Transit options – Plattsburgh, New York to Montreal
Plattsburgh (PBG) airport is served by three carriers–all considered to be “low-cost carriers”:
Flights to: Boston
Flights to: Myrtle Beach (MYR), Ft. Lauderdale (FLL)
Flights to: Ft. Lauderdale (FLL), Orlando/Sanford (SFB), Las Vegas (LAS), Punta Gorda (PGD)
Alright, so you bit the bullet on the dirt cheap tickets on Spirit Air to head to Montreal but didn’t exactly think that, no matter what the liars at Spirit say, it isn’t like Plattsburgh is a suburb of Montreal — it’s fricken’ 70 miles away — a solid 90 mins.
So, the getting there is a very important part of your travel plans.
- Rent a car –
Cost: $50+/day, hotel parking $20+/day
Door-to-door time: Appx 2 hours
Renting a car can be a very good option for many people, as long as you can get a good rate. If Montreal is your one and only destination, skip the car as you can get around easier on foot or subway and you’ll skip out on expensive parking charges at the hotels. In our case, we flew into Plattsburgh but flew out of Montreal and a one-way car rental is either impossible (in the case of Hertz) or prohibitively expensive.
- Take the bus –
Cost: $20/person one-way, $10 for taxi to bus station
Door-to-door time: Appx 4.5 hours
We had planned on taking the bus from Plattsburgh to Montreal because they only charge $20 each way. Trailways of New York operates 5 trips a day for $20 a person. The trip is scheduled to take right at 2 hours but that can vary with traffic and border crossings. The downside is that with only 5 departures a day, you’re guaranteed to be doing some waiting. For example: Our flight was scheduled to arrive at 12:55pm. The next bus departure is 3:10pm which is a fairly safe amount of time to grab a cab (only about a $10 ride and 10 minutes) to the bus station, get tickets and be there in plenty time to grab a seat. But, like it or not, those 2 hours in between are totally wasted and if you miss the 3:10pm bus, your next best bet is 5:40pm–that’s not a gamble I’m comfortable taking since anytime is Plattsburgh is already much longer than I wanted to spend.The scenario is similar on the way home: to catch the 1:39pm Spirit Air flight out, you’d have to make sure you’re on the 9am bus from Montreal and there goes that day.
- Take the train –
Cost: $22/person one-way
Door-to-door time: Appx 6.5 hours
Amtrak has 1 departure/day from Plattsburgh to Montreal that takes a shocking 3 hours, 54 mins (I mean it’s a straight shot north–how is that possible, Amtrak?!). It’ll only run you $22/person but, given the fact that there’s only 1 shot to catch it a day, it’d be terrible to have a delayed flight/train to ruin your weekend.
- Take a taxi/town car –
Cost: $90 total + tip
Door-to-door time: Appx 1.5 hours
We were originally hell-bent on taking the bus, but when we jumped in the taxi to take us to the bus station, he said he goes into Canada regularly and could make the trip for just $90. Given that it was right around 4 p.m. and our bus didn’t leave until 5:40 p.m. (and then took appx 2 hours), it was a no-brainer to go the taxi route. It was just about $50 each for 2 people and it put us at our hotel in about 90 minutes. Further reassuring our decision, when we crossed the border, a Greyhound Bus was stopped with all passengers de-boarding to be processed by customs—looked like a rather terrible time.
BOTTOM LINE: Weigh your options carefully when transiting from Plattsburgh airport to Montreal (we recommend a taxi) and have a back up plan–otherwise, you might spend your first night in Montreal at a crappy Applebee’s in “downtown” Plattsburgh.