Guest Column: Take a trip to Denver on Hooters Air

How could you pass up this opportunity—fly to Denver, Colo., for $50?

The new Hooters Air route from Rockford to Denver launched its first of many flights Feb. 3 at 11:15 a.m.

My friend and I decided to go…why not— we’d never been to Denver before, and we had heard it was gorgeous.

You may ask yourself, why would two girls want to fly Hooters Air? Well, we weren’t the only ones—as a matter of fact, there were all age ranges and about equal of the gender ratio.

The whole Rockford Airport experience was WONDERFUL!!!

We parked for free—checked in and went through security all in a matter of 15 minutes. It was GREAT! No bus trip, no outrageous price gouging for parking and no waiting in lines.

The president of Hooters Air, Mark Peterson, and a host of Hooters Girls greeted us. They were all very charming, cute and handing out free gifts. (Free gifts are always a good thing!)

The flight took off a few minutes late, but from there everything was smooth sailing (or flying).

There were four Hooters Girls on the inaugural flight, and I had the pleasure of sitting next to one. Her name was Erika, and she had been working for Hooters since the restaurant came to Rockford a few years back. Erika told me she was selected from a group of 20 ladies who applied for the position to fly on Hooters Air. The new group of 12 women take turns rotating throughout the week in the restaurant and flying to different destinations.

You may ask—which all of us wondered—are the Hooters Girls the flight attendants? No, they are, as Erika put it so eloquently, “here for entertainment and hospitality purposes.” There are trained professional attendants, and yes—even stewards (a male flight attendant on Hooters Air, who’d have thought!)

The flight to Denver was quick…we had a nice lunch, after which we were “entertained” with trivia questions and had the chance to win prizes. I am now the proud owner of a Hooters Air hat, thanks to my quick hand and knowledge of the wondrous Rockford golf courses.

We did not, however, take home the prize for making a Hootie Hoot Owl out of paper napkins…mine actually looked like a gremlin—poor thing.

At the Denver airport, the Hooters Air flight was welcomed with open arms. I felt like I had a HUGE family waiting for me when we arrived. Everyone was all smiles and “Welcome to Denver.”

From there, the friendliness continued throughout our trip. Denver residents were extremely sociable and friendly. From people we met on the tram, on the rental car bus, the rental car lady to shopping and even dining at Wendy’s!!!

We shopped, we toured, we shopped, we toured, visited the mountains and we shopped…

We stayed at the Ramada Inn on Colfax, which was a great buy at $50/night. It was in the heart of the city, and it was a main road through town. You can find your way around easily from Colfax.

There is much to see and do in Denver, besides shopping… brewery tours, wine tours, driving distance to the slopes for skiing and snowboarding and mountains for climbing, white water rafting, balloon rides, skydiving, gold mining, Six Flags Amusement Park, sports-Colorado Rockies, Denver Broncos, The U.S. Mint (must call ahead on this one, we found out), a lively downtown historic district complete with night clubs, boutiques and eateries and the cultural museums, Denver Zoo and galleries.

We could not possibly take it all in one weekend…but we tried!!!

If you have never been to Denver, given the opportunity, take the flight from Rockford to Denver. The whole experience was great, relaxing and the views …breathtaking.

Luan Dean is a Rockford resident.

From the May 25-31, 2005, issue

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