It was a rather interesting week for our friends in Airlineville. As Thanksgiving rapidly approaches, the residents made final preparations. For the Globe, it was good news while the opposite was true for Ms. Blue. She just can’t make up her mind.
The Eagle is looking beyond Thanksgiving into December, and it is not getting a good feeling. Its European adventures — and much more — have been cut to the bone. To paraphrase The Beatles, it may be a long, cold, lonely winter.
While everyone tinkers with the holidays, the Widget is trying something novel… looking into a crystal ball to predict what 2021 will bring. It may or may not work, but we can all be certain that these predictions won’t all come true. Further change will come.
Join me and my beloved Cirium data as we dive into this week’s episode. Like sands through the hourglass, so are the skeds of air lines.
Alaska Trims the First Half of December
While all hopes center around the holidays, Alaska is trimming in between. The first half of December sees one daily frequency cut in Seattle to Bend, Eugene, and Missoula as well as Portland to Missoula, LA to Santa Rosa, and SFO to Palm Springs. What will Alaska do with all those airplanes? Well, they’ll sit most of them, but there is an extra flight being added from SFO to LA and San Diego to help pick up the slack.
American Cuts Europe Again and Much More
It’s a dark cloud descending over the Atlantic for American. London sees further cuts between December 1 and January 5 with Charlotte, Chicago, and JFK all being suspended. That leaves only a single daily flight from DFW to both London and Frankfurt as the airline’s entire European network. The cuts on flagship routes go even further. In the first half of December, American will now only operate a single daily flight between JFK and LA.
While we’re on the topic of December cuts, American has extended its suspension of the small city routes it first cut in October. The cuts don’t stop there. Saturday-only service from Boston to Grand Cayman, Montego Bay, Nassua, and Punta Cana has been removed from the schedule. JFK also won’t have its Saturday service to Grand Cayman, Punta Cana, St Kitts, and St Maarten nor will LaGuardia have its Nassau flights.
There are bits of good news in here. Charlotte to Cancun, Cozumel, Fort Myers, and Key West get more flights. Philly will also get nonstop service to Cozumel.
Delta Looks Into 2021
The legacy airlines have been lurching from month to month, finalizing schedules about 30 days in advance. Delta is trying to get a handle on that and is taking a first swing at January and February 2021. The initial plan has seats down around 28 to 29 percent from the skeleton schedule. Not all are cuts, however, with a wholesale re-orienting of the schedule toward leisure markets. Growth is in Florida, the Mountain West, and Mexico, primarily.
Florida does see some cuts, however. Miami to Orlando and Tampa are both out of the schedule until June. These markets were entirely to feed LATAM, but the losses are probably unbearable at this point.
Frontier Changes Its Mind in January
After cutting January down to size last week, Frontier is now adding back. Denver, Las Vegas, and Miami all see growth on peak January days.
Hawaiian Delays Tahiti
Hawaiian’s plan to return to Papeete has been delayed. It won’t fly in December. Tahiti is open to Americans, so you’d think this weekly flight might be able to hold its own. It won’t get the chance this year.
JetBlue Cuts Late Again
Last week JetBlue was crowing about how demand enabled it to add 25 flights over Thanksgiving. This week, it’s cutting more than double that amount. I’m starting to get whiplash. It’s now about as exhausting to watch this airline as it is to watch Frontier’s frequent tweaks. For Frontier, that was a feature. I don’t know what JetBlue is thinking. The cuts are scattered in 33 markets ranging from LaGuardia to Tampa all the way over to LA to Cancun.
Southwest Knocks Miami Down a Bit
This was a very quiet week for Southwest, but the airline did whack Miami to Tampa down by about 15 flights a month into March. It’ll now be generally operating twice a day. The only other change of note was that San Juan – Ft Lauderdale gets 14 more flights in Jan while San Juan – Orlando gets 7. See, told you it was quiet.
United Extends Thanksgiving and Tweaks Elsewhere
United has decided to try to add more flying at the end of Thanksgiving. It’ll add a bank in Chicago, Denver, and Washington/Dulles on Tuesday, December 1. It’s also adding around the edges in December but making some notable cuts, including a few frequencies on its point-to-point routes like LaGuardia to Fort Myers and Tampa.
Florida sees some growth but not from San Francisco. Flights from there to Fort Lauderdale, Miami, and Tampa now won’t resume until February at the earliest. The new Washington/Dulles to Tel Aviv route appears to be suffering as well. It will be suspended between December 6 and March 5.
Next summer, United has Hawai’i on the mind. It’s adding an extra daily flight to Honolulu from San Francisco and Washington/Dulles, to Kahului from Chicago and LA, and to Lihu’e from LA.
Lastly, United added its JFK flights, but you already knew that was coming after last week’s post.
That’s all for this week. Stay tuned for next week’s episode of Skeds of air Lines.