from The Times Leader, Mike McGinley, Columnist (February 11, 2024)
You all know by now that I love to travel.
Apart from vacation travel which I’ve always enjoyed, I traveled for years on work trips to places like California, Ohio, Florida and more. After a few-year hiatus, I am now somewhat back into work-travel mode, which has always been a favorite of mine.
I love seeing new places and meeting different, interesting people who I can learn from. And I love getting in-person time with clients and colleagues.
My business travel was at its highest between 2013-2017, and I was regularly on planes back then. People weren’t as infatuated with their devices at that point, so we still made small talk while seated next to strangers (now it’s definitely a different story).
Of all those airline conversations, I was always most fascinated by the ones I had on my way back to the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport.
You may think it sounds crazy with the much bigger, more international airports across the country, but it’s true.
Many times I would strike a conversation with someone who grew up in the area, but was on their way back to visit family or attend a reunion. I always wanted to know what they thought about our area, how their perceptions changed once they left, and what they thought about coming back.
I honestly thought about those nice conversations when booking my travel for years and was reminded of them again recently on a trip that began and ended in the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport. Despite any naysayers, people who leave and come back talk fondly about Northeastern Pennsylvania and particularly the Wyoming Valley.
Besides the possibility of kind conversations with these types of people, there are a few reasons why I love traveling using our local airport.
• It’s a short drive home! After a vacation or work trip, I’m often tired and maybe a tad cranky. Getting in the car and driving 10 minutes is much easier than making the two-hour trek up the Pennsylvania Turnpike from Philadelphia.
• Baggage claim doesn’t take forever. If you happen to have a bag, you can bet it’ll be available to you quicker than in most other airports.
• It’s clean. I really appreciate the obvious love that goes into keeping the restrooms, terminals and waiting areas spic and span. You can’t say the same about every airport, trust me.
• The parking garage is covered and it’s a quick jaunt to the terminal. No shuttles necessary here!
• Dunkin’ Donuts is just a few steps away from the gates, and Lucky’s Craft Food and Drink is there too.
I’ve done simple direct trips to places like Chicago and have often flown to Charlotte or Newark to connect to cities farther away. I kind of like starting my morning with a short 6 a.m. flight to somewhere like Charlotte, then preparing for a longer flight to somewhere like San Francisco, which I did last week. I wasn’t rushed driving to Philadelphia, and instead left from my own backyard at a much more relaxed pace.
Consider a trip from the Wilkes-Barre Scranton International Airport when you’re planning your next adventure. While I book what’s most convenient and affordable for me usually, and I do sometimes end up in New York or Philadelphia, if I can find the right-timed flight from my local airport, that’s always my preference.
And of course I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the newly announced direct flights to Florida now available. What a treat.
Happy flying, friends.
Mike McGinley is a Times Leader columnist who is often called a man about town. Email him thoughts at firstname.lastname@example.org.