Cape Air offering $12 flights through the end of 2012

The airport of Lebanon, New Hampshire is one of many small airports supported via federal funding. The flight operations – to White Plains and Boston – are subsidized as are the airport’s general operating expenses. And, thanks to a quirk in the way those subsidies are calculated, the airport and the airline are running a massive promotion for the next few days in an effort to boost their passenger count to the next threshold. For the next 3 days fares between Lebanon and White Plains or Boston are only $12. The flights to/from White Plains also include transportation to Manhattan in that rate. So many passengers are booking that the airline – Cape Air – has added additional flights to get more passengers moving.

The push comes as Lebanon tries to pass 10,000 passenger departures for the year. That’s a tiny number of passengers and seems like a rather arbitrary threshold to strive for. But in the world of federal subsidies it makes a HUGE difference. Hitting that number should see the airport’s funding jump from $150,000 to $1,000,000. With that much at stake it is rather easy to see why they’re making the push.

I’m pretty sure another airline did this a few years ago in the UK or Ireland and they caught a bit of flak from the local subsidy provider for not meeting the spirit of the subsidy. Still, I think they got their money so hard to complain too much there. UPDATE: Here’s the story I was thinking about: Getting paid to fly, plus an open bar.

Oh, and the lines are pretty awesome. If I were not on my way to Asia right now I’d be booking these.

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Seth Miller

I'm Seth, also known as the Wandering Aramean. I was bit by the travel bug 30 years ago and there's no sign of a cure. I fly ~200,000 miles annually; these are my stories. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.


  1. They use Cessna 402’s on this route, with eight (8) seats. All the cheap flights seem to be sold out.

    1. I do a lot of silly things, mark. This would hardly be the most ridiculous of them.

      And thanks, Nick. I would have sworn I wrote about it but my search skills were failing me as I was putting the new post up.

    1. No earning on these flights. Their partnerships with AA/UA are specific to certain routes and only when those are purchased as UA/AA-marketed do they earn.

  2. There used to be LEB-LGA operated by USair but stopped. Honestly, I wish there will be a LEB-JFK/EWR flight. BOS is not really an international gateway.

  3. This is great unless you’re a taxpayer from somewhere other than Lebanon, N.H., and getting fleeced by the scheme.

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