I Want to Get Away, I Want to Fly Away (Part I)

(Cue this tune before reading).

We’ve already established that I love me some Albs, but sometimes a person needs a new view or a break from the cacophony of the 24-hour news cycle.

When those times come, residing in the Capital District provides one with an exceptional number of different options when you decide to fly to your destination. There are close to 10 airports reachable from Albany in less than four hours of driving. I believe I’ve flown from each of them now, and here are my impressions.

Albany International:

This is the dream. I can be there in 20 minutes, even with traffic, and they offer valet parking at no extra charge beyond the anticipated gratuity. I took advantage of that service in January when I flew nonstop to Ft. Lauderdale over a holiday weekend. That was my first Jet Blue experience, and it was really positive. I paid a fair $300 for my round-trip ticket, and my car was semi cleared of snow when I got home. (This is no small thing after a very day of travel).

Unfortunately, flying out from Albany isn’t often possible because the fares are frequently much higher than those at every other airport within reason. (For me, anyway).

After a couple of recent trips, including Rome in 2018 and Palm Springs, CA last Christmas, my second choice comes as a surprise to me, because in the past I’ve described Newark airport as an armpit.

But I’ve had a change of heart about Newark, and the reason is based purely on the ease of getting there – particularly when one is traveling solo. Amtrak – Penn – Newark. It’s easy, affordable for individuals or couples at about $100 round trip, and makes for a great arrival spot when you come in on the red eye.

The next two airports are a tad connected in mind because earlier this year I was scheduled to fly from one of them, and three weeks prior to my trip I had to completely rebook at the other.

Stewart Airport in Newburgh, a former Air Force case in Orange County, (shout out, GWL!), has become very popular over the past several years due to the presence of Norwegian Airline, a discount carrier with some phenomenal rates for Europe, in particular.

I had flown Norwegian (from Newark) last year and had no complaints, so I didn’t hesitate to book another flight with them this year when I wanted to travel to Ireland for Easter. But Norwegian got hit hard as a result of the Boeing debacle, and was forced to rebook or cancel many of their customers’ trips because so much of their fleet was unavailable.

Luckily, I was able to snag an Aer Lingus ticket from Bradley in Hartford, for just a bit more money and a bit more driving.

Despite my recent rescheduled trip, I do have experience flying from Newburgh, but that was quite some time ago. I imagine things are more developed than when I flew to California from there in the 90s, but what remains the same is this – it’s a fast drive down the Thruway (or maybe even a train to Beacon with an Uber across the river), and parking is historically less expensive than at airports in more urban areas – like JFK or Logan – for sure.

Bradley Airport in Hartford, CT, is an often overlooked airport, I believe. Over the years, I’ve flown domestically and internationally from Hartford, and they do a pretty good job.

I neglected to book long term parking in advance when I went to Dublin in April, and was shut out of the lot where I had intended to leave my car. Fortunately, they have lots o’lots of spaces available, and I found another option easily and quickly. Definitely add this airport to your searches – a few years ago I saved quite a bit by flying to Florida from Bradley rather than Albany.

My next suggested airport would have to be Logan in Boston. As a downstater, it probably took me 15 years of living in Albany to even consider Boston as a departure point, much less a favorite, because my go-to for international flights was always JFK. You know, and the Yankees.

Logan, though, has grown on me. It’s a straight shot on the Mass Pike and, as long as you’re expecting it, the inevitable rain when driving on Rte 90 just serves to slow folks down a little.

My biggest complaint about Logan is the long-term parking garage situation. We always wait a length of time for the shuttle, and my car is absolutely filthy when I return. If I’m paying $170 for my car to sit somewhere unattended for a week or 10 days, would it be too much to ask them to have a car wash available?

I’m sure that sounds more princess-y than I mean, but I’m talking so covered in dirt that the lights are compromised. DIRTY. That criticism aside, Logan is ok with me.

Keep your eyes peeled for Part II of Silvia’s writing on local airports and travel experiences.

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