Allegiant adds flights to Lehigh Valley International Airport

Lehigh Valley residents looking to escape the winter weather will have a few more opportunities to get away after Allegiant Airlines added 100 more flights to and from Lehigh Valley International Airport. Allegiant, the Las Vegas-based budget carrier, will offer more flights to its existing destinations from LVIA, including Orlando, St. Petersburg, Punta Gordo, Fort Lauderdale and Myrtle Beach, said Colin Riccobon, the airport’s public information officer. Tom Stoudt, interim executive director of the Lehigh-Northampton Airport Authority, which runs the airport, said the new flights are scheduled between now and May. Airports and carriers typically don’t schedule flights more than a few months ahead, he said, but he was optimistic that Allegiant would continue the extra service in the uture. “Allegiant has been a fantastic partner with us. Certainly, there’s a strong demand in our region for this service,” he said. Allegiant was already on its way to becoming the airport’s busiest carrier. The authority is still tallying its total passenger numbers for 2017, but between November 2016 to November 2017, Allegiant served 37 percent of passengers during that time period. Riccobon said the airline’s departures to Orlando are LVIA’s most popular flight. “We have countless Disney backpacks moving through here,” Riccobon said. Krysta Levy, an Allegiant spokeswoman, wouldn’t commit to making the added flights a long-term offering at LVIA. The carrier prides itself on regularly updating its service, shuttling flights to markets where demand is high. That approach recently led Allegiant recently cut down on its flights out of Trenton/Mercer Airport, but the strategy could pay off for the Lehigh Valley. Levy noted that LVIA is one of the few Allegiant markets that sees daily flights to some of its destinations. Most routes, she said, see two or three flights a week. “Hopefully, those (new flights) will do Continue Reading

How San Diego International went from ‘little airport’ to global stop

Speaking last month at a downtown luncheon celebrating San Diego’s first nonstop flight to Switzerland, the outgoing airport CEO took the opportunity to applaud her soon-to-be-former employer — “the little airport that could,” she called it.A decade ago, when the San Diego International Airport did not have a single overseas nonstop, Thella Bowens might not have made the same boast.Starting this summer, the number of overseas cities with nonstop flights will climb to four — London, Tokyo, Frankfurt and Zurich, with aspirations for still more in the near term.Domestically, the airport has also made significant inroads, landing more than 30 nonstop flights over the last five years, as carriers have looked to San Diego to raise their profile in California.While San Diego is not — and never will be — on a par with West Coast hubs like San Francisco and Los Angeles, that hasn’t deterred local airport and tourism officials from doggedly courting air carriers in hopes of significantly widening options for both leisure and business travelers.“San Diego is not just a growing market but a growing upscale market,” observed Henry Harteveldt, an airline industry analyst with Atmosphere Research Group. “It’s a great year-round destination, and it also has an increasingly diversified business environment, with a growing technology sector, manufacturing, military, healthcare and other services.“So the city has become that much more desirable, and the introduction of new-generation, fuel-efficient airplanes is perfect for an airport like San Diego’s.”So is its timing. Air travel remains on an upward trajectory, with a record 823 million passengers flying on U.S. airlines in 2016, up 3 percent from the previous record high of 798.2 million in 2015. San Diego’s Lindbergh Field also is seeing record numbers, with more than 20.6 million passengers flying into and out of the airport last Continue Reading

JetBlue’s direct flight service from JFK to Havana kicks off, becomes first major carrier to feature direct route to Cuba

Cubans should get ready for a New York invasion. Direct flight service started Friday from JFK airport in New York City to Havana’s Jose Marti — courtesy of Jet Blue. The budget-friendly airline was the first major carrier to add a direct route to the Caribbean island since the Obama administration eased travel restrictions earlier this year. The inaugural flight took off from JFK Friday, with happy travelers telling the media they were thrilled with the convenient service. “This is something we're gonna talk about for years and years and years; this is an opportunity for American people to go to Cuba,” Carlos Infante to NBC New York. Infante was on Jet Blue’s noon flight back to his homeland, an Airbus A320 that carried 150 passengers. JetBlue now has five weekly round trips to Cuba, including flights from Tampa and Fort Lauderdale in Florida. The flight from JFK takes off at noon daily and touches down in Havana at 3:30 p.m. A return flight takes off from Jose Marti International Airport at 4:30 p.m. The New York-Havana charter service was announced in May shortly after a successful trade mission trip to Cuba with Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Cuomo and other business leaders went to Cuba to talk up business opportunities between the Empire State and the communist Caribbean island. Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

