UPDATE: New nonstop service from Chattanooga to New York City takes off
UPDATE: If you want to make plans to visit the northeast, you now have a new option at the Chattanooga Airport.
Monday, the first flight to the Big Apple took off.
The president of the airport said New York is a top destination for Chattanooga travelers. It's one reason why they decided to add this flight.
Passengers arrived early to be on the first plane ride to NYC, a more convenient choice for some who go there for business.
"Normally, I would go from Chattanooga to Atlanta and have to wait for a while and go on to LaGuardia," Steve Durham said.
Now, there are two options to fly to in the region, Newark and LaGuardia.
"Customers can leave here at 6:30 in the morning and be back here in the evening and do a full day at work up in New York, so that was very easy and very important for us to gain that access," Terry Hart said.
Hart is the airport president, and he said adding LaGuardia was an obvious choice. After a few years of talks with Delta, the company saw the need to add a new option for passengers.
"As customers continue to use the airport and our enplanements rise, that's what airlines are looking for," he explained.
The airport has seen growth over the last decade. Passenger boardings are up 16 percent compared to last year, and they are on track to reach over 500,000 boardings this year. This means more options could come in the future.
"Possibilities for other hubs are Miami, Denver, Houston are opportunities for us to grow in Chattanooga," he said.
Right now, there are 10 direct destinations from Chattanooga. Six of them are major hubs, meaning more places are within reach.
It's a big day for the region and passengers. For Durham, it marks the second time he's been a part of new beginnings at the airport.
"I was on the first small engine jet that came into Chattanooga 24 or 25 years ago," Durham said.
We asked the airport how it would accommodate future flights. They told us there is a 20-year long-term infrastructure plan to expand the airport.
PREVIOUS STORY: A new flight in Chattanooga will take travelers directly to the Big Apple starting Monday.
The new Delta flight will take travelers from Chattanooga to the LaGuardia Airport in New York.
"It's going to be a good direct flight! You don't have to miss any flight in between, long layovers and all that," traveler Vijaykumar Patel said.
This will be the second flight to the New York area, travelers can also fly from Chattanooga to Newark, a trip one Chattanooga traveler makes often for school.
"I used to take the direct flight from Chattanooga to Newark, then have to take the train to New York City," Shaan Desai explained.
But now, Desai can fly straight to his college campus in New York.
The non-stop service will be offered every day of the week.
The flights are something Desai plans to take advantage of.
"It feels great because it's just a lot easier, makes the trip a little less time, makes my life easier," Desai said.
The flight will be operated by Endeavor Air, a Delta connection partner.
Trips are scheduled for the following days and times:
- Departs CHA 07:05 / Arrives LGA 09:30 on weekdays and Saturday
- Departs LGA 20:20 / Arrives CHA 22:55 on weekdays and Sunday