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Delta recently acquired a large portion of the US Airways terminal at LaGuardia as part of a slot swap that gave US Airways more slots at Washington National airport. This expansion is part of an overall strategy to gain dominance in the New York City market- they also are in the process of completely renovating JFK, which sorely needs it.
I’ve flown out of the new LaGuardia terminal and it’s only mildly annoying to have to take a 20 second bus between the two terminals (they are building a walkway). The SkyClub in the new terminal is also under construction and should be finished during the next few months.
Today Delta announced (press release) what they will be doing with this newly acquired space and it looks like they are focusing on growing market share on Caribbean and Florida routes.
- New daily year-round service between LaGuardia and Bermuda.
- New Saturday flights between JFK and St. Maarten.*
- LaGuardia-Nassau flights will be expanded from seasonal to year-round service.
- JFK-Montego Bay, Jamaica, flights will grow from Saturday seasonal to daily service.
- JFK-Aruba service will increase from Saturday seasonal flights to daily year-round service.
- JFK-Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, flights will expand from Saturday seasonal to daily year-round service.
New and expanded service to Florida includes:
- Two new flights between LaGuardia and Sarasota, Fla.
- A new flight between JFK and Fort Myers, Fla.
- A fourth daily flight between LaGuardia and Fort Myers.
- A fifth daily flight between LaGuardia and Miami.
- A fifth daily flight between LaGuardia and Tampa.
- A second daily flight between JFK and Tampa.
These routes start towards the end of 2012 and into 2013, so they may not be loaded in the system yet, however I did a quick check of some routes for January 2013 travel and many are loaded (and have saver award space available). I’ve noticed that when new routes are first loaded, there is an increased amount of Saver level award seats.
This is great for Delta Medallions, because connecting in Atlanta is inconvenient, especially for weekend trips. Additionally, Delta offers complimentary upgrades to all Medallions on Caribbean/ Bermuda routes and they are among the easiest to get since there’s a lower amount of business travelers on those routes. Delta also upgrades Gold Medallions and higher on award tickets at their normal upgrade window. There are no last minute ticketing fees with SkyMiles and they open up a good amount of last minute saver award space, so redeeming for coach awards at 35,000 miles a piece and instantly getting upgraded to first with minimal fee could be a fun way to burn through SkyMiles (and warm up during cold Northeast winters). Saver first redemptions start at 60,000 miles (see full award chart here). Taxes/fees vary by each destination, but a sample LaGuardia- Nassau flight yields $79.50 in taxes/fees.
Overall, this is good news for Delta flyers and American Express Membership Rewards members since Delta is an instant 1:1 transfer partner of the program and historically they have run generous transfer bonuses, though it’s been quiet this year on that front.
For US Airways flyers, the increased US Airways flights out of DCA are as follows:
- New, daily nonstop flights between Washington, DC (DCA) and Jackson, Islip, Omaha, Birmingham, Fayetteville, Memphis, Little Rock, Jacksonville, Pensacola, Tallahassee, Fort Walton Beach and Ottawa, Canada.
– Extra daily nonstop flights between Washington, DC and Hartford/Springfield.
– Daily flights between Washington, DC and Bangor and Savannah (used to be weekends only!).
- Starting May 2, 2012 – New daily nonstop flights between Washington, DC (DCA) and Cincinnati and Des Moines.
- Starting June 8, 2012 – New daily nonstop flights between Washington, DC (DCA) and San Diego.
- Starting July 11, 2012 – New, daily nonstop flights between Washington, DC (DCA) and Augusta, Minneapolis, Fayetteville, Montreal and Toronto, Canada.
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