When travel was a luxury available to few, the travel experience was luxurious. Many earnest backpackers get to Europe armed with their rail passes only to discover that while the train may get them from Amsterdam to Venice quickly, it won't look like an Agatha Christie novel. The train is merely the conveyance that gets passengers from point A to point B. As the nostalgia for olden times train travel grows, so to does the market for recreations of the old train carriages and experiences. These experiences are generally out of reach for the average person, regardless of how much the idea might interest her.
And while in recent years business-class only airlines have come and gone and talk of charters and fractional ownership arise, the average person who just would prefer that her ride from Dallas to Chicago not resemble a Calcutta (Kolkata - I never remember which is currently correct) bus ride is simply out of luck.
For years I heard the praises sung for Westchester Airport and I turned up my nose. Please. An airport need be able to service non-stops to Tokyo or it simply doesn't count. How quaint, your tiny airport can chauffeur you all to the Vineyard for the weekend. That sort of thing. That was, until I flew from Westchester Airport.
Now it is true, if you want to fly a distance of greater than say, 1500 miles, you should not fly out of Westchester. And frequently our journeys are greater than 1500 miles, but when we went to Miami and were able to take a 10 minute cab ride to the airport, allowing us to leave our house 1 hour and 10 minutes before takeoff; when we realized there were only, maybe 500 other people at the airport facilitating quick check-in and security; when I realized that owing to the tiny size of the airport, the planes would be smaller and therefore sit only two across; well, let's just say my opinion changed. Dramatically.
Flying out of Westchester Airport is the closest the average Joe (and by average Joe I guess I mean average Westchester/Fairfield average) can get to easy flying. I take no responsibility for the return trip (dear god, Fort Lauderdale, could you be a less pleasant airport?), but that outbound leg? Pretty damn near perfect.
When we were in Egypt, we both remarked on the absolutely wondrous airport in Sharm el Sheikh which only caters to tourists and is therefore spotless, efficient, and designed to inconvenience you as little as possible. While older, and therefore not as state of the art, Westchester Airport reminds me of this. Which is why I was absolutely delighted, when booking tickets last night, to discover that for precisely $0 more, we could fly to Charlotte, NC from Westchester as opposed to LaGuardia. It actually means we save money as the round trip cab from our house will be so far less than the cost of parking our car at Laguardia. So we make money on the deal and it's delightful.
So I apologize, Westchester County Airport, for all the times I turned my nose up at your provincialness. I'll have to schlep to JFK or Newark for the big trips, but I'll be checking you first for all the small ones!
2 weeks ago