Change Your Altitude

Delta Adding New Service to LAX from Washington Reagan

Delta is to commence West Coast operations from LAX to Washington DC's Regan National Airport

Delta is to commence West Coast operations from LAX to Washington DC’s Regan National Airport

So there’s a concept called ‘Perimeter Rules’ – which basically limit the length or distance of a given flight that is allowed to operate at an airport. Most airports don’t have this rule, but some do – usually smaller airports that are located close to big metroplitan areas and were originally intended to be ‘regional’ or ‘commuter’ airports. While New York’s JFK airport hosts some of the longest flights in the world, La Guardia’s (LGA) perimeter ruling makes United’s 3 hour service to Denver its longest route.

Similarly, while Dulles (which is a good 45 minutes away) serves as Washington DC’s main international gateway, Regan National Airport (DCA), located in the heart of the city, served as a place to fly into from other east coast ports and also was a convenient option for the countless senators, congressmen, lobbyists and such to commute in and out of the city and back to their constituents at ease.

Ronald Regan Airport is centrally located and just minutes away from downtown DC making it an appealing airport to fly into.

AN archive photo of Ronald Regan Airport – the facility is centrally located and just minutes away from downtown DC making it an appealing airport to fly into.

While LGA has more or less kept their perimeter ruling intact, DCA has relaxed them some bit and have made what the US Department of Transport (DoT) called ‘exceptions’ and have allowed flights further out than the original rules. It was notable when Virgin America applied and was granted rights to fly from their San Francisco (SFO) hub to DCA – the route has been a resounding success for them, having a monopoly on the route and being able to charge a good premium over their Dulles flights for the convenience of landing into DCA.

Obviously other airlines were going to follow suit.

Delta did, and first started offering a double daily service from their Salt Lake City (SLC) hub once again enjoying a monopoly. That’s changing now though – the airline has announced that they will be cancelling one of their daily frequencies, and instead shifting it to Los Angeles (LAX) for a direct service to Regan National.

That no other airline has even attempted to try this flight is a bit baffling to us, but nonetheless this seems like it will be a winner from the outset. Delta will be the only airline to offer a non-stop service from LAX to DCA (and the according convenience of it all). We foresee that First Class will be filled by the Washington types flying on full fare revenue tickets so Medallion redemptions might be hard to come by – though Economy will be fair game. 

Schedules haven’t been released as yet, so keep a keen eye out for them for when they do – given that DL is terminating their second service from Utah to DCA in April 2017, we expect the new LAX service to start right around then in the Spring, just in time for the IATA Summer schedule.

Unfortunately, given the nature of the route expect fares to be on the high side – but hey, this is America, right? And options are always good – Either way it’s good for SkyTeam to bolster their presence at an airport they don’t have much of one in.

Are you pleased with this new development of Delta attempting to fly from LAX to DCA or do you think that this service could have been allocated elsewhere? 

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