Flight: After the winter from hell here in Wisconsin (damn you Polar vortexes!), April rolls around. Although we did get snow in April (we usually do), I was thinking ahead to summer and our trip. I looked into airfare and was choking. To get flight times we wanted would have been around 700$ each. We didn’t have the time to drive it, so I looked for frequent flier tickets and found them. Whew. Of course, over time they changed our flights twice. The first time our departure time out of Kalispell went from 2:30pm to 11:15am. That seemed to be the latest we could leave Kalispell on Delta. Then the second time they change our flights it went from 11:15 am to 7:30 am. Then I had a serious problem. After phone calls and emails, we were finally put back on the 11:15am flight, but will have a 5 HOUR layover in Minneapolis. In the long run, this turned out to be totally worth it as getting up at 3:30 to make our flight would have sucked. On the other hand, our flight out to Kalispell had only a one hour layover in Minneapolis, which ended up creating a lot of stress and some drama (see my full trip report for the details).
Car rental: I shopped around for car rental deals and found some AAA rates. However, the best deal was the “wild card” deal from Thrifty where they pick the car. It was 259$ for our whole stay which was more than 100$ cheaper than a compact, so I booked it. I later read about horror stories of people in Kalispell (albeit with a different company) with car rental reservations but no cars available. I was a bit nervous, so looked at booking something pre-paid. At that point, it would have been over 500$ so I just went with the original plan. The day before we left Thrifty called me to confirm my reservation and tell me that the shuttle driver would meet us in baggage claim. We were the only people on our flight with Thrifty. We got to the location- less than five minutes from the airport and were given a Toyota Corolla. I was happy since we have two Toyotas at home, but that happiness lasted until we got to Super One about 7 miles away to pick up some groceries. As we pulled out of that parking lot it started making grinding and clicking noises, so we turned around and headed back. The guy working promptly switched us to the Subaru Legacy that was sitting on the lot. It was an awesome car, and I felt like we got an incredible deal. So, not a perfect experience, but excellent customer service made it as seamless as possible.