Southwest Moves In at LaGuardia

imageIt’s official: Southwest is coming to New York’s LaGuardia and gunning for American and United’s business travelers. It’s even been called “a full-frontal assault on United Airlines and American Airlines, which have long had a stranglehold on the vast majority of corporate travel to LaGuardia from Chicago.” Southwest has taken over the now-defunct ATA’s slots in the LaGuardia terminal, making room for seven daily flights with an additional sneaky eighth flight crammed in there outside of regulatory hours ( 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.). The it works is that each slot (of which Southwest will have 14) is good for one takeoff or landing. With 14 slots, Southwest can run 7 round-trip flights a day. Except that Southwest has scheduled their first flight to takeoff before 7 a.m., and their last flight to come in after 10 p.m., which effectively scoots around the regulation times.

Starting June 28, Southwest will be offering five daily round-trip flights to Chicago Midway and three daily round-trip flights to Baltimore/Washington International. Prices are fiercely competitive and should serve to temper UA and AA prices, much as JetBlue lowered the cost over at JFK. One-way flights to Chicago Midway will start as low as $89, and flights to Baltimore-Washington will start at $49 one way. Once Southwest starts to ramp up, you’ll find flights to LA, Seattle, San Diego, and Las Vegas. I don’t know about you, but I’m hoping that this guy is the one working my inaugural flight on Southwest out of LaGuardia.

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