Unfortunate departure

Southwest permanently grounds nonstop flights from Austin to New York City

Southwest permanently grounds nonstop flights from Austin to New York

Houston news, New York City skyline, November 2017
The Big Apple just got a little harder to get to. Courtesy of cntraveler.com

Yearning to catch Hamilton on Broadway? Longing to take a stroll in Central Park? In Austin, you’ll soon have one fewer option to take in the sights and sounds of the Big Apple.

On July 25, Southwest said that effective November 3, it is discontinuing service at Newark Liberty International Airport in Newark, New Jersey — one of the New York City area’s three major airports.

That means the loss of nonstop flights (usually two per day in each direction) between Austin-Bergstrom International Airport and Newark, in addition to the loss of several one- and two-stop flights between the pair of cities. Southwest launched its Austin-Newark service in March 2013.

Southwest’s departure from Newark leaves Austin travelers with four options for nonstop flights to the New York City area — United (Newark), and American, Delta, and JetBlue (John F. Kennedy International Airport).

Southwest blames the exit from Newark on poor financial performance. The airline — the No. 1 carrier in Austin based on passenger traffic — plans to consolidate its New York City presence at LaGuardia Airport. As of now, Southwest’s reservation system shows no new nonstops between Austin and LaGuardia, but it does indicate a number of one- and two-stop flights are available.

Southwest says it will offer refunds or rebooking for customers who purchased tickets on affected Newark flights.