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Seaplane flights from NYC’s East River to suburban DC start next month

Aug. 16, 2022
3 min read
Seaplane flights from NYC’s East River to suburban DC start next month
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There will soon be a new way to travel the congested southern portion of the Northeast Corridor.

Tailwind Air is launching amphibious seaplane flights between New York's East River and Maryland's historic College Park Airport (CGS), which is located just outside of Washington, D.C.

The flights start Sept. 13 and will be operated using eight-seat Cessna Grand Caravans with floats attached, though those won't be needed for arrival to landlocked College Park.

Tailwind launched service between the East River and Boston Harbor last year. With the new flight, Tailwind will serve the entire Northeast Corridor. It's also selling one-stop through tickets between Boston and Washington with a stop in New York.

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Flights on the NYC to D.C. route are on sale from $395 one-way, and Tailwind is running a free companion ticket promotion. Tickets purchased through Sept. 10 for flights departing between Sept. 31 and Dec. 21 are eligible for a free companion ticket when using the code "TWDCBOGO," though some restrictions apply.

Flights between New York (SkyPort Marina at the eastern end of 23rd Street) and College Park Airport — which is walking distance from the Green Line on Washington's Metro system and about a 30-minute drive from the U.S. Capitol — will take between 80 and 90 minutes. The flight will operate between one and two daily round trips.

"Adding College Park, in the Washington, D.C., area to us is an exciting next chapter for us as we aim to bring the Northeast together again in a faster way," Peter Manice, Tailwind's director of scheduled services told TPG in an interview.

College Park Airport, which is also near the main campus of the University of Maryland, is the world's oldest continually-operating airport, having seen its first operations in 1909. Its single runway is very short — just 2,607 feet — which could mean possible weight restrictions on the hottest of summer days, Manice said, though he was generally unconcerned about any significant operational impacts.

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The College Park Airport (CGS) near Washington, D.C., is used by general aviation aircraft. (Photo by Sarah L. Voisin/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

Manice, who is also a co-founder of Tailwind, sees the seaplane route as a viable competitor to rail service, particularly Amtrak's popular high-speed Acela Express.

More: The new seaplane service between New York and Boston on Tailwind Air

"We think it's going to be considerably faster than anything that Acela can do, or that the commercial air airlines can do — very similar to what we do up in Boston," he said. Most Acela trains between New York's Penn Station and Washington's Union Station take just under three hours.

The airspace around D.C. is heavily restricted for security reasons, an issue that foiled Tailwind's original plans to land in the Potomac River. But that won't upend its latest plan to fly to the Maryland suburbs, according to Manice.

He said that the operator worked with the Federal Aviation Administration and Transportation Security Administration to obtain the necessary clearances to operate into and out of College Park. Manice also added that Tailwind is not giving up on its Potomac aspirations.

"One day we'll be in the water in the Potomac, hopefully," he said.

Featured image by DAVID SLOTNICK/TPG
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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Apply for American Express® Gold Card
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Terms & restrictions apply. See rates & fees
Best for the well-traveled foodie
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.
4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
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    Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.

    60,000 bonus points
  • Annual Fee

    $250
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Excellent/Good

Why We Chose It

There's a lot to love about the Amex Gold card. It's been a fan favorite during the pandemic because of its fantastic rewards rate on restaurants (that includes takeout and delivery in the U.S.!) and U.S. supermarkets. If you're hitting the skies soon, you'll also earn bonus points on travel. Paired with up to $120 in Uber Cash (for U.S. Uber rides or Uber Eats orders) and up to $120 in annual dining statement credits at eligible partners, there's no reason that the foodie shouldn't add this card to their wallet. Enrollment required.

Pros

  • 4x on dining at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets (on the first $25,000 in purchases per calendar year; then 1x)
  • 3x on flights booked directly with the airline or with Amex Travel
  • Welcome bonus of 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first six months

Cons

  • Weak on travel outside of flights and everyday spending bonus categories
  • Not as useful for those living outside the U.S.
  • Some may have trouble using Uber/food credits
  • Few travel perks and protections
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
  • $120 Dining Credit: Satisfy your cravings and earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the American Express® Gold Card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment required.
  • Choose the color that suits your style. Gold or Rose Gold.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees