A Quiet Start to the New Year

Schedule Changes

It seems that the residents of Airlineville mostly joined the rest of the world in taking a break during the week between Christmas and New Years. In fact, the Eskimo, the Eagle, and the Heart did nothing at all. Good for them. They could use a break.

But that doesn’t mean that everyone was silent. Nay. The team at Cirium couldn’t take the week off even though I’m sure it would have been nice after this last year. Pualani shifted her gaze away from the Land of the Rising Sun while Ms Blue got busy scrapping spring break plans. There was a little dabbling by everyone else, but it wasn’t much to get excited about. Just wait one more week and there will undoubtedly be more a whole lot more action.

For now, sit back and enjoy the first episode of 2021. Like sands through the hourglass, so are the skeds of air lines.

Delta Does More RDU

For the most part, Delta only extended new Raleigh/Durham markets from last week through the end of schedule. It was originally filed so hastily that it only dipped into early March last week. But there was another surprise buried in there. RDU – Las Vegas will resume in March. Other than that, Delta looked to be tweaking here and there.

Frontier Cuts More in January

It’s never a surprise to see Frontier cut close to departure, but this week it went beyond that. Yes, it slashed and burned through January 11. That day sees the biggest cuts, dropping from 311 operations to only 200. But there were cuts beyond that date as well this week. From January 12 through the end of the month, Frontier won’t fly Las Vegas – San Jose, Los Angeles – Phoenix, Miami – San Juan, and Sarasota to both Philly and Chicago. Frequencies get trimmed on other routes. In fact, let’s look at a Great Circle Mapper map showing all the reductions.

Frontier Jan 12-31 frequency cuts (red) and suspensions (black) generated by the Great Circle Mapper – copyright © Karl L. Swartz.

Hawaiian Cuts Japan Further in February

Hawaiian took another big swipe at February schedules with capacity now down 54 percent year-over-year, a bigger decline than in January. The cut this week was in Japan, where schedules were slashed. Starting in mid-January, Honolulu – Haneda and Osaka drop from 3x weekly to 1x weekly. Meanwhile, Honolulu – Narita comes down to 3x weekly from a high of 4x over the holidays. Other than the weekly Honolulu – Incheon flight, that is the extent of the airline’s international network through February unless Papeete stays in the schedule. I wouldn’t count on that.

JetBlue Takes an Axe to March

JetBlue has jumped the gun by pulling down March schedules about 24 percent. March had already been built up significantly so it’s really down 10 percent year-over-year… so far. The only markets that seem to go away from February to March are Cleveland – Fort Myers and Georgetown – San Juan which goes back to JFK instead. Markets that look to be coming back in March — or starting up post-February — are Cancun – Austin, Nashville, Sacramento, Vegas; Fort Lauderdale – Bozeman, Grand Cayman, Palm Springs; Hartford – Vegas, San Francisco; Boston – Barbados, Philly; Newark – Barbados, Sarasota; New York/JFK – Nashville, Port of Spain; New York/LaGuardia – Fort Myers. Tampa; Orlando – Montego Bay, Nassau, San Francisco; and West Palm Beach – Philly. We’ll see how many of those actually fly by the time March rolls around. There will be a lot more cuts.

WestJet Drops London For Longer

WestJet made more cuts this weekend, as usual. Many of them seem to be broader trims, but some stood out. The last flight for London leaves Toronto on January 14. It won’t resume again until the summer season begins on March 27. The day after that, Calgary – London resumes as well. Nassau service will also be suspended until March, but that re-starts on the fifth from Toronto with Calgary returning the next day.

Other Randomness

  • China Airlines will bump LA service from 3x weekly to 6x weekly in March, but SFO will stay at 3x weekly at least through April.
  • China Southern will now run only 2x weekly from LA to Guangzhou all the way through October.
  • Copa won’t fly to Vegas in February.
  • El Al won’t fly to Newark in January.
  • Emirates will double JFK flights from 1x daily to 2x in April while LA goes daily. In the long run, Houston, San Francisco, and Seattle will all go down from daily to 3x or 4x weekly through October.
  • Etihad will cancel Los Angeles service through June.
  • French Bee has suspended San Francisco flights until at least March.
  • Gol service to the US has been suspended until June 25.
  • Icelandair will only fly to one US city — Boston — during February.
  • LEVEL service from Barcelona to JFK has been pushed back to March 3.
  • Qatar will not fly to Miami in April and May.
  • Royal Air Maroc has canceled all flights to Boston and Miami through the end of the schedule.
  • Xiamen Airlines looks has filed 22 flights to Fuzhou and 18 to Xiamen in January. That doesn’t sound right, but it’s what was filed.

