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New and expanded U.S. hubs offer more choices

Chicago, Houston, Newark—the big hubs for major carriers are on most people’s radar. But recently, a few low-cost carriers have introduced new hubs, connecting more cities with more destinations than ever before.

Ohio-based Skybus, famous for offering a handful of $10 seats on every flight, limited its initial appeal by only flying to and from Columbus, Ohio. But late last year, the low-cost carrier established a new hub in Greensboro, North Carolina, which now serves almost a dozen destinations, including Los Angeles, New York, and New Orleans. Skybus has also made an exception to the hub rule by flying a direct route between Boston and two destinations in Florida. Chilly and cheap New Englanders rejoice!

Meanwhile, after a mighty struggle to gain U.S. citizenship, Virgin America kicked off flights from its San Francisco hub last August. The airline now connects San Francisco with Las Vegas, Los Angeles, New York, San Diego, and Washington, D.C., and will begin service to Seattle later this month.

New hubs aren’t the only place to find expanded service. Northwest announced new flights from its Detroit, Memphis, and Minneapolis hubs; US Airways is adding service from Charlotte and Philadelphia; and United is upping its number of routes from Washington, D.C. And though airline mergers could eventually cost some cities their hub status, there’s plenty of choice for now.

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