Delta scraps new Dallas route before it even launches

20 March 2023

Delta Air Lines was perhaps too bullish on Texas.

Just six weeks after Delta’s big announcement about expanding its presence in Dallas, the airline quietly filed plans over the weekend to scrap one of its newest routes less than three months before it was supposed to start.

Specifically, the carrier won’t launch the new twice-daily route from Dallas Love Field (DAL) to LaGuardia Airport (LGA) as originally planned on June 5. Instead, the flights have been pulled completely from Delta’s schedule, according to a timetable update first seen in Cirium schedules and later confirmed by an airline spokesperson.

In its place, Delta will instead add a third daily frequency from DAL to Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) — a brand-new (but previously announced) route for the carrier — as well as a sixth daily flight to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL), both beginning on June 5.

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For its part, Delta isn’t throwing in the towel completely on serving LaGuardia from Love Field. Though Delta did not reschedule a launch date for the DAL-LGA route, the airline is calling this switcheroo a “delay,” according to the following statement shared with TPG.

“Delta has delayed the launch of nonstop service between Dallas Love Field and LaGuardia for the time being, due to a slower rebound in travel demand between these two markets. Dallas customers can still access New York City via DFW, where the airline operates a robust schedule, with 5x daily service to LGA and twice daily service to JFK,” Delta’s statement reads.

ZACH GRIFF/THE POINTS GUY

While the number of Delta flights from Dallas Love Field isn’t changing, the route map will certainly look different without the new service to New York.

Though the airline will still serve the Dallas metro area from New York with frequent service to Dallas Fort Worth International Airport (DFW), this larger airport is a lot less convenient for travelers looking to visit downtown Dallas.

That said, it shouldn’t be too much of a change for passengers since DFW has long been the primary airport for those headed to or from Dallas who aren’t flying with Southwest.

Southwest occupies 17 of Love Field’s 20 gates, nearly giving the carrier a monopoly on the airport.  Other airlines have tried to wiggle their way into Love Field over the years, and Delta’s limited operations there were historically confined to a single gate shared with Southwest.

Delta has been eager to grow in Love Field, but the airline’s expansion push faced resistance from Southwest and other parties. That led to a nearly decadelong legal battle that involved a whole host of airlines and local authorities.

Eventually, a settlement was reached last year that lets Delta stay at the airport through September 2028. Funnily enough, the airline is leasing a gate from Alaska Airlines — yes, the same carrier that is a major thorn in Delta’s side in Seattle — for $200,000 a year.

Delta will exclusively use Gate 11 at Love Field, from which it plans to operate nine daily flights.

If it’s any consolation to those who are upset about Delta cutting the DAL-LGA route, at least passengers won’t have to worry about the frequent delays and cancellations that come with flying to and from New York.

Without the New York route, Delta will likely have a better chance of minimizing the number of irregular operations with its Love Field operation, which could otherwise pose an issue for the carrier since it only has access to a single gate at the airport.

If you are looking to get from Love Field to New York, Southwest will be your best bet, as the carrier has long served the market with up to four daily flights. Interestingly, Virgin America (and then Alaska Airlines after the merger) also operated flights between the two airports from October 2014 to October 2018, but that service is now history.

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