Starting tomorrow, Southwest will fly out of New York‘s LaGuardia airport, which hopefully means that flying between New York, Boston, Chicago, and Washington is about to get a whole lot cheaper.
The move is part of the airline’s attempt to cater more towards business customers, who don’t always want to fly into the second-tier airports Southwest usually favors.
[CEO Gary C. Kelly] has been fine-tuning the Southwest model since becoming CEO in 2004. In pursuit of business travelers, he bent the traditional “first come, first serve” seating rules with “Business Select.” Passengers pay a few bucks more to get a spot at the front of the boarding line, an extra frequent-flier award and a free drink. He also pushed Southwest into the kind of huge airports it once spurned. The strategy has worked in Denver and Philadelphia, where Southwest has grown rapidly.
Now it needs the big Eastern cities to buttress its service at Chicago’s Midway Airport, Southwest’s second-busiest hub, with more than 200 daily flights.
“If we’re holding ourselves out to Chicagoans saying, ‘We want to be your business airline,’ we’ve got to be able to take them” to New York, Boston and Minneapolis, Kelly said.
New Yorkers will be able to catch five flights daily to Chicago’s Midway airport, and three flights to Baltimore/Washington International. Starting in mid-August, the airline will also start flying from Boston’s Logan airport.
Though LaGuardia is notoriously congested, it’s still nice have another quality discount airline flying out of New York.