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Friday, December 2nd 2016

"I'm a travel junkie who's hooked on deals from YUL." - Chris Myden



2012
20
December
The Official Guide For Canadians Flying Out Of U.S. Airports (from Montreal & area)


This guide will attempt to encompass everything someone living in the Montreal area might want to know about flying out of U.S. airports.

If you see anything in this guide that looks incorrect, out of date, or could just simply be improved with better info, please don't hesitate to contact me and I'll fix / update it.

Flying out of Plattsburgh, New York (PBG)

How long of a drive is it?

According to Google Maps, Plattsburgh airport is about 72 minutes from Montreal (103 km each way). map link

Don't forget to account for border-crossing times in each direction. You can find estimated wait times online.
estimated wait times at U.S. border
estimated wait times at Canadian border

Tips:

- If you travel to the States a lot you may wish to get a NEXUS card for $50 (US) for 5 years and eliminate the line ups at borders and airports. [Info on how to apply for NEXUS]

Are there good deals to be had?

Plattsburgh is served by 3 airlines, Allegiant Air, Spirit Airlines, and Pen Air.

strengths:

Allegiant Air can have low prices to Florida and Las Vegas (the only destinations they fly to from PBG).

Spirit Airlines can have low prices to select U.S. cities (Las Vegas being the most popular choice). Spirit also flys to Central and South American destinations such as Colombia, Guatemala, Nicaragua, and Peru) and a few Caribbean destinations (Aruba, Jamaica, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Cancun). But you should also know that Spirit is generally considered the worst carrier in North America. Not in an unsafe way, just as low-frills and budget as it gets when it comes to comfort.

Pen Air flys to various destinations in Alaska, and to Boston.

weaknesses:

It's a regional airport, so it's strengths are serving the relatively few destinations listed above, served by those three airlines. Also, when comparing costs, be aware that Allegiant and Spirit charge extra for absolutely *everything*, including even carry-on luggage now.

How much would I have to save for it to be worth the drive?

This is a tricky question, because the answer is different for everyone, based on the variables involved. But costs you should consider factoring into your comparison (besides the roundtrip flight price) include:

- extra fuel costs (how fuel efficient is your vehicle?)
- baggage costs
- parking your vehicle at the airport
- cost of hotel if it requires an overnight stay
- how much your time is worth
- extra vehicle depreciation

I've created an Excel spreadsheet to help calculate what the true savings are when flying out of Plattsburgh:
click here to download the spreadsheet in Excel format
or
try the U.S. Airports Savings Calculator via Google Docs

screenshot: (click to enlarge)

Go to the YUL vs PBG worksheet and enter in a few variables to calculate what your true savings would be. Using common averages, I've found that if the flight from Plattsburgh is about $50/person less than a similar flight from Montreal, the average person is only breaking even.

In my opinion, when the flight from Plattsburgh is at least $150 less per person than the flight from Montreal, it becomes worth the drive. This is based on my calculations using average factors, and 2 people in a vehicle. You can see the example in the spreadsheet that was used to draw this conclusion.

How much is parking?

Parking is currently $5-7/day, according to the Plattsburgh Airport website.

Is there any public transportation from Montreal to Plattsburgh (PBG) airport?

Greyhound.ca offers bus service to Plattsburgh airport for $42 roundtrip.

Links

Plattsburgh Airport Website


Flying out of Burlington, Vermont (BTV)

How long of a drive is it?

According to Google Maps, Burlington airport is just under 2 hours from Montreal (156 km each way). map link

Don't forget to account for border-crossing times in each direction. You can find estimated wait times online.
estimated wait times at U.S. border
estimated wait times at Canadian border

Tips:

- If you travel to the States a lot you may wish to get a NEXUS card for $50 (US) for 5 years and eliminate the line ups at borders and airports. [Info on how to apply for NEXUS]

Are there good deals to be had?

Burlington has a few major carriers, such as Delta, United, and US Airways. They also have JetBlue and seasonal service from Porter.

JetBlue is perhaps the most interesting, as it is a low-cost airline that serves a wide variety of destinations, and is one of the few low-cost airlines that people seem to like flying! They serve most major U.S. destinations, and are partnered with other airlines to offer destinations around the world.

Occasionally, a really great deal will come out on one of the major airlines (Delta, United) and not be available from Montreal, meaning Burlington becomes the closest U.S. departure city for it to be available from.

How much would I have to save for it to be worth the drive?

This is a tricky question, because the answer is different for everyone, based on the variables involved. But costs you should consider factoring into your comparison (besides the roundtrip flight price) include:

- extra fuel costs (how fuel efficient is your vehicle?)
- baggage costs
- parking your vehicle at the airport
- cost of hotel if it requires an overnight stay
- how much your time is worth
- extra vehicle depreciation

I've created an Excel spreadsheet to help calculate what the true savings are when flying out of Burlington:
click here to download the spreadsheet in Excel format
or
try the U.S. Airports Savings Calculator via Google Docs

screenshot: (click to enlarge)

If you've downloaded the Excel file, please note that you will need to switch to the YUL vs BTV worksheet at the bottom of Excel.

Go to the YUL vs BTV worksheet and enter in a few variables to calculate what your true savings would be. Using common averages, I've found that if the flight from Burlington is about $125/person less than the flight from Montreal, the average person is only breaking even.

In my opinion, when the flight from Burlington is at least $225 less per person than the flight from Montreal, it becomes worth the drive. This is based on my calculations using average factors, and 2 people in a vehicle. You can see the example in the spreadsheet that was used to draw this conclusion.

How much is parking?

Parking is currently $12/day at Burlington Airport.

At Thrifty Parking the rate is $10/day. You can find coupons to bring this down to $9/day.

Depending on your situation, you may also want to look at Park Sleep Fly deals which can save money and can be more convenient if you need a hotel for the night. For example, a room for 1 night + 21 days of parking for $150.

Is there any public transportation from Montreal to Burlington airport?

Greyhound offers bus service to Burlington airport for $50 roundtrip, and takes about 2.5 hours each way.

Links

Burlington Airport Website


See Something Wrong?

If you see anything in this guide that looks incorrect, out of date, or could just simply be improved with better info, please don't hesitate to contact me and I'll fix / update it.









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3 Responses to "The Official Guide For Canadians Flying Out Of U.S. Airports (from Montreal & area)"


    Has Peggy been here?
       Peggy on December 20th, 2012

    The family often uses Allegiant as we can drive from Montreal - no hotel needed.
    The parking is cheaper and close to the terminal and the big bonus is NO line ups at the airport.
    It is worth the drive and just a more relaxing start to a holiday.

    Has Cathy been here?
       Cathy on December 20th, 2012

    Thank you - I might try flying to Vegas out if Plattsburgh one time - I usually use Ottawa because it is cheaper than Montreal. Hmmmm I love all your info - think I am addicted to travel sites!

    Has Clee been here?
       Clee on December 20th, 2012

    it is so much more relax to fly out from BTV than YUL.
    Used it twice already. Will try PBG soon.

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