Nonstop fun: How to fly direct from Indy

The first taste of cold, nasty weather in the Midwest is the yearly signal it's time for a winter vacation.And the faster, the better. Fortunately for Hoosier travelers, Indianapolis isn’t as land-locked as one might think.The Indianapolis International Airport has 143 daily nonstop flights to 43 airports. That’s more than Louisville, Ky., Milwaukee, St. Louis and Cleveland, and it means a jump from snowy streets to sandy beaches in just a few hours.The airport recently announced three other nonstop flights — to Austin Texas on Allegiant airlines twice a week; to San Diego on Southwest seasonally from June through August; and to Fort Walton Beach, Fla., seasonally beginning May 26.Where do the other flights go? IndyStar broke down the airport's flight schedule and the Nonstop Answer Man will entertain questions: Question: Dude: Is there a way to get to the City of Angels, like pronto?Answer: Bro: There are three primo flights to Los Angeles on American, Delta and Southwest. They leave 7 a.m., 2:55 p.m. and 4:45 p.m. A nonstop American flight also leaves for San Francisco at 7:55 a.m. Q: I’m looking to party in SoBro, Disney and Mar-a-Lago. Anything to the Sunshine State?A: Eighteen nonstops every day leave for Florida. Six nonstops a day go to Orlando, three to Tampa, three to Fort Myers and two to Miami. Daily flights also go to Jacksonville, Ft. Lauderdale, Punta Gorda and St. Pete.  Q: Are there nonstops to a place that serves real Texas barbecue?A: Umm ...  try Texas. Twelve flights a day take off for the Lone Star state. Five flights leave for Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport at 6:15 a.m., 8:10 a.m., 11:05 a.m. 4:10 p.m. and 7:45 p.m. Six other flights go nonstop to Houston, from 6:25 a.m. to 6:55 p.m. One leaves for Dallas Love Field at 1:35 p.m. Q: I love cactus. How do I see it?A: Take one of four Continue Reading

Frontier launches new flights to Tampa

(Correction: An earlier version of this story said that Frontier's new flight to Tampa had a 10-hour layover in Denver. It is a direct flight.)Frontier Airlines is adding nonstop flights from Indianapolis to Tampa, Fla., starting in November.Frontier now flies to Tampa, but the trip includes a 10-hour stop in Denver, according to the carrier's website.The airline is adding flights to 21 new cities, bringing the total cities served to 82, USA TODAY reported.Frontier's first nonstop flight to Tampa is scheduled for Nov. 12, according to Indianapolis International Airport. Nonstop: Indianapolis International Airport getting new flights from Indy to Vegas Shutdown: Kroger might permanently close Marsh stores in Indianapolis, Fishers, Greenwood In March, Denver-based Frontier announced new nonstop flights from Indianapolis International Airport to Las Vegas. That service launched on Sunday. In January, Allegiant Air announced new flights from Indianapolis to Florida and Texas. Call IndyStar reporter Vic Ryckaert at (317) 444-2701. Follow him on Twitter: @VicRyc. Continue Reading

