Boutique aces first flight out of IYK

Boutique aces first flight out of IYKBy BRIAN COSNER

News Review Staff Writer

Tuesday morning I got ready for the day and left my house as usual around 5:30 a.m. and arrived in Los Angeles a few minutes after 7:00. Well, that’s not entirely true. I rarely leave the house at 5:30 a.m. But I did get to Los Angeles in about 90 minutes – thanks to the restored air service at Inyokern Airport.

I had the privilege of being seated on Boutique Air’s first flight from IYK airport. Seven of the eight passenger seats were filled with airport officials and a handful of base employees who were east coast-bound by way of LAX.

After a well-rehearsed safety spiel from the captain, it was seat belts on and wheels up. We gently rose out of our beautiful valley for a 45-minute scenic flight over the Southern Sierra Nevada, Mojave Desert, and San Gabriel Mountains.

The experience was better than I expected for a small plane. It was loud, but tolerable, and enough time was spent on the ascent and descent that you’re restricted to your seat for the majority of the time.

But the flight was much smoother than the last shuttle flight I remember taking. And every seat is an air-conditioned window seat with a little more leg room than standard economy flights. And it’s hard to beat that bird’s-eye view of our valley.

I’ve been prone to motion sickness in smaller planes; I try and remember to take dramamine any time before going up in my uncle’s six-seater Cessna. But I skipped the medicine this time, for research purposes, and was pleasantly surprised by the smooth trip. In fact, I got more motion sick on the Uber ride down to the Venice Boardwalk than I did in the plane.

With no overhead storage, you can’t carry on as much luggage as you may like. But on the plus side, checked luggage is placed in the cargo hold and is returned to you as soon as you land – no slumming it at baggage claim.

We deboarded the plane and hopped in a Boutique van that took us to Terminal 6 of LAX. The base guys headed to their connecting flights to D.C. and I had about 4 hours to kill.

I called an Uber to take me to the boardwalk where I had a leisurely stroll on the beach before the crowds got too unmanageable. I laid a nice foundation for a sand castle before being joined by a handful of kids. It didn’t take long to realize that my ultimate vision for the castle wasn’t going to live up to theirs, so I decided to leave it to the pros and go watch from a nearby open-air cafe.

While sipping iced tea from the canopied patio, I enjoyed a good hour of people watching where I came away with a few key observations.

- I’m comforted by the fact that rollerskating is still alive and well in some places.

- If you think you have the cleverest idea for a unique tattoo, someone in Venice Beach probably already has it.

- I really need to go running more.

Knowing I would have to go through security again, I headed back to the airport with plenty of time to spare (stopping for In-N-Out on the way, of course). Getting through security and overly-intimate TSA agents was expectedly terrible, but finally I made it back to the gate for my return flight.

I’ll admit the return trip was by no means as pleasant as the initial flight. We got tossed around pretty good from about the Lancaster/Palmdale area until we touched down at IYK. But by all accounts, this has everything to do with the uneven heating of the afternoon atmosphere in our area, and nothing to do with the airline.

Afternoon flights may prove too much for the overly-anxious, but next time I’ll prepare with some dramamine and be good to go. Boutique’s complimentary snacks and beverages eased the blows of the very few cons.

Airport Manager Scott Seymour said they hope to include flights to Las Vegas sometime within the next six months, and perhaps even farther east in the future.

All-in-all, the opportunity to avoid L.A. traffic is pretty hard to pass up and I bet that wasn’t my last flight with Boutique.

Whether you want to get away for a day (there is an additional return flight time later in the afternoon), or are connecting to a longer flight, I’d definitely say it’s worth the price. For more information, visit www.boutiqueair.com.

Story First Published: 2017-08-09