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FlyHIA Blog

Traveling with Kids: Survival

Subscribe to RSS 0 Comments Nov 23 : 12:00AM

As we enter one of the busiest travel weeks of year, we are reminded that travel for a child is still a magical experience.  We, as adults, have been jaded over the years with all the rules, regulations and the less than stellar experiences in certain airports.  But to a child, the whole event is something special.  Many of us, who are parents, take more of a survival approach to the process.  Our staff has compiled a list of tips and tricks of the trade for surviving travel with children:

  1.  Pack your patience:  It will prove time and time again to be your biggest asset in the travel process.  We know the old adage that kindness goes a long way; lead by example and always remember that those little eyes are watching every interaction. 
  2. Snacks:  Pack lots of snacks, especially chewy ones for those take-offs and landings.  Snacks are hard to come by these days on airplanes, so it’s best to pack your child’s favorite.  If you can pack something that you don’t normally let them have a lot of, even better.
  3. Entertainment:  Make sure the tablet, e-reader or smartphone are charged and ready to go.  Download your child’s favorite television show or movie (depending on the length of trip).  If you can limit the usage of the electronics prior to your trip, your child will be all the more happy to play or watch when you hand it to them.  Don’t forget the headphones!
  4. Small Toys:  Pack a surprise toy, something small that your child can open when you’re on the plane.  That should buy you some quality time. 
  5. Extra Clothes:  Can’t hurt to pack an extra set of clothes for your children, especially the younger ones.  You never know when a sippy cup could spring a leak or a snack “gone wrong.”  It’s better to pack that change of clothes than sit there with a wet, sticky child. 
  6. Illness:  Not sure about your family but more times than not whenever we plan a vacation, someone gets sick.  It’s best to pack your child’s medication and take it along, just in case.  No one wants to stop a vacation to try and track down your child’s cough syrup. 
  7. Seat Arrangement:  Our staff recommends separating the kids when flying.  Choose your seats wisely so each can have a window. 
  8. Schedule:  If at all possible try not to schedule flights too early in the morning.  It’s best to try and keep to a normal sleep/nap schedule. 
  9. Germs:  Always, always pack hand sanitizer and wipes.  Wipe down the seats before you let the kids climb all over.  No guarantee it will prevent illness, but it can’t hurt!
  10. Let the Kids Help:  Give your child a job to do; incorporate them in the experience with age appropriate jobs.  If your suitcase rolls and your child is big enough, make them in charge of pulling it to the counter.  Assign your child the responsibility of remembering where you parked.  All these things will help your child feel important and ease any anxiety.

Tags: air planes, family travel, family vacation, flying with children, Harrisburg International airport, holiday travel, kids

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Veterans Day 2015

Subscribe to RSS 0 Comments Nov 11 : 12:00AM

As we take a moment on November 11th to honor our Veterans, let us not forget the role of the airport in supporting our county and troops for over 100 years.  It can be the place for the highest of highs and the lowest of lows.  On a daily basis we see parents sending their children off to basic training, we watch the new recruits fall in line with their oversized backpacks and the manila folders.  Some are confident and walk with a spring in their step, others are leery, and you can tell this is their first time flying and probably their first time away from home.  We hope our smiling faces bring them a little comfort as they take their next step in life.

Other days we see moments of complete joy and relief when a loved one returns home from training, deployment, etc.  The anxious family member paces around the star mosaic, constantly watching flight information boards, and that moment of complete joy when they see their loved one round the corner of the exit lane.  These are the moments that help us keep going. 

And then we have the moment like last week, the moment when we welcomed home our brother in a flag draped coffin because he paid the ultimate price for our freedom.  Cpl. Martin King was returned home last Saturday after he went missing 65 years ago, as a 17 year old solider.  Cpl. King was a prisoner of war in Korea and starved to death in a prison camp at the age of 18.  His remains were returned to the United States in a heap with other POW’s and took years to identify.  Where the story gets even more moving is the fact that Cpl. King was the youngest of 14 children, born in Tower City, PA, and given away by his family because they couldn’t care for him.  He enlisted at the age of 17, deployed, and never heard from again.  The family that stepped foot on HIA’s tarmac on Saturday didn’t even know he ever existed.  But the fact that we could bring them all together 

again was very powerful.  The story of this young man has now been told by countless news outlets, our pictures have reached more than a quarter-million people on Facebook, and a family has been reunited after 65 years. 

