Airline catching up with migration south

        Despite a decades-long population shift north to south, airlines have been slow to build into their schedules non-stop flights to the most popular southern vacation and retirement spots.  An announcement yesterday by U.S. Airways signals that may be changing.

        The airline is adding brand new service from its New York LaGuardia Airport hub (LGA) to Asheville, N.C. (AVL), Columbia, S.C. (CAE), and Greenville/Spartanburg, S.C. (GSP) U.S. Airways also announced it will add more flights from LaGuardia to Charleston, S.C (CHS).  The new service is effective October 31.

        This is good news for those who live in the New York Metropolitan area and have considered vacation homes in the Carolina mountains.  A non-stop to Asheville cuts travel time in half compared with the current flights that make a stop -– and necessitate a change of planes -– in Charlotte or Atlanta.  Owners of a second home in a golf community like Champion Hills in Hendersonville, NC, could catch a morning flight and be on the first tee of the fine Tom Fazio course by noon.  Ditto for those heading for, say Woodside Plantation in Aiken, SC, less than an hour from Columbia’s easy-in, easy-out airport.

        (Note to golf community marketing experts:  Time to dust off your customer lists and offer some special promotions to those with New York metro zip codes.)

        U.S. Airways also announced that it would begin thrice daily service from Hartford, CT’s Bradley Airport to LaGuardia, the first time the airline has provided non-stop flights from your editor’s local airport to the Big Apple.  Although most of my trips south are via the interstates –- my Acura is way more comfortable than a Boeing 737 cabin -- the additional flights will provide more options and tempt me to test again the alleged friendliness of the friendly skies.