air transportation

Bret Jaspers/WXXI News

Upstate airports may have a lot at stake with the recently announced plan to renovate LaGuardia Airport in New York City.

Flight slots into New York City are highly coveted by the airlines, according to Mike Hall. Hall manages the Ithaca Tompkins Regional Airport. He said that who gets which slots are determined by the airlines, airports and federal regulators.

The regional airports in Ithaca and Binghamton would both lose their air traffic controllers if federal budget cuts known sequestration take full effect. The first round of closures begins April 7th.

The airports in that group, which includes Ithaca Tompkins Regional airport, staff their towers with private contractors.

Zack Seward / WXXI

When Delta Air Lines and U.S. Airways agreed to swap gates last May, early word was that many upstate air travelers were in for an upgrade.

Starting Sunday, Delta will offer four new daily flights from Rochester to New York's LaGuardia. Delta says other upstate airports are in for the same.

"Albany, Syracuse, Rochester and Buffalo," said Delta's Jim Van Woert. "Pretty much the same type schedules - four dailies into LaGuardia, all keeping their Kennedy connection service as well."

For frequent travelers to New York City, the move means Delta jet service from Rochester to LaGuardia will likely replace the U.S. Airways turboprop flights currently offered to LGA.

In Rochester, the swap represents a net gain in daily seats to LaGuardia, according to airport officials.

Other upstate cities, however, might not be so lucky.

PBS NewsHour is once again collecting details about holiday travel delays, to track the worst security lines and provide travelers with a preview of what they're in for when they get to the airport.

Here's how it works:

  1. Tweet the conditions at the security line (like how long it took you to get through) at your airport. Include the hashtag #TSATime and your airport's three letter code (like ROC for Rochester, BUF for Buffalo, SYR for Syracuse, ALB for Albany, BGM for Binghamton, and ELM for Elmira/Corning).   
  2. Be specific about the delays - include anecdotes, observations, and pictures, if you can take them. The TSA has strict rules about photos.  More details and examples are available at NewsHour.
  3. If you're transferring at an airport where you'll have to go through security again, use the widget below to determine how the delays are looking. No upstate airports are included, but if you're transferring at Chicago's O'Hare or New York's JFK, you'll be able to get the details as soon as you land. Safe travels!

Rachel Ward / WXXI

This summer, Innovation Trail partner station WXXI has been traveling to the Finger Lakes to meet the people who live in the region’s resort towns year-round. The idea: get a “close-up look” at the places we often just pass right through.

But close-up wasn’t good enough for me. I wanted to see these towns from above.