There are going to be a lot more Delta widgets seen at LGA soon.

There are going to be a lot more Delta widgets seen at LGA soon.

Recently, Delta Air Lines announced their game plan to expand at LaGuardia Airport (LGA) after their slot swap with US Airways. Delta, being the world’s second largest airline, has plenty that they can bring to the New York area and grow LGA into a major hub for business travelers.

If you scroll through the new Delta LGA flights, you will see a lot of smaller aircraft: the Embraer ERJ-145, E-170, E-175, Bombardier CRJ-700, CRJ-900 and the CRJ-200. With an airport that is already so crowded, it was a little surprising seeing so many small aircraft.

Just because a new route starts as a smaller aircraft, doesn’t mean that Delta can’t upgrade to a larger aircraft later. Still, it seems like some of the routes might be able to handle larger aircraft, why did Delta go this route?

“It’s purely a function of having the right aircraft for the right market,” Morgan Durrant, Delta Spokesperson explained to “LaGuardia is arguably the most restricted airfield in the world but that doesn’t preclude the market demand for both capacity and frequency. Utilizing regional aircraft in some markets allows us to achieve both in a way that’s good for customers and good for business.”

At least Delta is operating jets; US Airways Express (aka Piedmont) flew quite a few turbo-props in LGA. For the airline nerd (that many of us probably are), turbo-props are fun to fly in, but I know that most travelers do not share our passion for aviation and most prefer the comfort of a jet. And remember, that not all regional jets are created equally. Many of Delta’s jets that have more the 50  seats contain amenities found on larger aircraft.

“Delta Connection aircraft larger than 50 seats will have a two-cabin configuration and Gogo Wi-Fi,” Durrant stated.

Delta has more connections and are arguably using better aircraft, so I wouldn’t be surprised if they are able to become quite successful out of LGA. I also wouldn’t be surprised to start seeing larger planes operating in Delta colors in the future out of LaGuardia as well.

Two view points you have to read about this topic are: Brett Snyder looking at the winners and losers of this deal and Dan Webb looking at the new destinations.

Photo by: Jerome Vorus

EDITOR-IN-CHIEF & FOUNDER - SEATTLE, WA. David has written, consulted, and presented on multiple topics relating to airlines and travel since 2008. He has been quoted and written for a number of news organizations, including BBC, CNN, NBC News, Bloomberg, and others. He is passionate about sharing the complexities, the benefits, and the fun stuff of the airline business. Email me:
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Ugh. All of the small stuff. As glad as I am for anyone to have a good, solid business in this day and age, I’m not a giant fan of flying from LGA-DFW in a small aircraft. I like the old days of mainline service on big jets between major cities.

I may be a cynic, but it seems that USairways and now Delta floods LaGuardia with small planes just to keep Southwest out.

I would say that could be a pretty accurate statement. Using small planes to save slots so others can’t use them.


Also, we have to remember that these flights are not operated by Delta proper, but by regionals who pay much less to their employees and may not have the safety rules that the big boys have (remember the Colgan/United flight that augered in near Buffalo?). It’s probably cheaper for Delta to pay for contract flying than to fly it themselves.

Bobby Amir

Delta no longer largest airline in the world.

Dang it! How did I do that? Fixed.


Disclaimer: I don’t call LGA, or anywhere near it home.

That said, a CR7 or better is preferable to a 50-seat turboprop to Philly. Seems like Delta is actually using these regional jets to go to actual destinations rather than just sopping up slots that could be used for more productive air service (ahem, US). Heck, if we’re talking about E7x aircraft I wouldn’t mind flying on them vs. a mainline jet any day of the week, though others may feel differently, even if it means trading frequency for plane size.

As for WN, NYC already has JetBlue, which provides a superior hard product to Southwest. Then again, they aren’t in LGA much right now…

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