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Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
Far fewer charter flights for Outback Bowl
It's no Rose Bowl, and the number of charter flights scheduled to depart from The Eastern Iowa Airport later this week for another University of Iowa Hawkeyes' appearance in the Outback Bowl reflects it.
Hawks fans will be boarding two charter flights Friday and Saturday at the airport for the Jan. 2 bowl game in Tampa, Fla.
That's a far cry from the 14 charter flights that carried Hawk fans to Pasadena, Calif., last year for the Rose Bowl.
'We were sold out on the Monday after the Rose Bowl announcement on Sunday,” said Terry Tegen, general manager of Winebrenner Red Carpet Travel in Iowa City. 'This year's charter flights were sold out on the Wednesday after the bowl announcement.”
Each Boeing 737 will hold about 160 passengers. Tegen said the sharp drop in the number of fans booking bowl travel packages this year may be due to a couple of factors.
'I think the game will be terrific with a great matchup, but we've been there four times in the last 12 years,” he said. 'I also think there's a Rose Bowl hangover. I think there are people who are still paying for (their trip to) the Rose Bowl.”
The Hawkeyes will face the Florida Gators at noon Iowa time Jan. 2 at Raymond James Stadium. The game will be broadcast on KCRG-TV9.
This year's four-night deluxe Outback Bowl package was priced at $2,095 per person, double occupancy. It includes airfare, hotel accommodations, game tickets and extras like the Hawkeye Huddle fan rally outdoors at the Channelside Bay Plaza shopping and entertainment complex.
A three-night package was priced at $1,995 per person, double occupancy.
Tegen said the Rose Bowl packages cost between $3,300 and $3,500.
'That's a heck of a difference from $1,995 this year,” he said.
The charter flight on Friday is scheduled for an 8 a.m. departure, while the Saturday flight will leave at 9 a.m., according to Pam Hinman, director of marketing and communications for The Eastern Iowa Airport. Passengers will be subject to the same security regulations as those traveling on regular airline flights.
For those who did not book tickets on the charter flights, a round-trip plane ticket from The Eastern Iowa Airport to Tampa International Airport, leaving on Jan. 1 and returning on Jan. 3 and making one stop each way, will cost $739 or more, according to Expedia.
If you are thinking of driving to Tampa from Cedar Rapids or Iowa City, it takes moire than 18 hours, according to Google Maps.
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