Our daily efforts go unnoticed much of the time, but never forget that all you do matters in making HIA an Altogether Better place.  

Tags: None

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HIA Welcomes the World

Subscribe to RSS 0 Comments Jul 20 : 12:00AM

Summer 2015 has brought quite a bit of international activity to Central Pennsylvania.  Beginning two weeks ago with the U.S. Women’s Open in Lancaster, a number of competitors of which were from overseas; this week brings 10,000 delegates from the World Mennonite Conference, followed by the Mecum Auto Auction next week and the Little League World Series in August to Williamsport, PA.  All these events will bring international attention to the region.    

An airport’s role is to provide the region it serves with access to the global marketplace.  Every day American, Delta, United and Air Canada provide about 50 flights between HIA and global hubs with connections to practically any destination on the globe.  2014 was a record travel year for International travelers at HIA with more than 80,000 served.  Between January and March 2015, nearly 120 people a day have arrived and departed to and from international destination.  The most popular have been Toronto, Cancun, Montreal, Shanghai and St. Thomas.    

Since July 15th, planning committee members and delegates attending the World Mennonite Conference have arrived at HIA and caught shuttles to area hotels and colleges.  So far, arrivals have been from nearly 25 different countries including Paraguay, Mozambique, Tanzania, Cuba, India, South Korea and Nicaragua.    

As local economies expand globally, International travelers are a key to maintaining current airline service and play an important role in ongoing efforts to bring new flights to our region.    Also, international visitors stay longer and spend more money while visiting than do visitors from other parts of the United States thus creating a significant economic impact. 

As you fly in or out of HIA this summer, please look around and welcome those from different parts of the globe.  We want their stay in our region to be memorable, exciting and as easy as possible.  Thank you to our regions CVB’s, meeting planners, conference venues, hotels and attractions for working hard to put our region on the global map.  And thank you to our airline partners for providing access to global hubs with connections to every continent on the earth.  Combined these efforts are what put the International in Harrisburg International Airport!

Tags: airport, community, Harrisburg International airport, international travel, MDT, summer travel, tourism

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Altogether Better Changes Happening at HIA!

Subscribe to RSS 0 Comments Apr 20 : 12:00AM

If you have visited HIA recently, you may have noticed some exciting changes that will help to make the airport Altogether Better:

  • New American/US Air Ticket Counters – as part of the integration of the two airlines, American and US Airways are operating under one certificate and now share a new ticket counter at HIA.
  • Air Canada now has its own ticket counter at HIA and has moved to Gate B4 for arrivals and departures.
  • New, more efficient lighting has been installed in the car rental area of the parking garage, making it brighter and easier to locate vehicles.
  • Long term parking shuttle – GPS units were installed in all the long term parking shuttles and a monitor is located along the curbside pickup area so passengers can see when the next shuttle will be arriving. 

Tags: Air Canada, air travel, American Airlines, HIA, terminal

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Spotlight On: Building Operations

Subscribe to RSS 0 Comments Apr 15 : 12:00AM

Plumbing, HVAC, locksmith, building repairs…these are just a few of the daily tasks the building maintenance crew works on order to make HIA Altogether Better for all our passengers, tenants, and vendors.

The building maintenance department is made up of 14 people who cover all the buildings at HIA and the surrounding properties. The department also assists at the other SARAA owned airports as needed. The department is headed up by Mark Hake, who has been with HIA since 2000 and started out as a plumber and carpenter with the airport.

One of the biggest tasks for the department is maintaining the HVAC systems, which is critical to keeping the terminal and jet bridges a comfortable temperature for passengers. Fluctuating outside temperatures, large windows and many doors opening and closing during the day, add unique challenges to the task.  The department also does a lot of preventive maintenance for the 10-year old terminal building including jet bridge maintenance and general inspections. The department is also often assisted by Ken and Steve from Airfield Maintenance for certain tasks.

