First it was, then it wasn’t. Now, New Orleans-based regional charter operator GLO is shifting gears again with plans to offer seasonal nonstop service from New Orleans to Florida’s Destin-Fort Walton Beach Airport.
GLO will offer one round-trip flight from Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport to the Emerald Coast on select Fridays and Mondays starting June 24 through Labor Day weekend.
In February, GLO said it would begin flying the route from New Orleans, but decided against it after slow initial demand. Instead, it offered the Destin flights from Little Rock, Arkansas, which gave beach-bound travelers an alternative to the nine-hour drive by car.
So far, Little Rock travelers have been “very receptive” to the flights, said GLO founder and CEO Trey Fayard. Some schedules are booked near-capacity, particularly heading into the Fourth of July weekend. Now, Fayard believes the timing is right to expand the service to New Orleans.
Since launching six months ago, GLO has offered nonstop service from New Orleans to Shreveport; Little Rock; and Memphis, Tennessee. In that stretch, it’s made other recent adjustments, including making its flights from New Orleans to Shreveport depart earlier in the morning, based on customer feedback.
Fayard said the company has dealt with weather-related challenges as well as the “growing pains” of breaking into new markets. Otherwise, he said it’s “going as expected.”
GLO plans to add another destination in coming months, which Fayard described as “eastward.”
But measuring the route’s success will require patience, he said. Advanced bookings for the New Orleans-to-Destin flights may be hard to read, he said, since it’s only a four-hour drive and more travelers may decide to go at the last-minute. Roundtrip fares start at $198, including taxes.
“It’s seasonal, and it’s less than daily, so you don’t have as many seats to sell,” he said. “I don’t want to say it’s easier, it’s just kind of a different method.”
Follow Richard Thompson on Twitter, @rthompsonMSY.