Spirit is launching summer flights between LaGuardia Airport and Los Angeles, but a decades-old rule is limiting them to 1 day per week

Thomas Pallini
·3 min read
Spirit Airlines Airbus A320neo flight
A Spirit Airlines Airbus A320neo. Thomas Pallini/Business Insider
  • LaGuardia Airport is getting new flights to Los Angeles; San Juan, Puerto Rico; and Nashville, Tennessee.

  • Flights to Los Angeles and San Juan will only run on Saturdays thanks to a decades-old rule.

  • Any flight longer than 1,500 nautical miles from LaGuardia Airport can only fly on Saturdays, with one exception.

  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

Transcontinental flying between New York and Los Angeles is going low-cost.

Spirit Airlines plans to launch flights between New York's LaGuardia Airport and Los Angeles International Airport this summer from June 12 to September 4. Flight NK2151 departs New York at 7:20 a.m. and arrives in Los Angeles at 10:30 a.m. with the return flight, NK2152, departing at 1:30 p.m. and arriving back in New York at 10:05 p.m.

The timing makes it possible to jet off from LaGuardia, have a quick meeting in Los Angeles (or a bite to eat and plane spotting at the In-and-Out Burger next to Los Angeles International), and make it back to New York in the same day.

The catch, however, is that flights will only operate on Saturdays.

A 1984 rule from the airport's operator, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, limits how far flights from LaGuardia can be at 1,500 nautical miles. Denver is the only exception and flights can be flown to the Colorado capital any day of the week.

Countless airlines have tried to make Saturday-only flights to far-off destinations work with varying degrees of success. United Airlines once flew non-stop between LaGuardia and Montrose, Colorado and Southwest offered flights to Phoenix. Both routes have not returned to the airport.

American Airlines, however, currently flies to Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, and Aruba in the Caribbean on a Saturday-only basis.

The Airbus A320neo, Spirit's flagship aircraft, will serve the new transcontinental route and feature the airline's latest seat products, as Insider found on a recent trip from Newark to Boston.

Read more: Spirit Airlines' low-cost model puts it in the perfect spot to be the big winner of the pandemic, a Deutsche Bank analyst says

Spirit will also fly from New York to San Juan, Puerto Rico on a Saturday-only basis starting on April 17, as well as daily to Nashville, Tennessee starting May 5. The ultra-low-cost carrier will be the only airline offering flights to San Juan and Los Angeles from LaGuardia, as of now.

LaGuardia will also see a terminal shakeup with Spirit flights for Fort Lauderdale moving to Terminal A, also known as the Marine Air Terminal, on April 28. Currently home to JetBlue Airways, LaGuardia's smallest terminal is a holdover from the early days of New York City aviation and boasts short walking distances from the curb to any gate.

Flights to Los Angeles, San Juan, and Nashville, as well as Spirit's existing destinations besides Fort Lauderdale, will still use Terminal C, home to Delta Air Lines.

None of Spirit's flights will use the nearly-completed Terminal B which now features an entirely new Arrivals and Departures Hall and two new concourses.

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