By Michelle Deal-Zimmerman, The Baltimore Sun
2:46 PM EST, January 16, 2013
For Ravens fans considering a visit to New England to see the AFC Championship game at Gillette Stadium, there's good news and bad news about planning your trip.
If you absolutely must go to the game, there's a good chance you will be able to get a ticket. As of Tuesday morning, StubHub showed more than 2,000 available, starting at about $215 each. Also, a limited number of tickets will go on sale Thursday starting at 10 a.m. at ticketmaster.com.
But if you were thinking about getting to the game by charter bus, the options are limited.
WNST is offering a Miller Lite Roadtrip travel package that includes transportation via motorcoach, an overnight hotel stay, game tickets and even tailgating snacks on Sunday.
As of Tuesday afternoon, the sports radio station was lining up its fifth bus full of Ravens fans, according to radio personality Nestor J. Aparicio.
"It's been one of the more astonishing things I've ever seen," said Aparicio, explaining that the station offered a similar package to last year's post-season game against the Patriots and didn't even fill the second bus.
The bus trip departs from White Marsh at 7 a.m. Saturday and arrives in Boston that afternoon. Organizers also plan a pregame night party for all Ravens fans. The WNST package price starts at $525 for a quad and reservations are non-refundable. The package is also available without the game ticket, for those want to purchase it on their own.
"It's not the biggest trip we've done …" said Aparicio, but "it's the biggest 48 hours."
Aparicio said the demand is there to add to its caravan, but securing the buses has been difficult.
Blame President Obama. Many of the region's buses are already committed to transporting passengers to the inauguration festivities in Washington on Monday. So there are few buses or, in some cases, drivers available.
"This is it. I don't know that we can get a sixth bus. I've been turned down by five bus companies because they're full," Aparicio said. "It's not the game so much, it's the inauguration. They don't have enough buses."
Bill Rohrbaugh's Charter Service, based in Manchester, has sold out its only bus trip to Foxborough, Mass., on Sunday.
"When we got in Monday morning, the phones were ringing," said Judy Reed, general manger of Rohrbaugh's. "They pretty much rang all morning."
The bus holds about 55 passengers and all of the $90 seats are spoken for, and the company isn't doing a waiting list for a second bus because of previous commitments to clients going to the inauguration.
"It's all about hours of service in transportation," said Reed, adding that the company has strict policies to protect bus drivers from fatigue.
But just like in football, traveling has an air game as well as a ground game.
AirTran and Southwest Airlines still have a few weekend flights available, starting at $137 each way to Providence or Boston. The return flights from Boston to Baltimore on Monday are very limited, but if you can swing an extra day off work, Tuesday's flights are just $84.
Of course, Southwest isn't the only way to go, but its flights are nonstop. Other airlines show available flights, including US Airways, which includes a stop in Philadelphia, for $295 round-trip.
Also, Amtrak offers train service to both Providence and Boston, starting at about $95 each way. Arriving at South Station, you would simply need to hop on the MBTA's Gillette Stadium Train to get to the game.
Fliers arriving at TF Green Airport in Providence also have access to the special "football train" that travels directly to the stadium. Roundtrip fare is $15, cash only. it can be purchased on the train, but buying in advance is a good idea. Travelers can also take rail service from the airport to downtown Providence.
If you're up for the nine-hour trip, megabus.com also offers bus transportation from Baltimore to Boston starting at about $39 each way.
No matter how you get to the game, Ravens fans can expect excitement and fun.
In Providence, the visitors bureau has posted a page on its website for fans, offering tips on restaurants, hotels and events like Providence Restaurant Week.
In Boston, Aparicio plans to host a Saturday-night gathering of hundreds of Ravens fans at Ned Devine's in Faneuil Hall, a venue much larger than he expected.
"Last year, I reserved a big space and we embarrassed ourselves," he said. But this year, "we're going to be throwing a huge party."
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