Flying Out of Westchester Airport is Both Terrible and Amazing
On a recent trip, I flew out of Westchester Airport and it was not at all what I was expecting.
Living in the Hudson Valley, there aren't too many options for air travelers. Although Stewart Airport in Newburgh has recently added some flights, there are significantly fewer routes available today than there were a few years ago. This has forced many of us to either travel up to Albany or down to the NYC area to fly to many destinations.
On a recent trip to Florida, I wound up booking a flight out of Westchester. It's another regional airport, similar to Stewart, located in right next to the Connecticut border in Rye Brook. As we approached the drop-off area I was struck by how similar it looked to Stewart Airport. Once inside, however, those similarities ended.
It's really small... I mean, REALLY small
My first impression was just how tiny this airport is. After breezing through security in less than a minute we decided to explore the waiting area and find options for lunch. This is when I realized just how different this experience was going to be.
The Westchester Airport's waiting area felt smaller than the Poughkeepsie train station. There was just one big room with a bunch of benches. Surely, I thought, there was more... but I was wrong. This was pretty much it.
As far as food options go, there's only one. A gift shop/coffee shop/market/bar is tucked away in a tiny corner. If you're waiting for a plane, it's the only place to get something to eat.
There was a refrigerated case with a selection of salads and sandwiches to go. To my surprise, the food was actually pretty delicious. I had a turkey sandwich on a high-quality roll that was superb. My son grabbed a caesar salad with grilled chicken that he completely devoured. The food was way better than anything we were able to get at the Orlando airport.
Once boarding began it was pandemonium. Because there's limited space in this airport, lining up to get on your flight is extremely difficult. We had to take our carry-on luggage and wind through aisles of seated travelers just to make our way to the gate which was shoulder-to-shoulder with people waiting for the flight. Even if you're not concerned about COVID, being forced to be smushed right up in everyone else's faces is not a pleasant experience at all.
If you can't get a flight out of Stewart, Westchester airport is much more convenient than driving to Albany or NYC. If you're traveling during a time of year when the weather isn't a huge concern, Westchester is a solid choice. Although it's small, the food is pretty good and security seems to run pretty smoothly. However, if your plane is delayed for snow or other issues this is probably not a place you'd want to spend several hours waiting.
I would most certainly travel out of Westchester again, but during the winter I will most likely head to Newark instead. Although the trip is longer, the larger airport is less likely to have snow delays, and if they do there are plenty of other flights and airlines to switch to. Also, the huge terminal has an endless variety of food, bars and things to keep you entertained while you wait.
Have you flown out of Westchester airport? We'd love to hear what your experience was like. Tell us all about it on our Facebook page.
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