Monday, 27 June 2022

My First Look at New York La Gaurdia (LGA Terminal B) & Flight Cancellation With Southwest

 Welcome to my latest blog post! 


Hi Readers, 

For the first time, I did a last-minute cancellation of a flight with Southwest Airlines. Why did this happen? Please read on to find out. 

Introduction

Flying Southwest Airlines has been in my mind for a long time due to its popularity among the locals in the U.S. I managed to find a suitable time in New York to do this one-day trip, just that I had to sacrifice one day of sightseeing. I decided on New York LGA (La Guardia) to Tampa. Why LGA? I wanted to experience the airport for myself and also Southwest only flies out of New York from this airport. Just as I thought that I would be flying on Southwest Airlines, unfortunately, mother nature decided otherwise for me on that day.

Southwest's mobile app



Flying on a direct flight is the only option for me if I want to fly back to New York on the same day.


I was to transit at Tampa there for 3 hours 45 minutes. 


I have to say I like Southwest's fare options. This is straightforward, with no beating around the bush or hidden charges. As this airline is the only one in the U.S that doesn't offer seat assignments, so you need to book either Anytime or Business Select to be assigned the first few groups. Group A will get to board first, followed by B then C. So if you board earlier, you get to choose the better seats and also place the overhead baggage first ahead of others. Unfortunately, I didn't get to experience it. Next time!



Overall I give it a 4/5 rating for the airline's app. It is easy to use, straight to the point information for my airfare and booking the tickets was fast and stress free. Cancelling the flight was straight forward with no questions asked. I look forward to flying with this airline next year. 


On the day of my first domestic joyride for the trip 

My ride to TPA 



I did a check on which aircraft I was due to fly on. N738CB (Southwest 737-700) and N8664J (Southwest 737-800) - the aircraft was originally scheduled to be operated by the 737 MAX 8, so no loss here. 

I left my accomodation around 6 a.m. 


You can take Q70 from either 61 Woodside Station or Roosevelt Avenue Station to the airport. Q70 currently is a free shuttle between these stations and the LGA Airport. Bus fare payment is required on other bus services.


One of the stations along the number 7 line.


The bus stop to catch Q70 to LGA Airport



 There are signboards leading you to the bus stop.



Articulated buses are deployed on this service.


The ongoing construction work outside the terminals.


LGA Terminal B 

The list of airlines operating at this terminal


This free shuttle service is much appreciated. JFK could do the same by removing or reducing the $8 fare at the Jamaica station (AirTrain). 


This was my first time checking in without boarding the flight, it was surreal.





Until next time, Southwest! 


This tweet below was the deciding factor. 


Luckily I managed to cancel my flights and I wonder whether can I get this kind of airfare in the future. 


The boarding gate which my flight was departing from. 


N738CB was on its way. 



'

A busy day at LGA Airport


I did a lot of weather checking at Tampa from the morning until departure time (hoping for the weather to clear) but apparently some thunderstorm would occur not just at Tampa area, New York will also experience bad weather and that is too risky to continue on with my flight especially with my return leg stands a high chance of getting cancelled or diversion and the latter would make my situation worse! I need to be at JFK the following morning.

Later that evening, I did a check and my gut feeling was right, the airline cancelled the flight. If I had gone over to Tampa, I am most likely have to spend overnight there and have no idea when would I arrive in New York (depends on availibility of air tickets). 


Ohh well! This was the closest I got to flying with the airline. Fortunately, my ticket was refundable and I got my refund after a few days. 



Brief information of Southwest Airlines

Southwest Airlines was found in March 1967, orginally known as Air Southwest. The airline started operation in June 1971 and have been operating Boeing 737s since the beginning. The headquarters is based in Dallas, Texas and currently have operating 11 hubs (June 2022). They are Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago (MDW), Dallas (DAL), Denver, Houston (HOU), Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Oakland, Orlando and Phoenix (PHX).

The only time it operates an aircraft not a 737 was a 727-200 which the airline leased from 1979 to 1980 and 1983 to 1985. As it decided to use the more economical 737, it has been using this single aircraft type up till now and it works very well for the airline. Operating a single type means the pilots and cabin crew can operate any aircraft types without restriction. 

This is Southwest's Boeing 727-200 (Photo by Frank C. Duarte Jr)


The airline started off with the 737-200 and the other types, -300, -500, -700, -800 and the MAX 8 are the other types this airline had operated. The airline is currently operating the NG (Next Generation) and MAX, the -700, 800 and MAX 8. 

This is the airline's Boeing 737-200 (Photo by Fabio Galbiati)


This livery (above) was replaced by the livery (below) Photo by Bruce Leibowitz)

Boeing 737-700


This is the current livery. (Photo Jason Whitebird)

Boeing 737 MAX 8 


Personally I like all the liveries, somehow the blue on Southwest reminds me of Facebook. Flying Facebook Airline? That was my initial impression of the livery. 


Brief Information of New York’s La Guardia Airport (LGA)

This airport was established in 1929 and was named after former New York City Mayor Fioello La Guardia. He served as the 99th Mayor of New York City from 1934 and 1945 and because of his popularity for his charismatic personality, this airport was named after him. This is one of the 4 airports in New York, the 3rd in terms of capacity, behind Newark and John Frank Kennedy Airports. It started commercial flights for the public in 1939 and operates 2 runways, 04/22 and 13/31. This airport was built to cope with the domestic flights and limited international flights. Currently, this airport only caters to narrow-body aircraft and majority of the flights are operated on domestic routes, flying to both primary and secondary airports of cities around the country. This airport is a hub for American Airlines and Delta Airlines with many of the flights operated by these 2. However, there are restrictions making operation at this airport more challenging. 

This airport was notoriously known for being inefficient, outdated and operating poorly maintained facilities. However, that all change when the PANYNJ (Port Authority of New York and New Jersey) responded in 2015 by announcing a miltibillion-dollar reconstruction of the entire airport and currently the airport is in operationg with lots of construction work going on. This project would be completed by 2025.

Photos of LGA Terminal B Land side 













After the disappointment of having to cancel the flight (not the airline's fault), I went over to terminal C.  


LGA Terminal B Airside 




The newly renovated terminal impresses me. Free Wifi at this airport is available. 








A few viewers asked me about visiting lounges. My answer is only if I am flying on business classes, then I will review them. I have no status with any of the airlines, the closest for me right now is Delta Airlines but that is not even silver tier! 

I like collecting miles with Delta because the miles does not expire and that is great for non frequent travellers or someone that travellers airlines from different alliance regularly. In Asia, there are not many destinations that I want to fly to within Asian network that are operated by Skyteam. China Airlines, Korean Air and Garuda are my only choices. 








Delta Airlines check-in counters





Frontier and Spirit also operates here


What do I think of the upgraded Terminal B? 

I was surprised how nice and modern looking the terminal is. I have to admit I know nothing much about this airport before my arrival. I expected it to be similar to New York JFK airport. I like the interior look of the terminal, giving it a feeling of excitement to travel. It was a breeze getting through the security from the land side to the air side. There are a number of eateries and shops for you to explore, I managed to find some food and settled for a table facing the taxiway. It was a better than expected impression of this terminal. Even though I skipped my flight, I spent a while doing some plane spotting. At that time, it was crowded and many locals were on the travel, it felt like pre-covid times. Face masks was not mandatory so you see lots of passengers without it. Overall I enjoyed my experience. Fortunately for this flying trip, I would get to experience this airport (different terminal) a few days later with Delta Airlines A321CEO flying in from MSP. More on that in my upcoming trip. 

Thanks for reading! 
Charles

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