At the height of the summer season the Nantucket Memorial Airport is the second busiest airport in Massachusetts, just behind Boston’s Logan International Airport.
Flights leave Hyannis from the Barnstable Memorial Airport every half hour and take only 15 minutes flying time – in good weather – before touching down on Nantucket. Local airlines make the jump across Nantucket Sound all year and include Nantucket Airlines, Island Air, and The Nantucket Shuttle. Cape Air flies between Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard, Boston, Providence, and New Bedford. If you are flying in from further away, you can make a connection to US Airways or Continental Express. Charters can be booked with Ocean Wings, Nantucket Express, and Trade Winds Aviation.
Flying to Nantucket has its own distinct charm. On a clear day it offers a bird’s eye view of the islands and surrounding waters. ACK is the aeronautical designation for Nantucket. Once upon a time you only saw it on your airline tickets as you flew from, say, HYA (Hyannis) to ACK or BOS (Boston) to ACK. These days it is used as a sort of all-purpose code for the island. It can be found on baseball hats and sweatshirts, book covers and CD covers. Sometimes you can even see it used for its original purpose.
If you want to send your golf clubs or your surfboard ahead, Luggage Forward (617/923-3923) is just what the name says, a luggage forwarding service.
If you get to Hyannis it only takes 15 minutes to fly to the island on what the airport calls air taxis. The local guys are Nantucket Airlines, Island Airlines, and The Nantucket Shuttle. Between them you have the choice of over 50 flights a day, just about every half hour beginning at 6 a.m. A one-way ticket on both Nantucket Airlines and Island Air will cost you $52 or $91 round trip, There are senior citizen, children, and military discounts that make the fares $40 one-way and $80 round trip. If you are coming to the island on a regular basis, a discount book is a good buy at $400 for 10 one-way tickets. The new guy on the block is The Nantucket Shuttle, which offers $40.95 one-way tickets, with $29.95 fare on several flights daily. Senior citizens are $35 one-way and $70 round trip.
Getting here from Boston is almost as easy. Cape Air, the sister airline of Nantucket Airlines, flies from Logan International Airport year round. They can get you to Boston in about 45 minutes at a ticket price of around $147. They also fly here from Martha’s Vineyard, Provincetown, New Bedford, and Providence, Rhode Island.
U.S. Airways flies from Boston via Colgan Air on a seasonal basis. They also operate daily-round trip service to the island from Ronald Reagan National Airport, with an extra trip on Saturdays, and four daily roundtrip flights from New York (LaGuardia) and Philadelphia ˆ twice daily on Saturday. Linear Air (1-877-2-LINEAR) offers shared charters that fly from Teterboro, NJ, and Bedford, MA, (Hanscom AFB).
Continental Express flies from Newark Airport under the banner of Express Jet. Trade Winds Ocean Wings Air Charter (1-800-253-5039) and Nantucket Express (508-364-4277) offer charter flights.
And this summer two major carriers are extending the coverage to Nantucket. JetBlue and Delta both have plans to offer service from JFK to the island.
According to a press release, Delta will be flying two round-trips
between Nantucket and JFK from June 14 through Sept. 8 on Embraer ERJ145 jets, which seat 50 passengers.
JetBlue commenced its service in May, offering service between JFK and the Island. Flight time is about an hour and twenty minutes and fares range from $79 to $279.
Cape Air's Daffy, a Cessna 402 painted by air brush artist Jürek, awaits passengers at Nantucket Memorial Airport.
Nicole Harnishfeger / The Inquirer and Mirror