One job many people are surprised to learn building maintenance is responsible for is snow removal on the sidewalks, parking lots and streets at HIA.

Thank you Mark, Bill, Kevin, Fred, John, Howard, Stan, Bob, Terry, Tim, Ryan, Nestor, Robert, and Paul for all you do to help make HIA Altogether Better

Tags: equipment, Harrisburg International airport, MDT, snow

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HIA Traffic up in February 2015

Subscribe to RSS 0 Comments Mar 26 : 12:00AM

February 2015 traffic up

A total of 89,597 passengers used HIA during February 2015—a 2.6% increase when compared to February 2014.  Year-to-date traffic has totaled 182,123 passengers which is 2.3% increase when compared to the first two months of 2014.

“Delta, American, Allegiant, and Frontier all served more passengers this February than February 2014,” said Edwards.    Click here to see February by the numbers.  

International Bookings up 12.4% in January

There were nearly 7,100 International travel bookings at Harrisburg International Airport (HIA) during January 2015 (most recent month for which data is available) an increase of 12.4% when compared to January 2014.  Toronto, Cancun, St. Thomas, Shanghai and Mexico City were the region’s most popular foreign destinations. 

The combined American and US Airways served 34% of HIA’s international travel market followed by United, Delta and Air Canada.  “Providing international travelers to our global airline partners is extremely important to maintain and grow flight options at HIA,” said Tim Edwards, executive director.  “While International travelers make up only about seven percent of all passengers, they generate about 15% of all airline revenues.”

HIA Intl Bookings



% Change





















Central America








South America




Middle East













Source: Sabre


HIA Announces Date of 3rd Annual Open House

SARAA announced August 22, 2015 as the date for it's 3rd Open House.  "With over 5,000 attendees in 2014, we are very excited to see the excitement carried over to 2015," said Scott Miller, Deputy Director, Business Development and Strategic Marketing.  The airport opens the airfield to the community for a static display of aviation equipment as well as airport equipment.  The event is rain or shine from 9am-2pm, Saturday, August 22, 2015.  Visit for updates.  

Tags: air travel, aircraft, airplanes, airshows, equipment, Harrisburg International airport, international travel, MDT, SARAA,

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Making HIA Alogether Better

Subscribe to RSS 0 Comments Mar 13 : 12:00AM

Everyone knows Harrisburg International Airport is the convenient choice. However, we are working to make the HIA airport experience Altogether Better. What is Altogether Better? To us, Altogether Better means easy access, ample parking, shorter lines at check-in and security, a clean and safe facility with quality food, news and gift choices, free Wi-Fi, and flight options to get you where you need to go. We believe an airport shouldn't be confusing or stressful.

Yet, every day, people have questions or something unexpected arises.

Department Spotlight – Customer Service

“Where are the rental cars located?” “Where do I get the shuttle to long term parking?” “What hotels are nearby?” “Can you tell me when my family member’s flight will arrive?” These are just a few of the many questions our customer service staff answer as they help the 3,500 people a day who choose HIA.  Whether dealing with flight delays and diversions or simply helping a plane full of families returning from Disney, the HIA customer service staff work to make the passenger and visitor experience Altogether Better by providing timely answers and pointing people in the right direction. The customer service team answers HIA’s main phone line, staffs the information desk, and works in the Susquehanna Club, HIA’s frequent flyer club located in concourse A. Our customer service staff has more than 25 years of experience and plays a crucial role in keeping airport operations running smoothly.

Here are some tips from our customer service staff on how to make your time at HIA Altogether Better:

1.       Write down the row number or take a picture of where you parked so you can easily find your vehicle.

2.       If you are picking someone up at the airport, make sure you have their flight number so we can help you check the status.

3.       Put something on the exterior of your suitcase to make it easily identifiable – all those black suitcases look alike!

4.       If you are staying at a hotel, make sure you have the name and address as there are many hotels from the same brand in             the area.

Thank you for choosing HIA. We look forward to seeing you again soon! 