And that’s it for this first episode of the new year. Come back next week to see what happens when the airlines wake up from their slumbers.

22 comments on “A Quiet Start to the New Year

  1. Unfortunately, airline schedules are becoming less and less meaningful because the big 3 are not cutting their schedules back to reality until the last minute, lead by United which it appears is still selling its full schedule for Feb. AA and DL have no reason to post reduced schedules for March and they aren’t. Smaller carriers like B6 that are trying to fly a lot of point to point routes have to cut schedules because their PTP schedules can’t be protected over their “hubs.”
    At this point, UA is motivated to not allow WN to gain anything with its new service to UA hubs but there is little reason to believe they can fly the service they have published.
    Of course, government money does help airlines but it harms consumers that are buying schedules that clearly won’t be all flown.

    In April, schedules go year over year to the huge pullbacks so they are less meaningful on a year over year basis anyway.

    As for RDU, DL appears to be scheduling more capacity in March in the cities that B6 announced except for EWR where UA is the largest airline. So much for the notion that DL would sit back and B6 would build RDU unchallenged. We’ll see the same trend across B6′ “new” network.

    Meanwhile, DL is still saying it will be cash flow positive by spring which is remarkable given that they are blocking middle seats through almost the end of March.

    1. There you go again. DL continues to not count debt payment or severance pay as part of its cash flow announcement. And you continue to ignore that in your statements.

      DL does a couple of retaliation which may or may not get flown and they are suddenly back. We are in January. Delta has not made their March cuts yet.

      The reality is they are not going to add that many flights over summer, since they are going to relax seat cap. On top of that, they are short on pilots. The priority will be to build up core hubs first and then competitive markets like NYC, LAX and SEA. Those are the markets they really care about. RDU is in the back burners.

      The fact is they trimmed all the non-hub/leisure market for March very early on. Which indicates they had no plans for bringing back RDU for summer and maybe rest of the year. These are just a couple of reluctant adds to warn off B6. Do you think these actions will actually deter JetBlue from adding more RDU flights? Anyone can see DL is not particularly interested in bringing back RDU this year or even next.

      Anytime another carrier threatens your statement of “DL will not lose market share anywhere”, you get very upset. Here is something to think about. RDU is a sideshow. BOS is a sideshow. The real challenge DL will face from JetBlue is NYC. We are about to find out how serious JetBlue is about EWR this year. It’s going to shape NYC aviation for years to come.

      At some point you need to acknowledge that DL has admitted it will be a smaller carrier for a couple of years at least. The ULCCs will be back to 2019 size by summer time. WN and B6 will be back to 2019 size by end of the year. DL will not be increasing market share everywhere. It doesn’t have enough active pilots to do so.

      1. I am not interested in a lengthy debate or a long back and forth but I will respond to some of your statements.
        First, airlines do provide cash flow burn guidance and actual performance and tell analysts what is included and not included. It is quite possible to “normalize” each of those reports and multiple analysts have done it. CF carried an article from a professional analyst for 3rd quarter cash burn performance. The difference between any two airlines really only applies to DL and UA, both of which carried over part of their CARES Act grants from the 3rd to the 4th quarter. Delta carried a larger portion over and if the two had taken similar values for the 3rd quarter, DL’s cash burn would have been lower. Now, it is very likely that in the fourth quarter and due to further federal help, DL will have the lowest cash burn for the 4th quarter of 2020 and the 1st quarter of 2021.
        AA and WN both learned very quickly that throwing a bunch of capacity into the marketplace doesn’t work in a deeply depressed demand environment. DL and UA were both slow to restore capacity but have rebuilt their networks although on different scales – DL has fewer markets that are being impacted by aggressive lockdowns than UA. Most carriers are doing limited expansion right now – except for B6. As The Air Current noted, it makes no sense to have a knife fight on a life raft.
        It was a given that carriers would start re-adding flights and as I noted that is what DL and UA are doing in the coming months. UA is starting in Feb and will sell as much of its schedule as it can and then pull down what it doesn’t want to operate very close to departure. DL and AA appear to be doing the same thing beginning in March.
        RDU was never a DL-only market. Nearly every market that DL dropped even temporarily was also flown by another carrier and many of them also did not bring back service until now, if at all.
        B6 chose to jump into scores of new markets, most of which were flown by other carriers and there is very little indication that those carriers are permanently leaving those markets; schedules are too much in flux to know. Anyone that has followed the airline industry knows that airlines don’t just walk away from their strength markets.
        B6 is now in a position to defend markets it has entered against multiple carriers even as B6 has the highest cash burn as a percentage of current costs in the industry – and multiple analysts recognize that.
        Delta will kick off the earnings season in a few days. We’ll see how everyone performs and I hope CF tackles it – even though financial analysis is not what he normally does.
        DL said the reality that everyone knows but DL spoke – in that DL would be smaller. UA also has said it. DL didn’t put a timeframe to its expectation and it didn’t say it was walking away from any markets. DL can shrink more by cutting a bank out of any of its hubs than the capacity it has in its focus cities.
        if you think that DL will be short of pilots so LCCs can grow in DL hubs and focus cities, you will be terribly disappointed.
        We will see how all of these new competitive additions shake out but I am far less optimistic that most of these competitive adds will stand once carriers decide to re-add capacity. WN’s incursions into AA and UA hub markets are very likely to be the most successful.
        Again, we can all prognosticate about the future. It is no more out of bounds to evaluate how this all shapes out blow by blow as long as it is also ok for some to tout how well some of these capacity additions would do.

