Bird's-eye-view of the Upper Valley

Lebanon, N.H. (WCAX) More than two dozen lucky passengers got a free flight over the Upper Valley Saturday.

The Lebanon Municipal Airport, in partnership with Cape Air, offered the flights for the public as a away to promote ridership. That's because big bucks are on the line. The airport, which has daily flights to Boston and New York, receives a million dollars in federal funds if they have 10,000 enplanements for the year. However, they are closing in on that number. Those who boarded the free flight Saturday, taking in views of the Connecticut River and Dartmouth College, were all smiles when they got off the plane.

"Got to look down on all the buildings. It was really fun figuring out what was what. Beautiful views of Killington and Ascutney and the mountains around. They are blowing snow on Storrs Hill. It was pretty cool," said Mary Ellen Treadway of Piermont New Hampshire.

Airport officials say they are expecting to exceed 10,000 passengers this year. A good portion of the million dollars goes toward safety improvements at the airport. Officials say most of the subsidy is paid for by user fees rather than tax dollars.

The free flights Saturday did not count toward the 10,000 enplanements the airport needs to receive the government funding.