LA-to-Hartford flight expands options for students

With the addition of a direct route on American Airlines between Bradley International Airport (BDL) in Hartford and Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), Yalies flying to and from the West Coast have gained another transportation option.

The inaugural flight occurred on Aug. 27, and most students interviewed were excited about the change. Yale and New Haven officials said the announcement was a positive development for Bradley, though they expected it would have limited consequences for the Elm City’s Tweed-New Haven Regional Airport.

American Airlines spokesman Matt Miller said that the decision to add the direct flight was primarily motivated by the airline’s desire to foster more connections to the West Coast and beyond, broadening possibilities for international travel to destinations like Australia or China. The nonstop service is “not contingent” on the merger between U.S. Airways and American Airlines, Miller added.

Robert Zartarian, director of Yale Travel Management, said he finds the advent of this flight to be promising news.

“LAX is one of Yale’s top destinations for business travel for faculty and staff with over 1,000 annual travelers,” Zartarian said, “so I believe this new AA service will be vastly welcomed.”

Bradley is one of the University’s most utilized airports, seeing around 40 percent of outbound travelers, while Tweed and the NYC metro airports pick up much of the remaining traffic.

Each of the six Yale students interviewed from the West Coast was happy with the new development. Zack Williams ’17, who lives in Southern California, said he would “definitely” utilize the new service due to its convenience.

Few experts were concerned that the additional flight could negatively impact traffic at Tweed — which does not offer any flights to the West Coast. Currently, LAX-bound travelers use New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport about 60 percent of the time to “enjoy the luxury of non-stop service,” Zartarian said. He said that Yale Travel Management’s clients use Tweed to reach LAX “only roughly twice a week,” and that he “[suspects] that those travelers who are accustomed to flying from Tweed will continue to take advantage of the benefits of the local airport.”

Michael Piscitelli, the city’s deputy economic development administrator, said that the presence of an additional flying option will “certainly help air travelers in Greater New Haven,” though he added that he had concerns about Tweed’s long-term future.

“Approximately 65% of all New Haven area passengers now use out-of-state airports to reach their destinations,” Piscitelli said. “This is a significant challenge that cannot be addressed solely at BDL and that is why it is very important to further improve Tweed to better serve the market and grow the economy.”

The current fare for a nonstop flight on American Airlines from BDL to LAX is $372, while the fare from JFK to LAX is lower at $313. Dale Tager ’17 said he thinks the higher cost of transportation to get to New York City over Hartford will sway Yalies to utilize BDL more often.

The new flight will depart Hartford at 9:20 a.m. daily and arrive in Los Angeles at 12:35 p.m. The returning flight is a red-eye, leaving LAX at 11:55 p.m. and arriving at BDL the following morning at 8:10 a.m.

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