Earlier this year ,I flew on my first trip with Spirit Airlines. It was an uneventful journey from La Guardia Airport to Orlando. In fact, the most impressive part of the trip was getting to fly out of LGA’s Terminal A, also known as the Marine Air Terminal.
This building is separate from the rest of the airport and did not get touched as part of the multi-year transformation of LGA into a world-class airport. That’s because the building is a New York City Landmark and is included in the National Register of Historic Places.
From the National Park Service:
The Marine Air Terminal at La Guardia Airport in New York City remains the only active airport terminal dating from the first generation of passenger travel in the United States–the “Golden Age of the Flying Boat.” The Marine Air Terminal, an Art Deco building designed in 1939 by William Delano of the firm Delano & Aldrich, is comprised of a central circular core of two stories with an attic from which a rectangular entrance pavilion and two symmetrically opposed one-story wings project. Inside the terminal hangs “Flight,” a mural measuring 12 feet in height and 237 feet in length. Completed by James Brooks in 1940, “Flight” depicts the history of man’s involvement with flight.
The first time we flew through the Marine Air Terminal, it was home to JetBlue. But as of March 2022, the terminal had become the home of Spirit Airlines (and two Frontier Airlines gates).
It was quite the experience to fly from a terminal only with Spirit and Frontier flights. There were a number of passengers wandering the terminal telling their tales of woe to anyone who was willing to listen. Most of those stories involved canceled flights and having to spend the night in New York, with no offer of compensation from the airline. Welcome to ultra low cost carriers!
I don’t imagine this is going to get any better with JetBlue offering to divest all of Spirit’s LGA slots to Frontier as a part of the merger with Spirit.
On June 1, JetBlue announced that it will divest all of Spirit’s holdings at New York’s LaGuardia Airport to Frontier. Together, these divestitures are part of JetBlue’s voluntary upfront commitments included in the merger agreement with Spirit and are conditioned on the closing of the JetBlue-Spirit transaction.
The divestitures are subject to approval by the local airport authorities as well as FAA/DOT, and are conditioned upon and will occur after the closing of JetBlue’s planned combination with Spirit. JetBlue expects to close the transaction with Spirit in the first half of 2024.
Long story short, Frontier will become the sole resident of LGA’s Marine Air Terminal A.
The Marine Air Terminal is a favorite of NYC residents, as traveling from there avoided much of the traffic experienced getting to the rest of LaGuardia Airport. However, the terminal used to house flights within the Northeast Corridor (Boston or Washington DC). Frontier’s flights usually don’t fly commuter routes and are more focused on point-to-point travel.
This might be great news for us in Orlando (at least those of us who fly ULCCs), as it will increase the flights to LaGuardia on Frontier. However, for those who fly from LGA on Spirit, this isn’t good news.
I’m just happy that whoever operates from the terminal will not be able to destroy the history, as it’s protected by the city and the nation as a historical site.
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