Frequently Asked Questions

General Information

Arriving Passengers

Departing Passengers

Security

Pets & Service Animals

Airline Terminal

Misc. Airport Information

Tips for Holiday Travelers

 

General Information and Questions

What time does the Helena Regional Airport Terminal open?
The Airport terminal is open from 4:00 am to 12:30 am daily (or after passengers from the last incoming flight have departed each night). Please contact your airline directly to determine how early you should check in for a flight. The Security Screening Checkpoint opens at 4:30 am and closes after the last outbound flight departs.

What does the Helena Regional Airport Authority do to support and promote airline service to Helena?
The Helena Regional Airport Authority recognizes that for an airline to operate in Helena, it must be financially successful.  To achieve that, the airline must have good load factors (full planes) and make a profit.  The Airport Authority makes every effort to ensure that rates and fees charged to every airline serving Helena are affordable and as low-cost as possible.  The Airport Authority incorporates non-aeronautical revenue sources into the operating budget to ensure that rising airport operating costs are covered without passing on significant fee hikes to our airlines, which may make them less profitable in Helena and could jeopardize service.  The Airport Authority is always looking for opportunities to increase air service to benefit the community, so long as it can be viable, sustainable, and does not adversely affect the current airline service.

How can I find out about employment at the Airport?
The Helena Regional Airport Authority employment opportunities are normally posted in the Helena Independent Record.  Job opportunities may be available with the airlines, Captain Jack’s Restaurant, the rental car companies, Transportation Security Administration, and general aviation organizations; jobs with the airlines or other Airport entities are handled directly by those organizations. 

Arriving Passengers

Are there any hotel accommodations at or near the Airport?
There are no hotels on Airport property, however, there are numerous hotels throughout the Helena community.  Hotel information is available through the Helena Area Chamber of Commerce.  

I need a rental car. What are my options?
Five rental car companies are located in the main passenger terminal directly across from the baggage claim area, making it convenient for passengers to pick up their luggage and go. Click on the link for our rental car listing. 

What if my luggage is lost or damaged?
Contact the airline on which you arrived.  In Helena, SkyWest Airlines handles both Delta and United flights and can be reached at 406-495-1100. Alaska Airlines can be reached at 406-442-0930.  Be sure to save tickets and baggage tags until your bags are returned.  Click on our Baggage link for more details. 

Does the Airport offer a parking lot where I can park and wait for my passenger?
The Helena Regional Airport offers free parking in the short term lot for up to an hour – the short term lot is located at the east end of the terminal.

Where can I check on the status of an arriving flight?
Flight information can be found on the flight information displays located in the main terminal or on our home page.

Can I pick up an arriving passenger at the curbside?
Yes, but federal regulations require that vehicles are not left unattended at the curbside. We recommend that you use the free short term parking available directly east of the terminal building. 

Can I meet an arriving passenger at the airline gate?
As a general rule, only ticketed passengers are allowed beyond the Security Screening Checkpoint. However, if you are meeting a person who needs assistance or a minor traveling alone, you may go to the airline ticket counter and request a “gate pass.”  Gate passes allow for one adult to meet an incoming passenger, require photo ID to obtain, and are issued at the discretion of the airline.

Departing Passengers

How early should I arrive at the Airport?
You should arrive a minimum of 90 minutes prior to your scheduled departure time to allow adequate time for check-in and security screening.  During peak travel times, including the early morning departures, please allow additional time. For holidays, including Christmas and Thanksgiving, we suggest you allow up to two hours.  Check your airline’s website for additional check-in information.  It is important that you go through the Security Checkpoint promptly after checking in at the airline kiosk or counter.

I bought my ticket online, what should I bring?
You will need your confirmation number and your picture ID.  International flights may require additional identification, including a Passport. Contact your airline to be sure.

Do I need a photo ID to board my flight?
Yes, airlines and the Transportation Security Administration require that passengers aged 18 and over present a government-issued photo ID.  Passengers without proper identification may be denied boarding.  For an international flight, a passenger must present a valid passport, visa or other required documentation. 

Does my child need to show identification?
Children under the age of 18 traveling domestically are not typically required to show identification.  However, as each airline has its own requirements, please contact your airline directly to confirm its ID requirement for minors.  A passenger traveling to locations outside the United States is required to have a valid passport, regardless of age.

What are the rules regarding carry-on luggage?
Carry-on restrictions may vary by airline or aircraft type.  Please contact your airline to inquire about carry-on luggage

Can I go to the gate with a departing passenger?
Generally, only ticketed passengers are allowed beyond the Security Screening Checkpoint.  If you are accompanying a person who requires assistance or a minor who is traveling alone, you may go to the airline ticket counter and request a “gate pass.”  Gate passes allow for one adult to accompany an outgoing passenger, require photo ID to obtain and are issued at the discretion of the airline.

What if I lost my ticket?
Lost ticket policies vary according to the individual airline; information is available through the airline websites.

