Tuesday, 21 August 2012
BUF - Your Guide to Buffalo-Niagara Int'l Airport
There is a place where people from the Toronto area go when they want to save some $$$. An hour and a half from my home is the fine city of Buffalo New York. The shopping is good, the food is terrific, the people are wonderful, and the sports are plentiful. Also, it is a cheap place to get a flight. I have flown out of Buffalo a few times, and have another flight coming up soon.
BUF is located in the Northeastern part of the city. It is very close to the main shopping mall, which Canadians know well, the Walden Galleria. Using the Lewiston-Queestown bridge it is about 30 minutes from the border, and only about 15 minutes from Fort Erie on the Peace Bridge.
Parking is plentiful. There are a few independent parking lots, but the on-site parking is good value. The terminal is small, but efficient. It is a big airport for Southwest, and they have the check-in counters to the right of the entrance. Everyone else (US Airways, Delta, United, JetBlue, AA) are to the left. The TSA line moves pretty well, and I have never had a negative experience with them. Once on the sterile side, if you are flying with US, turn left, and walk for about 5 minutes to your gates. There is a US Airways lounge at BUF. Turning right from security is everyone else. There are moving sidewalks for those who do not care for walking. There are plenty of restrooms, and BUF does a fine job of keeping them clean. Southwest has two gates, and things get pretty crowded in their area. My last flight had fog related delays, and about 5 WN flights got backed up. It was a mess!
There is no Starbucks or Tim Hortons in the sterile area, but there is coffee available. There are some of the usual suspects in the food court, but the best part of BUF is the Anchor Bar. The Anchor Bar in Buffalo is the birthplace of the Buffalo Wing. Whilst nothing truly competes with the original Anchor Bar, it is nice to get one last fix at the Airport - and you can get a bottle of the wing sauce as well.
Taxi time is a bit on the long side for a small airport, but it is nothing obscene. On takeoff you will usually get a nice view of the downtown core. I always get a kick out of flying over a city and seeing the baseball stadium. You get a nice view of Coca-Cola Field.
Taxi time on arrival is minimal. Most gates have jetways, but props don't use them.
I have never checked a bag into BUF, so I suppose I can't comment on the wait time. You do not have to wait long for your parking shuttle, and if you choose to walk to long-term parking, it will only take about 5-10 minutes. There is a NFTA-Metro city bus that goes into downtown, and a seasonal city bus to Niagara Falls NY.
I quite like Buffalo-Niagara Int'l. It is nice and bright, has nice amenities and good ramp views. From the great city of Mississauga I am door to door in an hour and a half, including wait at the border. To save hundreds of dollars, and stretch my comparatively strong Canadian dollar further, it is worth the drive.
You can pretty well fly to every hub on the eastern half of the USA non-stop from BUF. Southwest has the most destinations, but JetBlue and US Airways have pretty sizable operations at BUF. Delta has recently ramped up their LGA service. Don't expect Allegiant or Spirit here anytime soon, as they are 30 minutes north, operating out of Niagara Falls Int'l (IAG) in Niagara Falls NY.
Wings pic: http://www.ratestogo.com/blog/bar-food/