Southwest Is Pulling All Of Their Flights Out Of Newark

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en:user:DonFB [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons
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Southwest will end all service to Newark Airport after November 2nd.

Currently, Southwest flies nonstop from Newark to Austin, Baltimore, Chicago, Denver, Nashville, Oakland, Orlando, Phoenix, San Diego and S. Louis. As of November 3rd all of those flights will no longer operate.

Southwest is partially blaming the closure on the 737MAX fiasco. They acknowledged that airplane will be out of service until 2020.

However ultimately Newark is being chopped as operations there are not profitable. Earlier this year they ended nonstop service between Newark and Fort Lauderdale.

In 2014 United dehubbed Cleveland after the FAA created a pilot shortage by increasing required flight hours by 500% from 250 to 1,500. The easiest way to solve that problem in one fell swoop was to kill the least important airport in their system.

This too solves Southwest’s 737MAX capacity issues in one fell swoop by allowing them to primarily affect an airport that they have been serving for 8 years without the forecasted profitability. That way they can avoid cancelling flights from more profitable airports.

I wouldn’t expect a resumption of Newark service anytime soon, even after the 737MAX comes back online.

Southwest says they will consolidate its NYC operations at LaGuardia and will allow employees to transfer there, but color me skeptical about consolidating those flights.

While Newark has the capacity to allow airlines to freely add flights, both LaGuardia and JFK are slot-controlled airports. Along with Washington/DCA, those airports are operating at capacity and flights can’t be easily added there. Airlines can buy slots from other airlines, but that is a costly endeavor. Southwest’s opportunity to grow organically in NYC was in Newark and they are now raising the white flag.

I wouldn’t expect Southwest’s Newark routes to shift to other NYC airports. Southwest has no JFK presence and can’t operate the longer routes (such as Oakland, Phoenix, and San Diego) from LaGuardia due to the perimeter rule at that airport that restricts those flights. Perhaps they will buy some pricey slot pairs to add flights or they will shift some current LaGuardia flight frequencies to create new routes, but it certainly won’t replace what exists in Newark today.

Some flights may migrate to Islip and Philadelphia, though that too isn’t likely to happen until the 737MAX returns.

Currently, Southwest flies nonstop from LaGuardia to Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Houston, Kansas City, Nashville, Orlando, Milwaukee, New Orleans, San Antonio, S. Louis, and Tampa.

Southwest flies nonstop from Philadelphia to Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Fort Lauderdale, Houston, Nashville, Orlando, Phoenix, S. Louis, Tampa, and West Palm Beach.

Southwest flies nonstop from Islip to Baltimore, Fort Lauderdale, Orlando, Tampa, and West Palm Beach.

It’s bad news for NYC flyers, who will have fewer flights and higher prices on some of these routes. It’s also bad news for Southwest companion pass holders, who will find it much harder to get to where they want to go, especially if they’re trying to get to Hawaii.

It’s one big gift wrapped with a bow on top for United and their massive hub in Newark.

HT: YitzyS, via DDF

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69 Comments On "Southwest Is Pulling All Of Their Flights Out Of Newark"

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vabomere

Islip airport is undergoing expansion over the next several years.. Southwest used to use Islip as a hub to various destinations before transitioning more to Baltimore. It’s possible they will transition flights to Islip again with the expansion at ISP. Or at least I would hope.

Itchakadoozie

I loved flying from Islip to Chicago before they came to LGA. Quiet, empty, and they would do everything in their power to get your flight off the ground. No lines for passengers or airplanes waiting to take off and…CHEAP! Oh well….

Itchakadoozie

Glad to hear they’re expanding. More good news to follow, G-d willing! Thanks

Chaim

And just when I got the companion pass…

Mm

What will happen if you have an existing flight booked?

NTorch

Heard this on WCBS radio this morning and they were saying its all 737Max related, but I really wonder if that is a pretext. It would be great if they shift more traffic to Islip, but I think that with the LGA expansion it is unlikely.

Leo

why would it be harder to get to Hawaii? do they currently fly to Hawaii from Newark?

Ez

I suppose through connections

Izz

Simple. You can fly nonstop from EWR to OAK/SAN and from there connect to a Hawaii flight (SAN is starting soon). From LGA there are no flights to California, so it will a double connect at a minimum.

Dan\'s the Man

Not surprised after they cut their routes from NYC to FLL. I thought that route is a very popular route and was surprised when they cut it. I’m hoping they’ll add FLL/MCO/PWI to LGA. I’ve flown from PHL to FLL on Southwest once and it was a good experience.

Ari

Quite a shame. Flew them from ewr-mco and it was always full. Wonder why it’s not profitable for them. Ewr is much easier (and way cheaper) to park at and get to for most people in nyc than lga. Definitely diminishes the value of southwest card for people in the nyc area.

Anon

I wouldn’t sya ita easier then lga for most ppl as you say. If you live in the NYC metro area lga is still better. You don’t have to go through city traffic to get there or go or pay tolls. Lga is closer for pplm who live in the boroughs and long Island. It’s right outside the city as well.

EZ

I primarily use EWR. Perhaps I’m spoiled, but primarily I prefer a flight at a particular time of day. With United’s hold on EWR, Southwest may have offered 1 or 2 nonstop flights a day to a certain destination, while United was every other hour of the day. And I have no interest connecting at Chicago Midway, especially during the winter time. For business trips, what advantage would Southwest have for the single flight a day leaving at 10AM? And if it’s a business trip, would I care if the baggage fees, seat selection, monopolized ticket fare, and misc fees aren’t coming out of my own pocket by using United at the preferred time?

