The Star-Herald

A plea for Boston flights

To the editor:

I am writing to express my profound dismay regarding the recent decision to replace the PenAir Airlines daily flights from Presque Isle to Boston with United Airlines flights to Newark.  I include several items of concern: 

  1. The medical profession in Aroostook County has developed long standing, productive, and trusted relationships with medical facilities and personnel in and around Boston.  While I am thus far able-bodied, many people who rely on commercial flights to Boston for medical purposes are not. The suggestion that “Angel Flights” can take care of those needs is erroneous; individuals with chronic illnesses do not need emergency care (we hope); they need continuous care.
  2. The schedule proposed by United is vastly diminished in terms of convenience for travelers in Aroostook County and New Brunswick. While it is possible for me to leave my home at 4 a.m. to arrive at the Presque Isle airport early enough to meet current security demands, this would not be my choice. Canadian passengers are even more inconvenienced; most of the border crossings are not open at that hour. The same is true on return flights from Newark arriving in Presque Isle between 10 p.m. and midnight.  
  3. I believe the proposed schedule also ignores safety concerns.  If you have had reason to travel the roads of northern Maine at night, you recognize the hazards of weather, road conditions and animal strikes exacerbated by night time driving.
  4. I have been able to fly from Presque Isle to Boston on Pen Air in about an hour. The Newark proposal is essentially making this leg a half-day venture. The extended travel experience for flying to Newark only to turn around and connect with another flight “bouncing back” to Boston is one that I view with distaste, both in terms of the need for an airline change and in terms of efficiency.  
  5. The mid-morning connecting flights out of Boston have been very accommodating to my needs. Additionally, my traveling relationship with the “parent airline,” Alaska Air, has been excellent. This includes efficient coast to coast travel and provisions for my elderly mother. For these reasons, Alaska Airlines has remained my first choice for connecting flights for several years. The Pen Air connection from Presque Isle has enabled me to make single airline round trip reservations with few airline changes and security area inconveniences.
  6. The price of a one-way ticket to Newark is higher than to Boston and there are far fewer connecting flights available to regions of the country to which I fly.

It is for these and other reasons that I request that you reconsider the decision to favor a Presque Isle/Newark United Airlines bid. Thank you for your consideration.

Catherine Anne Chase

Ashland

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