'Granite Express' flight to take staffers, journalists to NH after Iowa caucuses

'Granite Express' flight to take staffers, journalists to NH after Iowa caucuses
© Rebecca Beitsch

Reporters and campaign staffers looking to quickly jet to New Hampshire after the Iowa caucus have a chance to grab tickets on a direct charter flight out of Des Moines at 1 a.m.

The Granite Express, a one-time charter flight launched by Washington, D.C.-based logistics expert Doug Landry, is scheduled to fly in and out of private terminals on the morning of Feb. 4.

The flight's organizers tout it as a chance for press and staffers to bypass layovers and long security lines, and they're offering more than 100 seats on the flight.


The first 30 seats, for $750 a ticket, have already been booked, organizers said. The next 30 seats are available for $950 each, followed by another 30 for $1,450 each and the final 30 for $1,950 each.

Landry told The Hill the first seats booked have all been taken by "large media organizations," but added that he’s been in discussions with “3 out of the 5 frontrunners in Iowa” since publicly announcing the charter Monday. He did not specify which campaigns he was referring to. 

“It's likely we'll end up with a fairly healthy chunk of staff on board, based on those conversations -- but the press is still the main target market,” Landry said. 

The Granite Express is not associated with a campaign or media organization. Landry most recently worked as trip director on Sen. Tim KaineTimothy (Tim) Michael KaineUSAID appointee alleges 'rampant anti-Christian sentiment' at agency Frustration builds as negotiators struggle to reach COVID-19 deal Pompeo defers to Justice on question of Trump election tweet MORE’s (D-Va.) aircraft for the 2016 general election. Kaine was Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonThe Hill's Campaign Report: Even the Post Office is political now | Primary action tonight | Super PACS at war Should Biden consider a veteran for vice president? Biden leads Trump by nearly 40 points in California: poll MORE’s running mate.

The charter plane will not have Wi-Fi access, though, which means staffers and press on the flight won’t be able to check on the Iowa results until the plane lands in New Hampshire, according to the Des Moines Register. But Landry dismissed the need for internet access on the 2 ½-hour journey out of Iowa.

"No matter whether the results are fully settled or not, there's like a 'drop dead' point where there's not so much more you can do in Iowa," Landry told the newspaper.


"I figure that, by 2 a.m. Eastern, whether the results are settled or not, nobody's watching, you know, effectively," he added.

The flight will leave Des Moines at 1 a.m. Central time on Feb. 4, an hour after caucus day, and land in Manchester, N.H., at around 4:45 a.m. Eastern time.

Ticket holders are allowed one checked bag and one standard carry-on with the cost of a seat. Additional bags, including checked camera gear, will cost $75 each.

Organizers are offering 100 percent refundable fares through Jan. 1 and 50 percent refundable tickets through Jan. 20 given the possibility of more candidates dropping out of the race before the first two states vote in the Democratic primary.

Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisMichelle Obama supporters urge Biden to pick former first lady as running mate Michelle Obama wishes Barack a happy birthday: 'My favorite guy' Harris endorses Democrat in tight California House race MORE (D-Calif.) became the latest candidate to drop out of the race on Tuesday.