American Eagle loss disappoints BIA passengers; Airline to end service in November

Jacqueline DiPinto flies into Bangor International Airport every year to visit her family in Rumford, but that may not be the case next year.

Ever since American Eagle began its jet service at BIA in 1999, DiPinto has flown from her home in California to the airport, but she refuses to make the last leg of her trek, from Boston to Bangor, in a turboprop plane. She said the turboprop engines are noisy the entire flight, there is no room in the cabin, and the plane flies so low it makes her uncomfortable.

When American Eagle discontinues its service at BIA in November, it also will end the only jet service between Bangor and Boston. Delta Airlines is the only other BIA carrier that flies to Boston, but in April, the airline replaced its 50-seat regional jet with a 19-seat turboprop plane.

"I don't know what I'll do," DiPinto, 67, said. "If I can't get here with a jet, I'll be in trouble. They are making it too difficult for older people to travel. As we get older, we lose our comfort zone when flying."

American Eagle, the regional American Airlines affiliate, announced on Tuesday that it will terminate its service at BIA on Nov. 5. At present, American Eagle flies three flights a day during the week to Logan International Airport in Boston and one flight a day to LaGuardia Airport in New York City. On the weekends, the airline flies to Boston four times a day and to New York twice.

In addition to the lost air service, Bangor will lose 89 jobs as a result of the cut.

American Eagle employees at BIA would not comment on Wednesday.

Gail Zuck was at BIA on Wednesday flying on American Eagle's scheduled 12:20 p.m. departure to Boston and said she was disappointed by the airline's decision to pull out of Bangor.

"We've always been the end of the road; it gets better and then it all changes again," said Zuck, 60, of Bangor.

Despite the announcement on Wednesday that said a low-cost carrier would bring limited nonstop flight to Orlando, Fla., area travel agents say the airport needs to do more to make up for the loss of American Eagle.

"We're still going to need someone else to give a few more options," said Donna Demmons, a travel consultant for All About Travel in Bangor. "I think they still need to do more work to get more seats with availability going to different destinations."