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Is it Worth Flying out of Westchester Airport?

With long commutes, endless security lines, and packed crowds at major New York City airports, it’s easy to fantasize about a small, quiet airport and an easy check-in.


In fact, one exists: Westchester Airport, located just over 30 miles from Midtown Manhattan and three miles from White Plains, New York. But is the journey worth it? We’ll assess based on several factors: destination, cost, travel time, and amenities.


Is It Worth Flying Out of Westchester?

Destination


The most obvious limitation of Westchester is that, being a small airport, there are few direct flights, and destinations are limited to the East Coast and the Midwest. Assuming you’re not one of the lucky people flying to the Cape Cod area, your potential destinations are:




  • Chicago, via American Airlines and United

  • Atlanta, Detroit, and Orlando, via Delta

  • Various Florida destinations including Fort Lauderdale, Orlando, and Tampa, via JetBlue

  • Charlotte, Philadelphia, and Washington D.C., via U.S. Airways.

Cost

You might expect a smaller airport handling fewer flights to be more expensive. It is, but prices vary surprisingly.


For ease of comparison, we used Skyscanner to compare the cheapest direct, one-way flights between Westchester and Chicago between June 12 and June 18 with flights from all New York City airports on the same dates (we ran the comparison on June 9).


Flying to Chicago out of Westchester is not cheap, to say the least. The cheapest daily flight to Chicago cost an average $553, compared to just $146 for New York City airports. The price came down if you added a stopover, but that undermines the convenience of going all the way to Westchester.


But the situation was different if you were flying to Orlando: the cheapest direct flight out of Westchester set you back an average $198, compared to $202 for New York City area airports.


One possible explanation for the difference is competition between Delta and low-cost carrier JetBlue (flights to Tampa, a route JetBlue has to itself, are more expensive). It’s also possible that since Chicago is more of a business destination, Westchester is serving primarily business customers who want to fly from near where they live, and airlines are pricing accordingly.


Travel Time


Without traffic, Google Maps says the journey to Westchester takes 45 minutes from Midtown. While that’s more than the 28 minutes to JFK, 25 minutes to Newark, and just 15 to LaGuardia, it’s not terrible for an airport journey.


Of course, in New York, “without traffic” is a theoretical concept. And when traffic is really bad, it’s a different proposition. Around 5pm, Google Maps is reporting rush hour travel times of an awful 56 minutes for JFK, 45 minutes for Newark, and 29 minutes for LaGuardia. But at that time it takes 1 hour 21 minutes to get to Westchester, which is not very appealing.


Experience


This is where Westchester has a decisive advantage. At the time of writing, Westchester Airport had an average rating of 4.2 stars on Google Reviews, and 3.5 on Yelp. JFK’s ratings were 4 and 3.5, LaGuardia’s were 3.4. and 2.5, and Newark had a dismal 3.3 and 2.5 stars from reviewers.


Passengers preferred Westchester to avoid the crowding and stress of NYC airports. They also found it very quick and easy to get through security (however, because the facilities are small, passengers report very long lines every so often).


Because it’s a small terminal, however, there are relatively few amenities, meaning it’s not a great airport to be delayed in—although NYC airports are not known for their facilities either.


Conclusion


Putting it all together, here are the factors make it worth flying out of Westchester:



  • flying to a high price competition destination, especially Orlando

  • coming from Midtown Manhattan (or further north) as opposed to Brooklyn or Queens

  • traveling at a time other than rush hour

  • strongly valuing your peace and quiet (and being prepared to pay for it)



If you are persuaded to try it, we serve Westchester Airport and would be happy to get you there.
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