Now That Southwest Is Leaving Newark, What Are Your Options?

One of the bombshell announcements from the Southwest Airlines earning call was that starting November 3, 2019, they would stop flights from Newark Airport and consolidate flights to the New York area to LaGuardia Airport. Now, I don’t know if anyone other than those who have lived in New Jersey knows the difference between getting a flight from Newark or a flight from LaGuardia. First of all, there’s the getting to and from the airport. Many people in New Jersey can take public transportation to Newark Airport with NJ Transit to the AirTrain. If not, they can drive there and only have to pay a moderate toll on the Turnpike or Parkway. When I lived there 20 years ago, we could drive there on HWY 1&9 and didn’t have to pay a thing besides the airport parking fee. The good old days. But New Jersey residents getting to LaGuardia would be kind of crazy – it’s not close, it would take at least two trains, and there’s a lot of traffic if you decided to drive it. So not really a realistic alternative.

I’m sure that the NJ residents who were accustomed to flying on Southwest weren’t happy with the news, so I decided to look at where Southwest flies from Newark and what options are still available. (Spoiler Alert: I hope you don’t mind flying on United)

Let me get out of the way all of the routes where your only option left for non-stop flights to/from Newark is United:

  • Austin, TX

  • Denver, CO

  • Nashville, TN

  • St. Louis, MO

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There are no more flights to Baltimore anymore from Newark, but United does fly to:

  • Washington – Dulles

  • Washington – National

I bet if you were flying to Baltimore on Southwest, there’s a good chance it’s because that was a better airport for you to use than the other two.

Some additional airports will lose service from Newark, but there are nearby alternatives:

Chicago, IL

No other airline flies to Chicago-Midway from Newark but American and United both fly to Chicago-O’Hare.

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Oakland, CA

No airline flies from Newark to Oakland. Both Alaska and United fly from Newark to San Francisco and San Jose.

I’m sure that there are people who will be missing direct service to the airport most convenient to their home or workplace.

Phoenix, AZ

United and American both fly from Newark to Phoenix Sky-Harbor Airport

Orlando, FL

JetBlue, Spirit and United all fly from Newark to Orlando. For us, that means we’re taking JetBlue if we want to fly to Newark. 🙂

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Final Thoughts

Is it any surprise that Southwest is cutting ties with Newark? The airport was ranked the worst airport in the U.S., mainly because of flight delays. For an airline like Southwest, which depends on quick turnarounds to keep tight schedules, every flight into/out of Newark was an additional possibility for delays that would cascade throughout the system. Now, I’m not saying LaGuardia is any better, but you can see the reasoning. Heck, I’m sure they could even add additional capacity to Islip and still be able to fill planes.

Would any of this have happened if not for the problems with the 737-MAX? Southwest still wants to expand flights to Hawaii, and I’m sure they’ll make more money having a plane on that route than for a flight from Newark to Nashville or Denver. This might have been the perfect excuse to cut an run from Newark. As it was, they were stuck at gates A10-A18 where the flight experience is more depressing than pretty much any other airport in the U.S.

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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary

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