If you’re an LA based flyer and you’re like me, weekends in Vegas just got cheaper thanks to ANOTHER airline entering the LAX-LAS market. For years, Southwest, Northwest (Now Delta), US Airways, American, and United have flown the 34 minutes between the two cities, shaving over 2.5-4 hours off travel time; depending on the time of day and traffic. The competition has always been fierce and EVERY Los Angeles area airport connections vacationers and business travelers travel to Las Vegas.
Now, less than 1 year after Spirit Airlines launched 5x daily Las Vegas – LAX service, on April 22, 2013 Virgin will initiate 3x daily service from LAX-LAS. This means almost EVERY major US airline will now fly between the two cities! This low-yielding, highly competitive route is heating up on this lucrative market that serves over 6500+ travelers a day, with another player offering deeply discounted fares! When first announced fares were as low as $39 and are averaging $59 on most days! As a previous LA based flyer who flew often between the two cities because I HATE the drive, I NEVER paid more than $65 each way! How Virgin plans to make any money on this route is unknown but they will certainly face stiff competition with many airlines already set up and holding their own.
Currently there are 6 airlines that fly between Vegas and the LA area.
LAX-LAS 9x daily (4x A319, 5x CRJ-900) and 8x on Saturdays
LAX-LAS 12x, BUR-LAS 10x, SNA-LAS 7x, ONT-LAS 6x, all on 737s
LAX-LAS 5x daily on B738s
LGB-LAS 5x daily on A319s A320s
LAX-LAS 5x daily on a mixtures of B737s, B757s, CRJ-700s, & A320s
LAX-LAS Recently reduced to 2x daily on A319s
LAX-LAS was cut in late 2011
So my questions is, is there room for Virgin on this route and can the cash strap, money losing airline turn a profit on this highly competitive route? That will be decided in the near future. But for now, I welcome another carrier to heat up the competition and lower the fares. Now if I could only get another option from San Diego, I’d be happy!