Delta Air Lines is headed west — really far west — from its hub at New York’s LaGuardia Airport (LGA).
The carrier is adding the following four transcontinental routes from LaGuardia, as confirmed by a carrier spokesperson.
- LGA — Harry Reid International Airport (LAS).
- LGA — Los Angeles International Airport (LAX).
- LGA — Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX).
- LGA — Salt Lake City International Airport (SLC) (service extension).
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These flights will all commence on Sept. 9, except for the LaGuardia-to-Phoenix flight, which begins on Oct. 14. Delta will deploy an Airbus A220 on all four routes — the -100 variant to Phoenix and Salt Lake City, and the -300 variant to Las Vegas and Los Angeles.
All of these new flights will be available for purchase by Sunday, June 25, as is customary for flights that are loaded to the airline’s timetables over the weekend.
Now, there is one big (regulatory) wrinkle to this expansion: the flights can only be operated once weekly on Saturdays.
That’s because of the airport’s “perimeter rule,” which restricts airlines from flying to airports that are farther than 1,500 miles away with just two exceptions — routes to Denver and any flight operated on Saturdays.
(LaGuardia is also slot-constrained, meaning that airlines need special takeoff and landing permissions to operate flights there, but slots are not needed for flights on Saturdays.)
Saturday-only service isn’t typically all that lucrative, especially for domestic routes. Saturdays are usually the quietest day of the week to fly, and with nearly no business travel demand, airlines must compete for their share of the leisure market traveling during the weekend — a segment that historically hasn’t been all that profitable for airlines, though those patterns may be evolving since the depths of the pandemic.
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Interestingly, the LaGuardia-to-Salt Lake City route isn’t technically “new.” The airline already has this flight loaded in the schedule to begin on July 8, but it’s now getting extended through the end of the schedule, which currently runs through May 2024.
Furthermore, Delta once tried flights from LGA to Los Angeles in 2006, but that short-lived experiment was slashed after just six months, Cirium schedules show. (During the pandemic, Spirit Airlines launched a 2,469-mile transcontinental route from LaGuardia to Los Angeles, but that service has since been cut.)
Yet now, Delta’s transcon ambitions from LaGuardia are bigger than ever — and with it comes a new holder for the longest flights from the airport. In fact, all four routes will top the list of the longest flights from LaGuardia, as seen in the table at the end of this story.
Aside from the coast-to-coast flights, Delta is also tweaking some of its shorter LaGuardia routes. It’s adding one daily frequency to Omaha, Nebraska; Grand Rapids, Michigan; and Madison, Wisconsin, effective Sept. 18.
On the same date, it’ll drop one daily frequency in three markets from New York: Albany, New York; Hartford, Connecticut; and Providence, Rhode Island.
Separately, Delta is making some noteworthy service updates in Cancun. Specifically, the airline will commence Saturday-only seasonal service from both Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG) and Raleigh-Durham International Airport (RDU) to Cancun International Airport (CUN).
This service will run from Dec. 16, 2023, through April 6, 2024.
Most of Delta’s flights operate to or from a hub, which helps the airline boost loads by funneling connections onto these flights. However, the new services from Cincinnati and Raleigh-Durham will primarily attract locals looking for some fun in the sun this winter.
Plus, Delta has a storied history in both cities. Cincinnati is a former hub for the airline, and Raleigh-Durham is one of the two remaining focus cities for the airline in the post-pandemic world. (The other being Austin.)
In fact, Delta’s even brining back daily service between Cincinnati and Raleigh-Durham starting Sept. 11 — a route that hasn’t operated since the pandemic began.
But perhaps most interestingly, Delta’s expansion from Cincinnati to Cancun comes just a week after American Airlines announced this exact same route beginning on Dec. 9.
Neither airline is a stranger to a turf war, and one appears to be brewing in the Cincinnati to Cancun market.
10 longest routes from LaGuardia Airport
Here are the 10 current longest routes from New York’s LaGuardia Airport, according to Cirium schedules.
|Los Angeles International Airport (LAX).||2,469 miles.||Delta.|
|Harry Reid International Airport (LAS).||2,242 miles.||Delta.|
|Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX).||2,149 miles.||Delta.|
|Salt Lake City International Airport (SLC).||1,982 miles.||Delta.|
|Queen Beatrix International Airport (AUA).||1,961 miles.||American.|
|Montrose Regional Airport (MTJ).||1,810 miles.||American.|
|Denver International Airport (DEN).||1,619 miles.||Delta, JetBlue, Southwest and United.|
|William P. Hobby Airport (HOU).||1,428 miles.||Southwest.|
|George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH).||1,416 miles.||American, Delta, Spirit and United.|
|Dallas Fort Worth International Airport (DFW).||1,389 miles.||American, Delta, Frontier and Spirit.|