Southwest Airlines has begun operations at New York's LaGuardia Airport — offering flights to Chicago Midway and Marshall Baltimore/Washington International.
Southwest is starting small at LaGuardia, with just eight daily flights — five to Midway and three to Baltimore/Washington International.
Southwest already offers 25 flights a day to seven cities out of Islip, also on Long Island. However, the trip to Manhattan easily takes more than an hour, so business fliers who can afford it choose airlines that fly into Newark, N.J., New York's John F. Kennedy Airport or LaGuardia instead. Now one of those airlines can be Southwest.
The backbone of the airline has long been the state of Texas and its robust intrastate business travel. But over time, flying point to point and eschewing hubs, its tentacles have spread across the country like a massive Dallas-headed octopus.
As the airline has added destinations, it has also pushed into major airports like Los Angeles International. With its service from LaGuardia to Chicago, Southwest will give United and American airlines a run for their money.
Southwest is more efficient, its costs are 20 percent lower and its discount fares are expected to stress American and United at a time when both airlines are vulnerable.