How to Book a Commercial Flight From JFK on a 9-Seat Cessna

Cape Air kicks off service between New York and Nantucket this week on the twin-engine aircraft.

How to Book a Commercial Flight From JFK on a 9-Seat Cessna

We call shotgun! You can even book the seat right next to the pilot.

Courtesy of Shutterstock

For travelers who love the idea of a much more intimate flying experience, Cape Air this week is launching a new seasonal service between John F. Kennedy International Airport and Cape Cod in Massachusetts aboard the airline’s Cessna 402.

Starting October 23 and through mid-May 2019, the nine-passenger, twin-engine aircraft will fly daily round-trip service between Barnstable Municipal Airport in Hyannis, Massachusetts, or Nantucket Memorial Airport, Massachusetts, and JFK in New York.

The Cessna 402 features five rows with two seats in each, one of which is the pilot’s seat. And yes, you can even book the seat right next to him or her (technically the second pilot’s seat, but Cape Air only uses one pilot on these flights).

The aircraft’s seats aren’t roomy — the standard pitch (or distance between seats) is 27 inches and the standard width of each seat is 17 inches, and the seats don’t recline. But for a flight that is typically only between an hour and 20 minutes and an hour and 45 minutes, the killer views and truly unique flying experience will likely make up for the slightly more cramped space, especially for you aviation geeks out there (you know who you are), and even more so if you scored that coveted second pilot’s seat—talk about views for days.

The nine-seat Cessna 402s offer an intimate contrast to standard commercial domestic aircraft.

The nine-seat Cessna 402s offer an intimate contrast to standard commercial domestic aircraft.

Courtesy of Cape Air

Flights run from between $250 and $410 each way, not including taxes and fees, so the experience will come at some expense.

And while it may feel more like a private aircraft, these are in fact commercial flights, so you will still need to check in and go through security at JFK; Cape Air will have a check-in kiosk in Terminal 5. Cape Air has ticketing and baggage agreements with American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, JetBlue, United, Alaska Airlines, and Seaborne Airlines, which means that luggage can be checked through to a traveler’s final destination on Cape Air, if a lengthier trip is booked on a single itinerary through the larger commercial carrier’s website or on,, or

Cape Air started out as an independent regional carrier in New England in 1989 and now operates a fleet of 88 Cessna 402s and four Britten-Norman Islanders, fixed-gear planes often used on some of the carrier’s Caribbean island routes. The company also has 100 Tecnam P2012 Travellers on order, with the first 20 scheduled for delivery in January 2019. The 11-seat Travellers are powered by two 375 HP Lycoming piston engines.

Last year, Cape Air carried more than 626,000 passengers along its routes, which include destinations in the Northeast, Midwest, and the Caribbean.

>>Next: What It’s Like to Fly Private for Not-So-Private Prices

Michelle Baran is a deputy editor at AFAR where she oversees breaking news, travel intel, airline, cruise, and consumer travel news. Baran joined AFAR in August 2018 after an 11-year run as a senior editor and reporter at leading travel industry newspaper Travel Weekly.
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