There are not a lot of airport options close to Eastern Iowa – you can consider Des Moines, Quad Cities, or bite the bullet and take a shuttle bus back to Omaha after the ride. In any case, plan to fly out on Sunday. If you’ve never done it before, know that bikes and airlines do not mix. I live in Tallahassee and after 15 years of every travel combination, I just drive to the ending town (leaving Thursday after work), shuttlebus across Iowa the day before the ride to the start, and drive home after the ride. No bike shipping, no airline hassles, less expensive. Not as practical from South Florida, I grant you.
Assuming you are on a team already it might be too late but joining a team from the Des Moines area is ideal for people living out of state. You fly in and out of Des Moines as the team has a way of getting their riders to and from the start. They might even let you ship your bike to the team member whose home serves as the team staging area saving the air fare for your bike.
Either that or the QCBC charter out of the Quad cities. (www.qcbc.org)
Consider registering with a charter group in or around the Des Moines area and fly in / out of DM.
Air fare will likely be a bit more expensive using the Des Moines airport, but you will save overall by not having to use a different charters’ shuttle bus to the starting town and back to your airport at the end. I used to fly into Omaha, and use PBV shuttle to get to the start town, then meet up with my weeklong charter. At the end of the week, I had to get the bike shipped, SOMEHOW get my luggage from the weeklong charter to PBV (last year is was several miles away) and then get the bus back to Omaha. Way too much shuffling, hustling, and running around on the last day. THis year I will fly in and out of DM and just get a hotel room there.
The QCBC Charter Service has rooms reserved at the Isle of Capri Hotel Casino Bettendorf. The casino provides shuttle service to the Quad Cities International Airport. We also have reserved free covered parking right next to the Isle of Capri Hotel Casino. We have Allied Van Lines semi to transport the bikes to the start town. We depart and return by luxury motor coach from the same location. You can ship you bike to one of the local bike shops. We will get it to load on the semi. We also provide luxury motor coach transportation from the end town back to the Isle of Capri. For more information, http://www.qcbc.org/ragbrai