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The LaGuardia expansion was made possible due to a slot swap with US Airways which will increase Delta’s presence at LaGuardia by 60% and will give US Airways more space at Washington Reagan. This could be a game-changer for many NYC flyers, who value the proximity of LaGuardia to the city. In the past LaGuardia has been a smattering of American, Delta, US Airways and a mix of others like Air Canada and Jetblue – but now Delta will dominate.
If you’ve been reading my Maximizing Elite Status series, you know that I’ve been in a quandary lately about which airline to go for top-tier elite status on next year. Now that I’m based mostly in Miami, I’ve been thinking about switching to American Airlines Executive Platinum (and should get a big boost thanks to the EQM’s from the Oneworld Megado and AA’s Double EQM promo for January). But this news has me re-thinking that Delta will be the right choice since I spend lots of time between NYC and Miami.
Fight to the Death!
Basically, Delta made the announcement that it’s going to create a new domestic hub at LGA and increase its number of daily flights to a total of 264 to over 60 cities by next summer. That number added to the 400 daily flights it operates out of JFK and EWR combined would make it the most active airline in the area. The move puts Delta in direct competition for dominance with United at Newark, who is currently in the process of merging with Continental.
While a bigger route network means more opportunities to earn (and redeem) miles, it also means more elite passengers and harder upgrades. Additionally, I think a major concern is that as Delta increases market share fares will rise due to less competition.
Only time will tell, but I do think it’s a great time to be a NYC based Delta flyer – if only for the nicer facilities that will be built over the next couple of years.