Security Information

Which carry-on items are currently prohibited?
Please view the current list of Prohibited Items from TSA.

I have a security-related question.  Who do I contact?
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is responsible for the security checkpoint at the Helena Regional Airport.  Security-related comments should be directed to the TSA at 406-449-5450.

Will the security screening damage my photographic film?
For more information about traveling with photographic film, please visit the Photographic Equipment and Film page on the TSA website.

Do I need a boarding pass to get through the screening checkpoint?
Yes. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) requires that all passengers have a boarding pass and a photo ID to pass through the Security Checkpoint. Passengers may check in online, at the ticket counter, or at one of the automated kiosks located near the ticket counters. 

Pets and Service Animals

Is a pet service animal relief area available?
A Pet Relief Area is available near the Short Term Parking Lot east of the Terminal – the area is marked with a sign.

Who do I contact to ship a pet as cargo?
Please contact the airlines directly. Click on our Airline Information tab for airline phone numbers and websites.

Terminal Information

How do I get to the Airport?
The Helena Regional Airport is in the northeast section of the City of Helena, near Interstate 15, Exit 193. 

Is there a Lost and Found service at the Airport?
Lost and found items are taken to the Airport Administration Office.  To inquire about a lost item, please contact the Airport Administration Office at 406-442-2821. Office Hours are Monday – Thursday 8:00 am. – 5:00 pm and Friday 8:00 am – 4:30 pm. TSA retains some items that may have been left behind at the Security Checkpoint.  TSA may be contacted locally at 406-449-5450.

Where can I leave my luggage?
You must keep luggage with you at all times.  Unattended baggage will be removed and impounded.

Does the Airport have a Business Center?
The Sleeping Giant Business Center is located across from Captain Jack’s Restaurant in the Terminal.  The Business Center is open to the public and features free wireless and hard-wired internet service, courtesy of Montana Internet Corporation and Tempest Technology.  The Business Center provides a work-friendly space or a place to just relax and watch TV.

Are there any ATM’s located at the Airport?
An ATM is located on the main level of the terminal, near the Sleeping Giant Business Center.

Is smoking allowed in the Airport?
In accordance with Montana law, Helena Regional Airport Authorty is a smoke-free facility. Smoking is not permitted within 25 feet of the passenger terminal entrances. Cigarette receptacles are located outside the terminal near the entrances.

Is wireless internet access available in the terminal?
Free Wi-Fi Internet access is available throughout the terminal, however the Wi-Fi signal is strongest near the Sleeping Giant Business Center.

Miscellaneous

How many runways does the Helena Airport have, and how long are they?
The Helena Regional Airport has three asphalt runways and one grass landing strip. Runway 09/27 is the primary runway, with a length of 9,000 feet and a width of 150 feet. Runway 05/23 is for general aviation aircraft and is 4,641 feet long.  Runway 17/35 is a cross-wind runway for general aviation aircraft and is 2,988 feet long.  Helena also has a grass landing strip parallel to runway 09/27, which is 1,800 feet long and is mowed and irrigated.  Overall, the Helena Regional Airport has a large amount of airfield pavement – over 5.5 million square feet – all of which requires maintenance including snowplowing, paint markings, and asphalt repair.  There are over five acres of paint on Runway 09/27 alone! 

The following shows a comparison with other airport runways around the country:

 Airport

 Longest  Runway

 Helena, MT

 09/27 – 9,000 ft.

 Fargo, ND

 18/36 - 9,000 ft.

 Idaho Falls, ID

 02/20 - 9,002 ft.

 Missoula, MT

 11/29 – 9,501 ft.

 San Diego International

 09/27 – 9,401 ft.

 Gallatin Field (Bozeman, MT)

 12/30 – 8,994 ft.

 Glacier Park (Kalispell, MT)

 02/20 – 9007 ft.

Are there plans to extend or build new runways?
The Helena Regional Airport Authority completed a Master Plan Study in 2010.  Part of this study included a review of airfield infrastructure, including a study to show the aircraft fleet mix in relation to the length of Runway 09/27. The study concluded that the runway length is adequate for the planning period of 20 years, however that could change depending on the aircraft fleet mix using the airport. 

Can larger aircraft, such as a Boeing 747, land in Helena?
The Helena Regional Airport can easily accommodate 747′s, as well as most other wide-body aircraft.  In fact, in the spring of 2011, a test flight of a Boeing 747-800 cargo plane landed in Helena. The type of aircraft that typically arrive at the Helena Regional Airport include Canadair Regional Jets, DeHaviland Dash 8′s, and various cargo aircraft and general aviation planes. The Airport is also the home to one of the largest aerial firefighting depots in the United States; as a result, we frequently see many specialized firefighting airplanes and helicopters. Various military aircraft utilize the Helena Regional Airport in conjunction with the Montana National Guard’s presence on the airfield.  Occassionally, large military aircraft such as a C-17, C-5, or C-130 fly into and out of the Airport in support of the Montana National Guard’s operations.