        1. The only reason Delta carried over more of the original cares act funds was because Delta cut all of their nonunion employees hours by 25% after the original cares act passed. This cut in hours represents a cut in take home pay. When United tried to follow Delta’s lead by proposing to cut all employees hours starting last July United was called out even by people in Washington DC, Delta was not. Also United original care act funding was over $1.1 billion dollars short of covering their entire payroll. So the fact that United even had care act funds leftover after Q3 while still paying union employees a 40 hour work week, and paying both the FA’s and pilots full base pay shows the work United put into getting people to retire or take a voluntary leave of absence.

          I’m not trying to take anything away from Delta they have done a spectacular job navigating this crisis but United has done a great job as well. United cash burn in Q4 will be much higher I think it is because United made a mistake over Thanksgiving by adding 1,400 additional flights over a 10 day period only to see tens of thousands of people cancel their Thanksgiving travel plans. If I’m not mistaken I don’t think Delta added any additional flights to the schedule.

          United’s Q4 cash burn numbers will include severance pay and debt payment, what we saw in Q3 was Delta hid their true cash burn rate the numbers they reported did not include severance or debt payments if an individual wanted to know the true number they had to do their own homework and dig for the information. But a lot of people won’t do the leg work and will simply take the number Delta reports as final when in fact their Q3 burn rate was much closer to $30 million dollars if not more not the $24 million dollars per day they reported.

          1. All of the publicly traded US airlines report their financial statements according to SEC acceptable standards. There are multiple ways that results can be accurately reported.
            CARES Act funding was never intended to replace 100% of HR costs and hasn’t – which is why cost cutting had to take place.
            Delta has not hidden anything. They took billions of dollars of restructuring charges including for personnel and aircraft retirements – by far the most aggressive in the industry so far.
            I absolutely agree with you that DL gained an advantage because of its ability to reduce personnel costs – and they will need to deal w/ the reality that some DL personnel have taken deeper cuts than their unionized peers at other airlines. DL will figure it out but that is a separate issue from cash burn and the competitive situation.
            UA and AA both face enormous competitive capacity incursions and that is the big differentiator between DL and UA going forward. RDU is the closest thing that any airline has done in any of DL’s strongest markets -and RDU was about 1% of DL’s system capacity in 2019.
            And DL and UA both recognize that it doesn’t make sense to fight with competitors when there is little demand but neither are walking away from their key markets.
            and as much as some people want to think AA and B6 will help each other, both are in far weaker positions than DL and UA in each of their key markets and DL and UA have a much stronger chance of gaining at AA and B6′ expense.
            WN in ORD, IAH, and DEN is far more likely to be successful and a pain for UA while it will be ORD, DAL and MIA for AA.

            The market is still very unstable and some airlines are not taking the steps necessary to adapt to a very long recovery and deep cuts in business travel. DL and UA both recognized that early and took dramatic steps from a cost perspective. UA’s situation is just more cloudy because of revenue. Both are better positioned and will benefit from weakness at other carriers.

            1. Again, RDU is not one of DL’s strongest markets.

              The biggest problem DL faces in one of its hubs is JetBlue in NYC. RDU is a drop in the bucket compare to NYC.

