As someone that’s always looking for good travel deals — well, good deals in general, since every Mainer loves a bargain — when I stumbled across this particular deal I knew I had to let people know.
The Hancock County Bar Harbor Airport, located just outside of Bar Harbor in Trenton, has long had scheduled flights to Boston and Portland for the hordes of summer visitors that descend on Mt. Desert Island each summer. This summer, however, they are adding new direct flights to Newark. And this got me thinking — I wonder if the Bar Harbor-Newark flights are any cheaper than the Bangor-LaGuardia flights or Bangor-Newark flights currently flying out of Bangor International Airport?
Turns out, at least for this summer, they are: you can fly round trip Bar Harbor to Newark via small regional airline Elite Airways for as low as $200 per person, starting June 18. The Bar Harbor Airport is about an hour from Bangor and there’s free parking for up to 60 days, so other than the $10-$15 bucks you might spend in gas getting there and back, it’s about $50 cheaper per person to fly out of Bar Harbor right now.
There are, however, still flights priced between $220 and $250 per person to fly round trip direct Bangor-Newark since BIA and United Airlines introduced that new seasonal flight, which starts July 1 and runs through Oct. 29.
All told, this summer flights from either Bangor or Bar Harbor to New York (technically New Jersey, yes, but the Newark Airport is only a 40 minute train ride from Midtown Manhattan) are the cheapest they’ve been in years. In previous years, it could cost you nearly $400 bucks per person to fly from Bangor to New York, and in many cases that includes a stop and layover in Washington D.C. or Philadelphia, turning a 1.5 hour plane ride into an $800 five-hour journey. It cost us $1000 to fly two people direct from Boston to London Gatwick this past spring. No thanks.
You also, of course, can fly out of Portland International Jetport via JetBlue to New York for as low as $160 per person — but considering you’re adding 4 hours of driving or busing to and from Bangor plus at least $50 extra for gas and parking or for bus tickets, it doesn’t really work out to be much better of a deal. And if you’re like me, and you are bound and determined to get the cheapest possible flight that involves the least amount of actual travel time, then flying out of Bangor or Bar Harbor right now is the way to go. Plus, both BIA and the Bar Harbor airport are cozy, fast and welcoming — a throwback to a time when air travel wasn’t a total nightmare — and in the middle of winter you can fly round trip Bangor to Orlando for $250 per person, which ain’t too shabby either.
Prices, routing and, well, everything about air travel in the U.S. in generally extremely confusing and usually irritating to the point of absurdity, so who’s to say why things are cheap now, and who knows when that might change? Be that as it may, now would be a great time to book a weekend in New York for a Broadway show, concert, fun trip for the kids or stop on your way to another domestic or international destination — regardless whether you fly out of Bangor or Bar Harbor.
And in the interest of full disclosure, yes, I did stumble across the Bar Harbor flight deal via an ad that appeared on the Bangor Daily News website. That doesn’t change the fact that I am a bargain hunter with mad skills at finding cheap flights online.