Is Frontier Taking Over LGA’s Historic Marine Air Terminal?

by joeheg

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.

Both the interior and the exterior of the main building were declared New York City Landmarks in 1980, and it was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1982.

a plane flying in the air

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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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary


derek September 12, 2023 - 12:30 pm

The gate area is spartan but the lobby is very nice and cozy. Alaska Airlines used to use the terminal. I used the terminal for the Delta shuttle to Washington National (DCA).

Does anyone remember which terminal the Eastern shuttle used? I flew on it once. The Eastern shuttle morphed into Trump Shuttle, which operated out of Terminal C (old name) that was on the east side but not as far as the Delta terminal at the far east end.

Ed September 12, 2023 - 1:34 pm

When Delta Shuttle used the terminal for hourly flights to Boston and Washington it was nicely purposed. Free newspapers, magazines, coffee and snacks, and a line of taxis outside the door made it a great place for weekly commutes to the city. Most people purchased tickets at the terminal just before flight departure. Everything was fast and the operation catered to spontaneous travel.

NedsKid September 12, 2023 - 2:58 pm

When the MAT was for DL Shuttle, Delta ran it as a separate station as far as employees were concerned. That terminal was “QNY” as far as employees were concerned… aka “The Country Club.” Super senior, no openings unless people retired/died. They were certainly not very happy when they had to go join the rest of the LGA family and move to the C/D terminal.

I haven’t flown into there… flying in on Spirit next month. I worry about the building with Frontier being sole tenant. I’ve tragically flown Frontier enough to be elite. Those passengers fight and are liable to burn it down.


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