              Also, DL took large 1 time hits so that they don’t get included in the head line cash burn number. They definitely spin the news in their earnings call pretty well.

        2. Now you admit that when the say they have positive cash flow, that’s all nonsense. It just means they have positive cash flow when not include interest/debt payment and severance pay. Both of those are large cash burn items.

          As for JetBlue, you continue to ignore that they are burning a lot of cash because their home airports have no demand and they did minimal head count reduction. So they have to fly somewhere. The additional flying doesn’t cause cash burn. They reduce cash burn. They are only flying stuff that can cover the cost of flight itself. JetBlue is going to be one of the biggest beneficiaries of CARES act since it did very little head count reduction. So it would’ve had to pay those salaries anyways.

          They had really good cash position even by end of Q3. They are not in any danger of declaring chapter 11. They have been willing to burn a little more cash in order to pick up valuable real estate around the country. Real estate that cost airlines a lot of money to acquire during good times. You can make up your own mind if losing a little more money is worth picking up more gates a EWR, LAX and other constrained airports.

          They are waiting to capture the leisure demand bounce. A slight bounce in booking in September decreased their cash burn from $7 to $9 range to $6.1 million for the entire quarter. That’s despite NYC still being 75% down in bookings. They are now trying to get in front of the pent up demand for summer travel. Bookings are up for late spring and early summer due to vaccine news. Why would JetBlue not want to add more routes to capture a larger portion of those bookings? The market will tell JetBlue what they will end up flying. JetBlue is a leisure oriented airlines. Short haul leisure market can quickly go from 70% down to 40% down YoY. That would be the difference between burning cash and not burning cash for an airline like JetBlue.

          You also made a comment about airlines not walking away from their strength market. That is true. The question is why do you think RDU is a strength market for them? They clearly didn’t think those business markets out of RDU were their strength when they made those early March trims. And clearly, JetBlue does not think so either.

          DL has a lot of areas it will want to fortify first:
          ATL needs to be the greatest hub in the world and AA’s CLT/DFW buildup will challenge them on a wide variety of connections.
          SLC is at a great location for connection, but both WN/UA are building up DEN. DL will want to build up SLC as quickly as possible.
          DL has devoted tremendous resource at SEA. AS will bring SEA capacity back very aggressively this summer. DL will not want to be left behind.
          DL has devoted tremendous resource in NYC. Depending on how much longer slot waivers last, DL may be forced to add back a lot of LGA routes when demand is still not there.
          DL is trying to win the LAX war. That will take a lot of resource.

          Does RDU sound like something very important to them in light of these other priorities?

          My claims on DL pilots are based on what I read off their forum and what I have seen happen in their holiday meltdowns. We will see if I’m right. But I think a summer or end of year 2023 recovery to 2019 size is pretty reasonable estimate. By then, LCC and ULCCs will all be larger.

          The question of where LCC and ULCCs will grow is a different issue DL’s core hubs are the envy of all other airlines. It’s not really getting challenged there. Long term demographic shifts probably mean DTW/MSP will weaken whereas ATL will continue to strengthen. The problems facing DL are at its non-core hubs. LAX will continue to be fragmented and have more LCC competition. AS will continue to grow relentlessly at SEA. The MAX9 replacing A320s will be a major boon to AS’s ability to dominate SEA. NYC business demand is going to be down for a while. DL has admitted that it could take many many years for that to recover. I think it’s safe to say that NYC aviation landscape will never look like it was in 2019 again. As long as DL hangs onto its slots, it shouldn’t lose major market share there. The shift in NYC will be from AA/UA to B6 and other LCCs. The bigger concern for DL would be a long term shift in downtown Manhattan preference from LGA to EWR. That would be a giant disaster for DL.

          1. You clearly seem to believe in a world that justifies B6′ expansion because of some perceived weakness in the market and at other carriers that simply has not materialized. What is real is that B6 is cutting capacity while other airlines including DL and UA are not.
            DL’s network is just as strong as it always was. There simply has been no material change in the competitive environment of DL’s hubs.
            LCCs and ULCCs are NOT doing any better financially than the legacy carriers led by DL. We have heard for months that analysts expect LCCs to return faster but that simply has not happened financially – because everyone is chasing the same leisure domestic passenger and all will continue to do so.
            Even without their massive international networks, DL and UA are doing as well as or better financially than some LCCs including B6.
            B6 strategically built its network around highly competitive NE cities- that was flawed from day 1. Now, you somehow think that other carriers are going to roll over and allow B6 to grow, regardless of the market.
            DL and UA BOTH know that B6 is burning the most cash right now on a cost adjusted basis. The amount of cash any airline had coming in is not the point as much as you want to believe otherwise. The point is to successfully get out of this covid crisis and B6 is by far in the most unstable situation. B6 has taken on a million new “projects” and all 3 global airlines – including supposed partner AA – are determined to stand up for their markets.

