Boston, Chicago and Florida — all popular destinations from New York’s LaGuardia Airport (LGA). Salt Lake City…not so much.
However, Delta Air Lines is about to roll out service from LGA to Salt Lake City International Airport (SLC) starting July 8, as first spotted by TPG in Syria schedule and then confirmed by the carrier’s spokesperson.
The new route will operate during the peak summer period through September 2 on a 109-seat Airbus A220-100. Delta operates a hub at both airports and it can transfer connected through Salt Lake City to cities along the West Coast and beyond.
What really makes this route interesting is that it will become the longest route from LaGuardia.
At 1,982 miles, the direct route to Salt Lake City would be just 21 miles longer than American Airlines’ flight from LaGuardia to Aruba’s Queen Beatrix International Airport (AUA), formerly the longest airport.
While the new route may be eye-catching, there’s one big twist: Delta only plans to operate a total of 10 flights in each direction, only on Saturdays.
While Delta could certainly prefer regular service much more, it simply has no choice. If it wants to fly from LaGuardia to Salt Lake City, it can only legally fly on Saturdays.
It’s because of the airport’s”perimeter rule,” restricts airlines from flying to airports more than 1,500 miles away with only two exceptions – flights to Denver and any routes that operate on Saturdays.
So when Delta plans its route to Salt Lake City, it is taking advantage of this exception to the perimeter rule.
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(LaGuardia is also limited in locationwhich means that airlines need special take-off and landing permissions to operate flights there, but no seats are required for Saturday flights.)
Saturday-only service is usually not very profitable, especially for domestic routes. Saturday is usually the quietest day of the week for flying and with almost no demand for business travel, airlines have to compete for a share of weekend leisure travel – a segment that usually doesn’t yield much. profits for airlines. (For what it’s worth, introductory fares on the new Delta start at $209.)
Although the airline also operates a hub at another airport in Queens — John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) — Delta may reason that some travelers prefer to fly from closest airport to Manhattan.
Interestingly, this isn’t the first time Delta has attempted to connect LaGuardia to Salt Lake City. The airline flew its most recent route on Saturdays from December 2005 to September 2010, as seen in the Cirium schedule. The airline did not appear to be satisfied with its performance as the flight had not returned in 12 years.
Over the years, several other airlines have tried to take advantage of Saturday’s exception to the belt rule, but none have performed well enough to operate on a consistent basis.
During the pandemic, Spirit Airlines made LaGuardia’s longest flight at that time — a 2,469-mile transcontinental to Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) – but that service was cut. Delta also tried flights from LGA to Los Angeles in 2006, but that brief test was cut after just six months, Cirium’s schedule showed.
For the past 20 years, now-defunct Airline ATA has held the title of having flown the longest route from LaGuardia. The low-cost airline operated a 2,579-mile route between LGA and San Francisco on Saturdays from January 2004 to September 2004, but that service (along with the airline) is now history.
The 10 longest routes from LaGuardia Airport
Here are the current 10 longest routes from New York’s LaGuardia Airport, as scheduled by Cirium.
|Salt Lake City.
|Delta, JetBlue, Southwest and United.
|American, Delta, Spirit and United.
|American, Delta, Frontier and Spirit.
|America and Delta.