • Make sure you have your personal contact information (email, cell phone number) on your airline reservation and use your airline’s App to monitor details on flight status and protocols. There are numerous other apps also available to track flights.

 

  • Pay close attention to messages from your airline in the event of an extreme weather event that may affect your flight. The airlines will make every effort to assist passengers in the best way possible should an unexpected flight disruption occur.

 

  • Departing SUN passengers should arrive at the airport at least 2 hours in advance of the scheduled departure, especially during bad weather and busy travel periods.
SUN ENTERS NEW ERA OF FLIGHT RELIABILITY – RESULTING IN WINTER BUSING CHANGES AT SUN

November 1, 2022

Given the success of the recently implemented next generation LPV instrument approach into Friedman Memorial Airport (SUN) utilized by SkyWest Airlines, and the proprietary RNP approach system utilized by Alaska Airlines, the winter diversion busing program will no longer be used for the Delta Air Lines, United Airlines and Alaska Airlines flights at SUN. 

The new LPV instrument approach system, developed and implemented by the Friedman Memorial Airport Authority, in partnership with SkyWest, Delta and United, has improved flight reliability and reduced weather-related operational challenges at SUN. The system came online in December 2020 on SkyWest’s E175 aircraft and has dramatically improved flight reliability the past two winter seasons that it has been in use. 

Horizon Air, which recently began operating E175 regional jets for Alaska Airlines at SUN, has been utilizing similar proprietary approach system technology since December 2016 which has also significantly improved flight reliability for the airline.

SUN Airport Director Chris Pomeroy noted that the unique diversion busing program at SUN was put in place by the airlines over 25 years ago in an effort to mitigate the challenges presented to passengers due to the high occurrence of weather-related flight interruptions at the airport. “For decades airline completion rates at the airport have suffered from less than desired reliability. The Airport Board, along with SkyWest and its major airline partners, invested in the new LPV technology to make air service to SUN more reliable. Simply put, minimizing the need for diversion busing was a goal all along with the implementation of the new approach and the airlines have now decided to discontinue the diversion busing program based on their improved reliability results.” 

In the past two years, the new LPV approach at SUN has “saved” over 180 United and Delta flights from having to divert, with only a few diverting due to extreme weather conditions. And Alaska Airlines has had very few winter flights disrupted by weather over the years since it has been using its proprietary RNP approach at SUN .

Airline officials noted that in the event that an unexpected flight disruption occurs, passengers will be assisted by the airlines via their service recovery protocol for flights affected by weather. If a carrier cannot complete a flight to SUN due to bad weather, the carrier will delay the departure of the flight or, if an aircraft is already in flight, divert to a nearby airport and wait until conditions improve, or the flight may be cancelled. In certain cases, carriers will add extra flights to reaccommodate passengers when conditions improve. 

Each weather event service recovery option, such as those already mentioned, will be decided on a case-by-case basis depending on multiple logistical factors including safety of airline passengers and flight crews. Every effort will be made by the airlines to assist passengers in the best way possible should an unexpected flight disruption occur.

Improving Flight Reliability

Airlines serving SUN have dramatically improved their flight reliability over the past few years with new technology. 
In winter 2020/21, over 95% of flights operated at SUN as scheduled.
And, although there will still be times when the weather is just too inclement for air travel at SUN, don't worry. 
We've got your back, we've got your bags, and we'll get you where you need to go!

SUN winter diversion bussing in effect Nov 1, 2021 - April 15, 2022

Occasionally winter weather will affect flights into and out of our airport (SUN). But if that happens, our community has a special diversion busing program in place that allows passengers to arrive and/or depart from an alternative nearby airport on the same schedule. If you are traveling to SUN this winter, please make sure you are informed about the diversion busing operations for your airline, which are outlined below.

We are continuing to collectively work to make the experience as pleasant as possible for SUN air travelers. And most importantly, you do get to your destination! We are very fortunate here in Sun Valley – there are only a few airports in the US where airlines offer this extraordinary level of service for travelers impacted by weather.

IF YOU ARE DIVERTED ON YOUR INBOUND TRIP TO SUN VALLEY – INTO TWIN FALLS (TWF) ON DELTA OR UNITED AND BOISE (BOI) ON ALASKA – this is the video ( the Delta/United version) that will be shown on the bus ride which describes the process and the steps to take regarding checking in for your outbound flight in case that flight is diverted by weather as well.

How our winter flight diversion
Bussing program works
****MOST IMPORTANT! ****
Please ensure you have the correct email and cell phone contact information (that you use while traveling) in your airline ticket record. 

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 motorcoach transportation to SUN.

  • Delta and United flights divert to Twin Falls, ID- 60 miles south of SUN

  • Alaska flights divert to Boise, ID – 150 southwest of SUN

Outbound Flights from 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 an alternative airport. Times will be provided on the message.  

Important note regarding traveling unaccompanied minors (UMNR):

For Delta & United: Per airline policy, no UMNR is allowed to travel via ground transportation without an airline employee escort, and since this is not a feasible option in cases of diversion busing to/from SUN, the UNMR will not be allowed to ride the bus and alternative transportation arrangements to/from the airport where the diversion takes place will need to be made by the parent, guardian or responsible adult.

For Alaska: Children may not travel alone to/from Sun Valley (SUN) between December 1 – April 1, annually.

Do not rely on airline schedule apps for flight departure information as they will not provide information on whether flights are being diverted.
*You must call the local airline Winter Operations Hotline listed below for SUN flight status and diversion busing details.* 
SUN Winter Operations Hotline: 208.788.1281, #4

Please call 6 hours before your scheduled SUN departure time for the latest recorded updates on flight status. Flights are diverted to Boise (BOI).

News for Alaska flights           

Alaska’s proprietary RNP Approach Procedure has greatly increased reliability for SEA flights to/from SUN which means very few weather diversions! 

SUN Winter Operations Hotline: 208-788-4887

Please call 4 hours before your scheduled SUN departure time for the latest recorded updates on flight status. Flights are diverted to Twin Falls (TWF) 

SUN Winter Operations Hotline: 208-788-4887

Please call 4 hours before your scheduled SUN departure time for the latest recorded updates on flight status. Flights are diverted to Twin Falls (TWF) 

After the busing program ends in the spring

Delta will fly into Friedman Memorial Airport (SUN) from Salt Lake City (SLC) and if the conditions do not allow for landing at SUN, the plane will divert back to SLC rather than to Twin Falls (TWF). If the inbound flight is not able to land at SUN, the outbound flight from SUN will be canceled and passengers will be rebooked on the next available flight.

If for some other reason a SUN flight is canceled, passengers will be assisted by local agents or they can call the airline’s reservations # for help in re-accommodation on the next available flight.