Despite its reputation as Amish Country, Lancaster PA is home to (and near) several airports.
For anyone looking for places to land, fly, take flying lessons, and more, you can head to the local airports.
If you’re looking for a convenient location to fly into an airport near Lancaster, we have you covered there too.
Which Airport Should You Use to Visit Lancaster, PA?
In our opinion, Harrisburg International is the best choice if you can get it.
If you can’t find that, we recommend BWI since it has more route options for entering Lancaster from the southwest.
Then, we recommend Philadelphia. There aren’t many routes that can take you successfully from Philly to Lancaster, and you’re almost guaranteed to sit in traffic.
So if that irks you like it irks us, make Philadelphia your last option for visiting Lancaster.
Now, let’s take a look at the two airports that are located in Lancaster County.
Lancaster County’s 2 Airports
As we said, Lancaster County is home to two airports. They’re both pretty small by airport standards, and you probably won’t ever fly into one unless you own your own aircraft.
Still, they’re each great for their own reasons.
Here’s more about them.
1. Lancaster Airport
Lancaster Airport is the bigger and more well-trafficked airport in Lancaster County’s borders.
The airport is named for its location in the county, as opposed to being named for Lancaster City. Lancaster Airport is located in Lititz, which is a few miles north of the city.
Still, it’s frequently active and it’s been a strong presence in the county for decades.
It also flies commercial, which is surprising to anyone who’s ever seen Lancaster Airport before.
Lancaster Airport hosts about 1500 passengers per year, and it hosts one commercial airline and one charter airline. It doesn’t have much activity, but that’s a good thing since it’s located next to a business park and borders one of the busiest roads in the county.
It’s also home to about half a dozen flight schools that cater to both planes and helicopters, and every year it has a fair number of military-related flights as well.
(This is why you sometimes see Chinook helicopters and Air Force drones floating around the county.)
Still, Lancaster Airport is by no means a bustling place. It has its regular flights and airlines, but there’s a really high chance you’ll never fly out of there unless you’re in the military or getting your pilot’s license.
That’s not a bad thing, either. Lancaster Airport is just about the perfect size to serve its community, be profitable, and do a bit extra with commercial and charter flights.
2. Smoketown Airport
Smoketown airport is a small, public airport that mostly caters to local pilots who own their own aircraft. These aircraft are often small, single-engine craft located in the hangars around the airport.
While it’s called an “airport,” the size of Smoketown Airport makes it look more like a runway with a few barns nearby. It’s lightly trafficked, and aside from the pilots who like to fly as a hobby, it’s mostly used by flight teachers for planes and helicopters. .
In other words, it’s not a huge deal. It’s surrounded by residential and commercial structures, and there isn’t much in the way of restrictions. It’s just your down-home, southern-Pennsylvania airport.
Still, you may have heard of Smoketown Airport already.
Smoketown Airport had 15 minutes of infamy back in 2005 when two flyers took off to attend an air show in North Carolina. They entered restricted airspace over Washington, DC en route and were forced to land, escorted by fighter jets.
Neither of the flyers were harmed (or prosecuted), but the bungle was broadcast internationally because, as many pilots know, flying toward the White House on an unannounced flight path is a poor idea at best.
Lancaster County’s Closest Major Airports
So what should you do if you need to fly into Lancaster, PA? You probably won’t be able to go to either of the airports in the county.
In that case, these are the three closest commercial airports available to you.
3. Harrisburg International Airport
Harrisburg International Airport is the closest and smallest commercial flight option for Lancaster County.
It’s not very well-travelled in terms of commercial airports, but it’s easily the biggest airport in the tri-county area.
It hosts many of the mainstream airlines you’ve seen at bigger, “real” airports, including Delta and American Airlines.
However, the flights leaving from Harrisburg International are often in smaller jets, which have a tendency to make some people airsick.
(Just like small boats can make people more seasick.)
That’s also important to keep in mind during the age of COVID since you’ll be in close proximity with a lot of people, even by airplane standards.
Still, you can fly out to major airports like Chicago-O’Hare, JFK, Philadelphia, BWI, and more from Harrisburg International.
That alone makes it a valuable addition to the Lancaster area.
4. Philadelphia International Airport
Philadelphia International Airport is the most common airport for Lancaster County visitors to choose.
It’s well-known, it’s nearby, and it hosts every major airline in the country (maybe the world).
It may not always be pretty, but it’s a fairly short drive into the Lancaster County limits.
There’s not too much more to say about this airport other than it’s a major international airport. If you’ve been to one, you know what you need to know!
5. Baltimore-Washington International Airport
BWI is the next most common airport for Lancaster County visitors.
Again, there’s not too much to say about this one. It’s essentially Philadelphia International, but closer to Baltimore.
This is also the airport you’ll want to use if you plan to visit York, as it’s much closer to York than it is to Lancaster.
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