Agoldsc1

But with operations cut at EWR, once the MAX returns, they will have to find some way to utilize those aircraft, so they will likely be adding routes somewhere. I might just be hoping because I’ve just earned my CP for the first time this year, but adding flight to ISP doesn’t seem very unlikely to me. Especially to geographic location which they don’t otherwise serve direct from the Tri-State area (SAN for example). I agree that it’s unlikely to add new flights at LGA, but they might replace routes there as well.

Danny29

What can I do with my southwest points? (I really only like to fly from EWR, closest to me)

EZ

Take a summer vacation to Denver before they exit EWR. Summer is the time to be there.

freecountry

they say say they are consolidating flights so that may mean they will start service to/from lga and oakland so hawaii travelers wont be affected

dhammer53

Planes can’t fly over 1500 miles from LGA, so you get to California via other cities. Dan intimated that above.

Not a SW flyer anyway

The 1500 mile rule does not apply on Saturday’s as well.

Mendel

This is terrible news. Getting to the PHX or the west coast with companion pass now requires a stop. I wonder if it will still be worth it for me to renew companion pass in 2021

rob

It’s surprising that Southwest hasn’t made a play for HPN, in the absence of being able to add capacity to LGA.

It is a far more convenient airport than ISP for most people in the NY metro region, and when you break it down to affluent people/business travelers, the gap widens even further.

I don’t know the operating costs at each airport, but I’d have to imagine the gap needs to be substantial to justify using ISP over HPN

Yonah

I would love them to consider expanding HPN or SWF – especially to south Florida. Jetblue is now the only game in town at those airports with limited flights, and prices are always crazy.

rob

SWF is not a viable option until they have real public transportation infrastructure to get there from the city.

HPN is the most convenient airport for at least 3.5 million people (Westchester, Fairfield and Bronx counties)…. and millions more if LGA is out of play, which in SW’s case appears to be.

Izz

The inherited HPN from FL and flew there till early 2012. HPN does not fit the Southwest business model type of market.

rob

Well normally you would be correct, but LGA and JFK aren’t options, and EWR is apparently a money suck.

So their choices are really ISP or HPN. And for the life of me, I can’t figure out why they choose ISP

freecountry

why is everyone assuming that flying to destinations that only ewr serviced unti now, will not be continued at lga

Mimi k

I fly once a year EWR to MDW. Almost always packed flights. Real shame.
I always paid the extra money for early check-in, and I booked two return tickets, ( different days).
The flexibility of this Airline kicks every other one by far

Alter

Perhaps they should look into SWF which is undergoing expansion.
Interesting that Southwest is the 8th most profitable airline in the world.

Marc

You think they open up in HPN in a few years? Maybe southwest goes back to its roots and uses regional airports?

Eli

Dan Im stuck i have 523k chase and chase just shut me down and i have 30 day to use the points where should i transfer to?

Elimelech

Southwest 😀

EZ

All this makes me wonder how Jetblue’s future will playout at EWR? I understand that JFK is their massive hub, and they have a significant amount of business at LGA and neighboring airports in the NYC tri-state area. JB previously cut out IAD, so nothing is impossible. Perhaps JB may take the route of Southwest and say the hell with it at EWR.

Jason Smith

They also fly nonstop from Islip to West Palm Beach. While it is technically true that they currently fly nonstop from Newark to Orlando, that flight is only once a week on Shabbos at 1:00 PM.

Isaac

Well this is a sad day for all us NJ companion pass holders:( You think LGA will get a driect flight to DTW though as a result of this? That would be the saving grace

Me

Yes!!

Its nuts had to fly united even tho we have a companion pass. Stop overs with babies are not pleasant

jb

Yes..I have companion pass and shortly after I got it, SW stopped direct flights to FLL..Very annoying..Now no ewr, and only fly out of LGA but still no non stop to fll..How was that not a profitable route? makes no sense to me

chaim

why would operations at newark be unprofitable
is that a function of higher costs at newark for whatever reason
they serviced 1.5 million passengers at newark a year so clearly there was a demand for the flights
i understand you wrote that you need to know the cost at what they sold the tickets but is there a reason that newark flights would be able to sell more lower priced tickets and flights out of lga would be able to sell higher priced tickets

dhammer53

And to think that UA pulled out of Kennedy for 100% EWR and LGA.

Jay

Sad day for me
SW, need you back at Newark !!
Won’t travel to nyc
Chase – will cancel SW cc, can’t use it !

Jack

Southwest flies Nonstop EWR- BWI? Since when?

Bob

The way I read this is that to have enough planes to fly new routes to Hawaii, they had to pull planes from old routes, and EWR is the least profitable station. And with a nonstop United 767 from EWR to HNL, you would have to be crazy to fly two segments on a 737. Either that, or you would have points to burn or a companion pass to use — enough of those passengers, helps explain why EWR is losing money.

Ten years from now, I won’t be surprised to see Southwest flying Airbus routes into EWR. Check back then and remind me if I’m wrong. An airline that relies on just one aircraft, is like a passenger who relies on just one mileage plan. Eventually, the cost makes itself known.

Bob

I just checked fares for a nonstop EWR to PHX on 9/10, returning 9/17.

American: $267

United: $267

Southwest: $351

Yes, I know there are some benefits for some passengers willing to pay $84 more for an unassigned seat and a mileage plan that can get you from Lubbock to Corpus Christi.

Texas Totty

Correction: You wrote that southwest flies nonstop between PHL and HOU. That is not correct. They had one flight a day each direction for the past few months and they just killed that route completely. As far as I know, they never flew nonstop between EWR and HOU. The only possible nonstop route is LGA.

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