Spirit Airlines is adding a flight between LGA and LAX

Spirit Airlines is adding a flight between LGA and LAX

Spirit Airlines has today Advertise It plans to add three new routes outside of New York LaGuardia Airport, although there is one in particular that I find fascinating.

Spirit Airlines’ LaGuardia Transcon

Effective June 12, 2021, Spirit Airlines will operate Saturday-only service between New York LaGuardia (LGA) and Los Angeles (LAX)..

The schedule for this 2,469-mile flight has not yet been revealed. I expect it to fly west in the morning and then head east in the afternoon, but I could be totally wrong.

LaGuardia ocean base

You might be thinking, “Why on earth are you talking about a one-time weekly Trancone flight on Spirit Airlines, out of all the airlines?” I find this route very interesting since it was last operated by any airline 15 years ago, back in 2006.

It all goes back to the base of the surroundings of LaGuardia. As such, airlines are prohibited from operating non-stop flights to points more than 1,500 miles from the airport. Why does the ocean base exist? Well, it was put in place by the Port Authority to ultimately protect New York’s JFK and Newark airports.

There are two exceptions to the ocean rule – flights to Denver and flights on Saturdays. For anyone who wonders about the Denver exception, this is there because when the rule was laid in 1984, this was the only route over 1,500 miles, so an exception was made to it.

The ocean rule does not apply on Saturdays, since LaGuardia is largely a commercial airport, so it’s a quieter day out for the airport. This is also exactly what Spirit Airlines takes advantage of here. Of course there is a certain irony here – long-haul LGA to LAX will be an absolute major trade route, but we are now seeing a very low-cost carrier operating that route this weekend.

Why aren’t more airlines operating this route?

I am probably missing something clear here, in which case please let me know. But why hasn’t any other airline operated a flight from LGA to LAX on Saturdays in the past 15 years?

Airlines generally have some extra space in their schedule at LGA on weekends, and American should be able to at least fly some of its A321Ts from LAX to LGA instead of JFK on Saturdays. So why don’t airlines do this? I can come up with two answers, but I think I might be missing something:

  • Is this because balancing the holes in JFK and LGA is so complicated? There were “use it or inspect” restrictions on vents prior to infection with the Coronavirus, so will moving flights from JFK to LGA airport on Saturdays result in airlines that fall below the minimum requirements for using openings?
  • Or is this ultimately about managing expectations? These routes are largely dependent on business travelers, so you don’t want to excite people from traveling between LGA and LAX, just to realize that only a small percentage of flights are able to operate this way.


Beginning this summer, Spirit Airlines will operate Saturday-only service between LGA and LAX. Spirit Airlines was the first airline in nearly 15 years to operate this route.

The reason this route was not offered is largely due to the LaGaurdia Ocean Base, which requires more than 1,500 miles of flights out of the New York area to operate out of the EWR or JFK.

What do you think of LGA’s one-of-a-kind journey from Spirit to LAX? Fantastic, kind of pointless, or skillful?

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