Customer Service Team

Lola, Al, Cheryl and Carol







Tags: communication, customer information, customer service, employees, Harrisburg International airport

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Cargo at HIA

Subscribe to RSS 0 Comments Mar 11 : 12:00AM

Many people do not realize that Air Cargo is an important part of HIA’s business.  In fact, because FedEx and UPS do the bulk of their flying at night, many times people do not notice the UPS and FedEx planes sitting at the cargo ramp, toward the east end of the airport. In 2014, HIA had just shy of 100,000 tons of cargo flown in and out of the airport.  

Due to the amount of warehouses and manufacturers in the region, there is significantly more outbound cargo than inbound cargo. Everything from electronics and household items to temperature controlled medical products are flown in and out of the region daily. FedEx brings approximately 23,500 tons of air cargo into the region annually and UPS brings approximately 22,800 tons.  Additionally, some cargo is delivered by private planes and on some of the larger passenger planes. 

Typically, air cargo is flown in from Williamsport and Scranton and is combined with cargo delivered by truck. It is then flown by FedEx to New York, Indianapolis and Memphis, or by UPS to Louisville. During the holiday season, UPS will add a daily 747 flight to the regular schedule. Check out this video from December 15, 2014, when it arrived for the season.



Tags: airplane, fleet, Harrisburg International airport

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Air Route Development at HIA

Subscribe to RSS 0 Comments Mar 11 : 12:00AM

We are often asked what SARAA is doing to bring new airline service or destinations to HIA. On a regular basis, SARAA staff is monitoring airline activity, researching regional business travel trends, and building relationships with airlines to hopefully convince them to offer more flights to/from our region. The process of getting a new destination (and particularly a new airline) is a lengthy one, many times taking years.

Based on conversations with businesses in the region and in looking at trends and opportunities, we are currently trying to gain new service to Houston, Dallas, and Minneapolis. If service to any of these markets is important for your company, please let us know! As mentioned above, it helps us build a stronger business case for service when we have specific data on the business connections and regular travel patterns between Harrisburg and other markets.

Should you have any questions or if you have any travel ties you wish to share, please contact Marie Cartwright, Manager of Business Relationships at or 717-948-3900.

Tags: Air Service Development, airport, business travel, community, dfw, nonstops, planning

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Nearly 1.3 Million Passengers Connect to the Global Economy

Subscribe to RSS 0 Comments Jan 28 : 12:00AM

The purpose of Harrisburg International Airport is to provide global air access for our region.  During 2014, 1,289,487 passengers spent more than $300 million on airfare at Harrisburg International Airport (HIA) when flying between our region and more than 300 destinations worldwide.  Chicago remains the airport’s most traveled business destination, while Orlando is number one for leisure travelers. Total international bookings increased nearly 20 percent overall.  Generating more international traffic and revenue will be critically important for our region to bring more airline service to the region.

Domestic travel Highlights

Air Canada, Allegiant, American, US Airways and Frontier all posted increased passenger traffic at HIA in 2014 compared to 2013.  The traffic declines posted by United and Delta generated a slight decrease in passenger traffic compared to 2013.  United’s decline was as a result of the elimination of service to both Cleveland and Newark while Delta eliminated service to Cincinnati.  Both airlines continued to tweak their route networks in 2014 as a result of recently completed mergers.




Pass Percent Change vs. 2013

US and AA















Air Canada











Orlando Intl






Orlando – Sanford






Tampa – PIE





International travel highlights

Sabre estimates that International bookings to/from HIA increased 19% between January and November 2014 when compared to the same period in 2013.  When combined, US Airways and American (which are in the process of merging) become the airports top international carrier with 36 percent of the international travel market followed by United (29 percent), Delta (24 percent) and Air Canada (10 percent).  Interestingly, bookings to Mexico City increased by 75 percent in 2014 when compared to 2013The ten most popular destinations in 2014 were:












Mexico City


Punta Cana






Montego Bay




Generating more international traffic and revenue for these four global network airlines will be extremely important to maintain and grow flight levels at HIA.  

Tags: air travel, Allegiant, American Airlines, business travel, Delta, Harrisburg International airport, international travel, Orlando, United

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