LaGuardia Airport has opened its runways to low-fare airlines
Budget airlines touch down at New York's LaGuardia
ATLANTA (CNN) -- Low-fare carrier AirTran Airlines began non-stop service from Atlanta into New York's LaGuardia Airport Monday, becoming the second budget carrier this month to break into the long-time bastion of big airlines.
Denver's Frontier Airlines began two daily flights between LaGuardia and its Rocky Mountain base on December 3, and plans to add a third flight in January. AirTran began service with four daily round-trip flights between Atlanta and LaGuardia, and two flights between Knoxville, Tennessee and LaGuardia. According to an AirTran representative, the airline will add three more flights between Atlanta and New York in January.
"LaGuardia is one of the few airports in the country that is controlled by slots so there are only a certain amount of airlines that are allowed to take off and land," said CNN business travel consultant Chris McGinnis.
By giving AirTran and Frontier landing rights, the U.S. Department of Transportation, which has the final say on LaGuardia's coveted slots, gave travelers an early holiday surprise: savings and perks.
Fares to LaGuardia have tumbled: they're down more than 50 percent on routes
the budget airlines fly. Another bonus -- low-fare carriers have fewer restrictions than larger
airlines, which usually require a Saturday night stay for lower rates.
The discount carriers are also offering perks to lure business travelers to their ticket counters. Frontier offers Continental Airlines "OnePass" frequent flyer miles. And at AirTran they're cutting the cost of business class.
"We've reconfigured the interior to include 16 business class seats," said AirTran spokesman Ponder Harrison. "It will only cost you $25 on top of our normal walk-up fare to gain access to that cabin. "
And AirTran has a holiday sale in place through January 5, making tickets between both Atlanta and Knoxville to LaGuardia as low as $89 one way with no advance purchase requirement. Regular fares start at $99 one way for both routes. Frontier's Denver to New York flights begin at $139.
Overall, the new budget airlines are taking a bite out of the expense of a trip to the Big Apple.
Based on a report from CNN's Business and Travel and Beyond. The segment appears Monday through Friday on Daybreak at 5:30 AM (ET) and on Early Edition at 7 AM (ET). BT&B also airs Sundays on the World Today at 10 PM (ET).
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