An article in today’s Burlington Free Press discusses the Burlington International Airport’s challenge of trying to persuade an airline–any airline–to add a route between Burlington and Boston. I was really glad to see this article, because it’s on a topic that I have long been frustrated by. Right now, we have no direct flights between these two cities, which is CRAZY. Anyone who wants to fly to Boston has to take a flight to New York, suffer through a layover there, and then fly to Boston. So it winds up taking as long as (or longer than) it would to drive the distance. A direct route would make so much sense. For Burlingtonians who want a weekend getaway in a bigger city, Boston would be a popular choice. For Bostonians who want a weekend getaway in a less urban area, Burlington makes sense. Much business is done between Burlington and Boston.
Some might say the 4 hour drive isn’t so bad, so why do we need flights? Well, that depends on how much you enjoy driving, especially alone. I’m sure I’m not the only person who looks at the 8 hour round trip drive and decides it’s just not worth it. I’d rather make the 4 hour round trip drive to Montreal. As a vacation traveler, at least I have the choice to decide not to drive the distance.
For those who regularly do business in Boston, that 8 hour round trip is not just a time waster; in the winter time, it’s dangerous. I work with a guy who was recently in a bad car accident because he had appointments scheduled in Boston on the day of a major snowstorm. If it had been me, I’d have canceled. But he’s a real trooper, so he went anyway. To make a long story short, along the way, he lost control of his vehicle on the slippery interstate and rolled it end over end. Miraculously, he walked away from that accident. But he is lucky to be alive.
New England is a treacherous place to drive in the winter time. Weather is unpredictable. When you’re driving 4 hours from Burlington to Boston or vice versa, you’re actually driving through different weather patterns. The sky and roads could be perfectly clear in your departing region, but somewhere along the way, they turn deadly. Flying from one destination to the other is simply safer–and a direct route would be so much quicker. Even if it costs more, I would much rather see our traveling officers take direct flights between Burlington and Boston in the winter time, as a means to avoid a tragic accident. Imagine how much more business could easily be done between the two cities if they were just an hour away by plane.
It wouldn’t just benefit business travelers, either. As a leisure traveler, I would love to spend more time in the Boston and Providence area for long weekends, but I certainly won’t drive down there in the winter time by myself, and even during the nicer months, it’s a long, tedious drive alone. I find driving anything more than 3 hours round trip to be really fatiguing when I’m alone. I’d just much rather fly.
I understand that airlines have to make a profit these days and apparently, none of them have decided that the Burlington to Boston route is profitable just yet, but I hope that changes in the near future. That flight would really open up a lot of opportunities for people who are currently stuck with a long drive, intolerably long days flying via a connecting airport, or nothing at all.