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Letter from the Editor: Reaching New Heights

by on May 31, 2019 12:38 PM

A recent vacation trip to St. Maarten gave me a renewed appreciation for University Park Airport.

A 12-minute drive to the airport is a beautiful thing when you have a flight that leaves just after 6 in the morning. It’s hard to beat parking about 20 yards from the terminal and then breezing through check-in and security within a few minutes. Even removing shoes for TSA seems less of a hassle when the line is short.

The experience coming back home was equally smooth. Arriving in State College at 10:45 p.m. after a long day of flying, it sure was nice to grab the bags and be home a half-hour after the plane landed.

Of course, SCE – to use University Park’s airport code – does not feature international flights; you’ll have to connect somewhere if you’re headed out of the country. In our case, that meant a connection in Philadelphia.

But in recent years, the number of flights to and from four major hubs – Philly, along with Chicago, Detroit, and Washington Dulles – has grown. This has given local residents many more options to get where they’re going, anywhere in the world, without having to drive several hours to a major airport.

But challenges remain.

More direct flights to key destinations in the United States – New York City, for example – would be welcome by business and leisure travelers alike. As a regional airport with service to larger hubs, however, there are limitations that are difficult to overcome.

Cost is also an issue cited by some travelers. The counter-argument is that when factoring in the cost of time and travel to more distant airports, as well as parking fees (vs. a drop-off at University Park), the local option becomes more attractive. Additionally, more travelers figure to bring costs down over time.

For us, a 50-minute flight to Philly rather than a 3½-hour drive, an overnight stay at a hotel (or a middle-of-the-night departure from home), and a week’s worth of parking charges made the added plane fare easy to take.

As Holly Riddle writes in one of our featured stories this month, University Park Airport is seeing record numbers of travelers and has some big plans for the future.

You’ll see some changes in the months ahead, and others – maybe even a new terminal – could be down the road a few years.

So, keep an eye on our local airport. From more jets to new ideas, there’s lots taking flight at SCE.

 

 

 

Mark Brackenbury

Editorial Director

[email protected]

 

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