If you’re living in New York and you’re planning to travel to Florida’s West Palm Beach International Airport (PBI), you may not be aware of the fact that you have a multitude of options when it comes to non-stop flights. However, it’s important to note that one of the flagship carriers that many travelers are accustomed to using does not seem to offer frequent non-stop flights from La Guardia (LGA) to PBI.
To provide some context, I decided to visit my dad in Florida for a vacation during the summer and planned to use American Airlines as my carrier of choice. I specifically chose American Airlines because I wanted to test out their Platinum status that I received a trial for through the Founder’s Card membership program. To be honest, I wasn’t impressed with having temporary status with this airline, but I’ll delve more into that in my review article of the sunshine state. I also want to note that I no longer am a member of the Founder’s Card program as I didn’t feel that the benefits were worth the price over the long term. I was able to exhaust the benefits that best suited my needs in a year and after that, it wasn’t worth it, in my opinion.
As an aside, in 2018 (this can be applied to any point in time when you plan to travel), here’s what a representative with American Airlines told me regarding why they weren’t offering any non-stop flights…
Why Would You Want To Avoid A Flight With A Layover?
In general, if I can help it, I never take a flight that isn’t non-stop. In this scenario, since I was testing out Platinum status with American Airlines, I had no choice since at the time (June 2018) only layover flights from LGA to PBI were offered.
With that being said, I’m glad to see that based on the quote above that American Airlines was truthful in that these scheduling decisions can change. Based on a review of their website (as of January 2019), they seem like they’re easing into non-stop flights for the LGA to PBI route. How long or how many flights we’ll continue to see as non-stop will remain to be seen.
My reason for sharing these details with you is not to discuss what year I took my trip or how an airline’s practices can change from year to year, but rather make you aware of the fact that taking a flight with a layover is going to cost you more money out-of-pocket.
I want you to keep in mind that if you’re planning on visiting West Palm Beach, Florida and you’re in the New York area, that you should look into giving yourself more flexibility when it comes to saving yourself money and be aware of the carriers that will offer you a better situation when you’re going from LGA to PBI.
What do I mean?
Be sure to consider other airlines that provide more choice when it comes to non-stop flights. As travelers, we tend to stick with an airline that we’re comfortable with or have used frequently, but since we’re trying to travel more while on a budget, you really want to break this mindset.
Traveling more frequently means giving all airlines a fair review and seeing how they stack up against each other. Considering airline amenities, their consistency in regards to being on-time, having top-notch security, and seamless experience through the airport and is a must for all travelers.
You’re only going to get this invaluable insight if you’re open to experiencing an airline that you haven’t tried before. However, that’s not to say that you should use an airline if it’s received too many negative reviews or multiple people close to you suggesting you stay away from them. In turn, it’s important to note that each individual’s experience with an airline is going to be relative. While one person you know may have had a bad experience, doesn’t mean you’re going to have that same experience. That’s why I say you need to try various airlines out for yourself to see the bigger picture.
With that in mind, if you’re open to eliminating “airline loyalty” – since you’re not a frequent flier – you will save yourself money in the process.
Are There Really Better Options For Non-Stop Flights From LGA To PBI?
Let’s delve into the number of carrier options when searching for non-stop flights from LGA to PBI, shall we? Those carriers include JetBlue, Southwest, United, and Delta.
I know this is something you could have found out on your own, but I figured I’d save you some time and share that here. Additionally, this helps support the reason for allowing yourself flexibility as a traveler on a budget. You now see a handful of well-known brand names that are considered flagship carriers in the industry offering multiple flight times for getting to West Palm Beach. It’s highly recommended that you compare non-stop prices when considering which airline you choose for your travels.
To accomplish this, I like to do the following (and best of all you can use this regardless of where you’re traveling to or from)…
I can’t recommend enough that you not only look at the non-stop prices on each airline’s respective website, but you also utilize tools that are available which will do the price comparisons for you. The one I use all the time and have come to feel is the best option out there is Kayak. They do a fantastic job of allowing you to compare prices amongst various airlines in addition to prices amongst other third-party travel agent sites.
It’s important that you don’t use Kayak as a one-all-be-all approach and compare them against other sites like Expedia, Cheap-O-Air, Priceline, etc. by going to those sites directly. Even though Kayak can filter by non-stop and connection flights for you – just like the other third-party travel agent sites – I still feel it’s a good practice to check the carrier site directly to make sure you’re getting the best price that fits your budget. I believe this is a good practice because I’ve run across scenarios where I was searching for a flight on Kayak and an airline I’m expecting to see in the search results isn’t available.
It’s also important to keep in mind that when you’re booking non-stop flights from an airline while using a third-party travel agent that some of these third-party sites have fees that get applied when using their site (Cheap-O-Air is an example, but they do offer discounts off of their fees by signing up to their email list). It’s vital for us – since we’re looking to save money – to avoid extra fees whenever possible, but also to look at those fees from an alternative perspective.
How do we do that?
We can accomplish this by seeing if the fees tact on by a third-party booking agent is cheaper or more expensive than using a different third-party site or using the carrier’s website directly.
Understanding Availability As It Relates To Flight Prices To West Palm Beach
Availability is based on supply and demand and it’s one of the main factors used in determining flight prices. We all wonder why prices can change from day to day without any explanation. That information will never be made available to the consumer. However, we can use the concept of supply and demand in mind, we want to make sure we lock in a flight price that fits our budget when we see fit. The worse thing we could do is operate under the assumption that the price could be cheaper tomorrow because tomorrow the supply and demand may change and in turn, so will the price.
Since we can’t predict what the airlines are going to do, what we can do over time is spot trends as to when the best time to purchase a non-stop flight is. If you haven’t utilized it already, you can use my Budget Travel Planner as a way to get a gist of the fluctuation of prices and use that information to spot trends for your future purchasing decisions. For me personally, I prefer purchasing my flight about three months out from my departure on a Tuesday or Wednesday afternoon.
When I left for PBI, I departed on a Saturday. There were no non-stop flights at this point in time (June 2018), but if we look at it from a logical perspective, Saturday’s can be a preferred day of travel. Many people are off from work and it’s more flexible instead of having to take additional days off to travel during a weekday. If many others are following this same mindset, then the availability for a non-stop flight with American Airlines on this particular route is going to be limited. This will be true, even more so if the number of flights available to PBI isn’t as high for a given day.
As mentioned, the availability can change as well as how they update the schedule. Now that we’re seeing non-stop options show up for American Airlines for flights from LGA to PBI, maybe we’ll see availability improve. I’ve never met someone who didn’t prefer a non-stop flight to get to their destination quicker. Waiting at the airport for a handful of hours to get to where you’re going isn’t fun. Why would anyone want to potentially spend more money on a layover when they didn’t want that as an option in the first place?
How successful have you been trying to find a non-stop flight using American Airlines regardless of if you’re traveling from LGA to PBI? If you do travel this route and you’re reading this, have you seen any improvements in regards to non-stop options?