“New York, New York: a city so wonderful, you have to say it twice” said Bill DeCota, the Director of Aviation for the Port of New York/New Jersey at the press conference on Sunday morning, June 28th at the brand-spanking new Southwest Airlines Ticket Counter at LaGuardia (LGA) .
The long-awaited arrival of the low-cost, lotsa LUV airline into the Big Apple was here at last—and with much ado. Festivities had been going on prior to opening day for weeks in the city: NYC street teams handing out Southwest nuts, our CEO Gary Kelly ringing the bell at the New York Stock Exchange, a Southwest Social for our Twitter followers and Facebook friends—not to mention the already raved-about Southwest Porch in Bryant Park.
You could say Southwest was ready for New York, but was New York ready for Southwest? The answer was a resounding YES! The ferry flight from Dallas kicked off with a champagne toast from Southwest’s VP of Communication & Strategic Outreach, Linda Rutherford: “Here’s to the LUV finally landing in the LGA!”
The view from the plane coming in for landing at LaGuardia might have been the most exciting part all weekend. It’s the perfect shot of the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, and that quintessential New York skyline that conjures up so many classic cinematic moments.
A swarm of yellow-shirted volunteers (reading “New York’s New Luv”) ran off the plane upon arrival, probably leading many New Yorkers wondering just what these crazy Texans were up to. And like the title of this post says, Southwest may have just one gate for now, but we’re not afraid to use it. With daily nonstops to Baltimore and Chicago, plus connecting service to more than 45 other cities, New Yorkers are now free to move about the country.
And what’s a Southwest event without an appearance by one of our many multi-talented Flight Attendants: Mr. David Holmes himself. You might have heard of him—hint: he raps. A lot. And this was no different. David closed the Sunday opening event with a NY-themed rap he’d written just for the occasion. Of course, a little audience participation (a stomp and a clap) plus some Spirit, Jr.’s dancing behind him didn’t hurt either.
Several lucky winners from Chicago and Baltimore were treated to a ferry flight into New York from BWI, plus a stay at the Marriott Marquis right on Times Square. A reception was hosted for them on Saturday night, and I overhead one couple proudly proclaiming themselves “Southwest snobs!”
So with school out and summer vacation on everyone’s mind, there couldn’t be a better time to catch a Southwest flight to NYC—say, this weekend? And when you’re there, be sure to stop by the Southwest Porch in the southwest corner (of course) of Bryant Park. There you’ll find some tasty SW city-themed sandwiches, courtesy of Tom Colicchio’s ‘wichcraft, not to mention a summer ale—brewed especially for Southwest. But please, save me a pint. I hope to be back in a New York minute.