American adding Westchester-Miami flights

Westchester County Airport will have direct access to Miami International Airport starting in December.American Airlines announced Thursday it would begin offering twice-daily non-stop service from the county-owned and operated airport to the Florida city through its American Eagle network starting Dec. 15.“We view it as very positive for a lot of reasons. It’s more service to more locations in newer, more fuel efficient, less noisy planes and it’s still working within the constraints we’ve had at the airport," said Ned McCormack, spokesman for County Executive Rob Astorino. "This is the kind of balanced growth we like.”The flights will depart at 7 a.m. and 1:59 p.m. daily, on 76-seat Embraer E-175 jets operated by Republic Airlines, and get into Miami at 10:10 a.m. and 5:09 p.m. Return flights will leave Miami at 9:55 a.m. and 8:20 p.m. and get into Westchester at 1:05 and 11:30 p.m. The planes have capacity for 12 first-class seats.The new route brings the number of American Airlines destinations reachable from Westchester airport to five, joining Charlotte, Chicago, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C., and the total number of destinations airport-wide to 20.McCormack said the airport will remain within its passenger limit — 240 per half hour between 6:30 a.m. and midnight each day — as American Airlines will be offering two fewer daily flights to Philadelphia.The county has recently sought to make changes to that limit which would allow the airport to average 240 passengers per half hour over the course of an entire 24-hour day. Neighboring communities pushed back against the measure and forced the county to perform an environmental study on the change. FOOD SCARE: Bottle of BBQ rub confused for pipe bomb at Westchester County Airport PLANE ON A STICK: Monument returns to county airport Currently, both Delta and jetBlue offer flights to Florida, but Continue Reading

Irma: Florida flights aren’t 100% back to normal, but they’re getting there

 Flight schedules aren’t yet back to normal in Florida following Hurricane Irma, but they’re trending in the right direction.More than 435 flights had been canceled nationwide as of 10 a.m. ET, according to flight-tracking service FlightAware. Miami accounted for more than half of those, with many others scattered across other Florida airports such as Tampa, Orlando and Jacksonville.Going forward, Florida’s Irma-related cancellations were pushing into the weekend. Already, more than 250 flights had been preemptively grounded for Saturday. But, so far, only about two dozen flights had been canceled for Sunday.FLIGHT TRACKER: Is your flight on time?While more cancellations could be added to the board for both days, the relatively low total so far indicates airlines may be inching ever closer to normal operations in Florida. Those totals come after 730 cancellations were tallied on Thursday and 1,100 on Wednesday, marking a welcome downward trend for air travelers. Several airlines had previously said they hoped to be able to resume normal schedules by the end of this weekend. Among those was American Airlines, which operates one of its busiest hubs at Miami.In Tampa, the Tampa International Airport tweeted: "Back in biz! We're seeing 90 percent of our normal arrival & departure ops and expect to be at 100 percent by this weekend." Among airports, one notable exception was in hard-hit Key West. The small commercial airport there remained closed to regular airline flights as of Friday afternoon. It was not immediately clear when flights would resume, though the Federal Aviation Administration’s flight-delay page now suggested that might not happen until next week.More broadly, both airports and airlines in the region had faced a complicated restart effort even after Irma moved out.Many Floridians evacuated ahead of Irma, meaning many workers first had to return to the area before they could take up their posts at Continue Reading

Hurricane Irma: More than 1,600 Florida flights already canceled

UPDATE: Hurricane Irma: 2,000+ Florida flights already canceled, more likelyORIGINAL POST: Click link above for the newest update Updated: 5:15 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 7Airlines have started to wind down some of their Florida operations as Hurricane Irma tracked closer to several of the state’s busiest airports. Already, hundreds of flights have been canceled in Florida for Friday as airlines preemptively canceled flights in anticipation of Irma.As of 4:30 p.m. ET, more than 1,680 flights to or from Florida have been canceled because of Irma, according to flight-tracking service FlightAware. When counting cancellations in the Caribbean since Sept. 1, the number of Irma-related cancellations jumps to 4,000. FLIGHT TRACKER: Is your flight on time? Canceled?TODAY IN THE SKY: Airline change-fee waivers now extend north into South Carolina"We expect these numbers to rise considerably as airlines finalize their plans and then assess the impact on how quickly they can recover," FlightAware added in a Thursday afternoon flight update.Already, American Airlines said it will suspend all flights at its bustling Miami hub starting Friday afternoon. The airline's last flight there will be a 3:49 p.m. departure. And Orlando main international airport announced late Thursday it would suspend all flights there starting at 5 p.m. on Saturday. Further disruptions at those and other Florida airports if Irma's track remains as forecast.  A number of airports -- including some of the USA’s busiest -- could be forced halt operations for at least a full day if Irma's track holds. Travelers to the region should brace for the possibility of severe disruptions. The Key West airport already halted flights Wednesday evening. Hundreds of flights had already been preemptively canceled at both Miami and Fort Lauderdale into Saturday. Cancellations started to tick up at other Florida airports, including West Palm Beach and Fort Myers. Continue Reading

