The first time I ever flew was my junior year of college. It was from New York to California with three layovers. I knew next to nothing about gates, terminals, and TSA or how to navigate any of them – luckily I was travelling with a friend.
I knew the next time I flew I was going to have to give it the old post-college try – on my own. (Apparently, that’s a thing adults do. Go figure.)
What I didn’t know was that the opportunity would come around quite so soon.
One of my closest friends goes to school in Boston, and I hadn’t visited her since the summer after we graduated high school. This summer, we both decided this needed to change!
Usually, when I travel to visit a friend for a weekend, my first instinct is to drive myself or take bus. I never considered flying such a short distance. But when I learned how affordable PenAir’s flights were from Plattsburgh International Airport (PBG), I decided to do the math, realizing it would actually be cheaper (and quicker!) to fly rather than take a bus or train. Not to mention, if I could avoid the hassle of driving myself into a city, I was going to.
So I booked a roundtrip flight for $150. I would leave Friday at noon and return Sunday at 7pm.
The PenAir staff at the PBG airport was super friendly the morning of my departing flight. Because I would only be in the city for two days, I packed light. And by “light” I mean it was just me and my hot pink Adidas backpack, full-on Dora the Explorer status. I got to the check-in counter expecting to pay the $25 fee to check my bag, but it turned out it met the weight specifications for a carry-on. SCORE!
I had arrived at the airport the recommended 1-hour before takeoff, so after I passed through TSA (where they were also super friendly), I waited near my gate upstairs and charged my phone. Naturally, I had to pop into the bathroom for a pre-flight mirror selfie (also a thing adults do, trust me), which I proceeded to Snapchat using the airport’s free WiFi.
Boarding began on time (YAY!), and once we were all boarded and stowed, the flight attendant began the spiel about what to do with your lifejacket should the plane unexpectedly descend into open waters (oddly this simultaneously instigated and calmed my flying anxieties). I think she could tell I wasn’t a frequent flyer by my facial expression and was nice enough to check in with me a few times throughout the flight.
Once we were up in the air, I enjoyed my complementary Diet Coke and pretzels while catching up on the latest issue of DoNorth Magazine. I hadn’t event turned the last page before the announcement came over the loudspeaker that we were descending into Boston. Boy, those 45 minutes really flew (HA, get it?)!
Right when I left the gate and passed through TSA, there was an information booth, where I asked for how I could purchase a Charlie Card. In preparation for this trip, I read in an article that this is what the locals call a subway pass. I also read that it would have been very “tourist-y” and #uncool to ask about “subway” passes, because the subway is actually called “the T”. Although, the mere fact I didn’t know where to purchase said Charlie Card was probably a dead giveaway in and of itself. It turns out there’s a free shuttle – the Silver Line, or SL for short – that takes you to South Station, where you can connect to the other lines running through the city. This is the same shuttle that travels between the different terminals at the Logan Airport for travelers with connecting flights. The shuttle worked out really well for me, since I had the afternoon to explore the city before my friend got out of her internship.
After a fun few days spent at museums, shops, and Fenway, I was ready to make the journey back to Plattsburgh.
Getting back to Logan Airport was the hardest part! Once I was inside Terminal B, it was easy to find the Pen Air gate.
I was a little nervous about the possibility of needing to check my bag this time, since I got a little too excited in the Forever 21 on Newbury Street. But, in the end, my trusty backpack passed the weight test, and was all good.
The flight back was listed as an hour and half on my ticket, but it really only took about an hour. Plenty of time to appreciate my second free Diet Coke and bag of pretzels.
When we landed and unloaded at PBG, I headed to my car and tossed my backpack in the passenger’s seat. By the way, parking only cost $24 for the three days I was gone, $8 per day.
I drove home from Plattsburgh Airport happy with my experience. It was one I’d love to relive again! And now that I know how easy and quick it is to fly from PBG to Boston, I’m sure I will.