Frontier Airlines’ pullout leaves Delaware with no flights

WILMINGTON, Del. – Frontier Airlines quietly pulled the plug on commercial airline service out of Wilmington's New Castle Airport last week – almost two years to the day after its first flight out of Delaware."Frontier has pulled out of [New Castle Airport] because it wasn't a profitable operation," company spokesman Jim Faulkner said in an email. "If market conditions change, we may look at it again in the future."Faulkner's statement was the only public notice of Frontier's withdrawal. BOOKMARK: Add Today in the Sky to your favoritesFrontier was the only carrier flying to the airport (code: ILG), and its exit leaves Delaware as the only U.S. state without regularly scheduled passenger airline service.For Frontier, its pull-out from Delaware did not result in the cancellation of any flights because the Denver-based airline had already stopped providing service out of New Castle Airport in April. That's when Frontier suspended its last two remaining routes – cuts the company initially described as "seasonal."The suspension of those routes followed earlier service cuts and repeated changes in the airline's offering of destinations, some of which left travelers holding tickets for flights that no longer existed."We are disappointed with Frontier's apparent decision not to return to [New Castle] Airport," said Stephen Williams, director of airports for the Delaware River & Bay Authority, which operates New Castle Airport. "We want to thank our customers for choosing [New Castle] Airport and we appreciate Frontier's willingness to initiate service at our airport in 2013."Delaware Economic Development Director Alan Levin said he was not surprised by Frontier's withdrawal."Truthfully, they did not make a firm commitment to the service," he said. "When you continue to change your offerings, people will lose faith in what is being provided. When I book a ticket, I want to know I'm going to be getting on a plane without the flight being canceled."As Continue Reading

Allegiant CEO: More flights, CVG ‘base’ possible

Allegiant Air is working toward adding more flights at Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport – and the rapidly growing low-cost carrier is considering making CVG one of the airline's base airports.Allegiant Air CEO Andrew Levy told The Enquirer that the vacation airline is considering adding new flights to Las Vegas, Phoenix and Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and expanding service to current destinations – although no commitments have been made."We're very optimistic about future growth in Cincinnati," Levy said. "We hope to get a lot bigger. I would expect if current trends continue, we will get a lot bigger, a lot faster than we were able to forecast."Allegiant Air could add more flights around the holidays, Levy said. He declined to identify specific destinations for the next expansion, but said an announcement could be made in the next 1 to 2 months for new flights.CVG is the fastest-growing, non-vacation city in Allegiant Air's 15-year history. The Las Vegas-based airline already has expanded since debuting at CVG in February. Allegiant offers a total of 10 flights a week to Orlando, Tampa Bay and the Fort Myers regions in Florida and Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. The airline is known for its dirt-cheap ticket prices and charging a la carte for amenities. RELATED Will there ever be cheaper fares at CVG? Cincy businesses courted JetBlueAllegiant has stepped onto Delta Air Lines' turf at CVG and helped lure leisure fliers who love to hate the airport for fares that historically have ranked among the nation's highest. Many vacation travelers have long bypassed CVG and driven to Dayton, Louisville, Columbus, Lexington and Indianapolis to catch cheaper flights."I'm not surprised we've been embraced by the community," Levy said.Delta had a history of bottoming-out its fares and bullying low-cost airlines out of its once-thriving CVG hub. The airline has not done that with Allegiant Air. Delta doesn't view Allegiant as competition, mainly Continue Reading