            There is no use in continuing to debate this. You have put your belief on what will happen down and I have as well.

            I hope you won’t be disappointed when you find that scores of these markets that B6 has started don’t last and B6 might actually be weaker in its core markets one year from now as well as in worse financial shape.

            1. B6 is getting back up to running 4 lines of refurbishment on A320s in early January. Does that sound like an airline that’s very concerned about cash burn to you?

              There was a couple of months there where G4 and NK were cash neutral in 2020 as soon as leisure booking rebounded. That’s how quickly ULCCs can rebound to being cash neutral. All they need is a quick rebound in leisure bookings. A bounce in leisure demand back in September allowed B6 cash intake to be over 30% of pre-pandemic level. That’s despite the challenges of NYC/Boston market. We will see what the vaccine news do for booking in Q1, because a lot of people will be making late spring/summer bookings.

              You are angry at B6 now because they dared to expand in one of DL’s focus cities. How dare they. They must learn from WN and only attack UA/AA hubs.

              UA has a lot of problems. It has over $40 billion in debt with a major population shift from places like NYC/DC/Chicago/Bay Area/LA to SE and Texas. It’s managing the pandemic quite well, but there are real structural challenges that they are facing. They are only really doing better than AA financially among major airlines.

              DL is doing reasonably well for a legacy airline, because its core hubs are very secure. But the slow return in business travel and TATL market will be problem for them for a while. Their northeast booking numbers remain a huge disaster.

              If JetBlue comes out of this weaker, it will be because JFK/BOS takes years to recover to their pre-COVID demand level. It won’t be because they decided to add flights out of EWR/LAX/RDU to gain additional revenue. And in that scenario, DL will also be losing a lot of money in the northeast. If RDU doesn’t work, that’s not a big deal. The market that JetBlue really wants to win is NYC. I don’t see any argument that they are somehow weaker in New York post-COVID. After that, Boston and South Florida are important to them. Having a large station in non-Florida part of SE is very beneficial to their network. There is a general population shift to that region. But RDU expansion will not come at the expense of NYC/Boston/SoFla stations.

            2. FC,
              Let’s make this simple and to the point.
              B6 strategically was in a much more vulnerable position even pre-covid because its network was built around large, highly competitive cities, esp. in one region of the country. While AS’ network is similar and a mirror image, they are the largest airline in their home market, SEA. B6 is not the largest airline in NYC or even at JFK. Despite all kinds of internet noise, DL managed to successfully set up hubs in both SEA and BOS and gets a higher percentage of B6′ local market revenue in BOS than it does in SEA – and they are above 70% in both – at least as of 2019.
              You very much want to believe that other carriers are weak in order to justify B6′ ability to add new markets to try NOW to diversify its route network.
              The reality – as confirmed in multiple financial comparisons done by multiple analysts – not me – is that B6 is in even a more fragile financial position right now because of its current losses than any other airline. All the cash coming into this crisis means nothing if any company loses so much more than its peers during the crisis that they are substantially weakened coming out. That is likely where B6 will be.
              The fact that B6 failed to cut costs and “needs” to use its crew and aircraft in markets that have little demand highlights B6′ plight. Every other airline has realized that it doesn’t work to fly excess demand right now. The E190 is the most cost-INEFFICIENT aircraft in the US airline fleet; throwing a bunch of E190s against any other airlines’ aircraft in competitive, low demand markets is a recipe for more losses.
              DL and UA have the biggest competitive overlap with B6 and both are ready to start aggressively competing with B6 – even as demand comes back.
              You also want to believe that other airlines don’t care about certain markets so that B6 would be “justified” in expanding. Whether any airline publishes schedules for this month or the next doesn’t mean that they were ever willing to cede those markets to anyone else. If WN published schedules for AUS-RDU, DL likely would have jumped back in.

              I am sure you will keep pushing this narrative that B6 is going to grow and do it in other carriers’ top markets until it is obvious they have pulled all of that capacity.

              I am simply telling you from years of watching the airline industry that there are far higher odds that B6 will end up weaker and having failed to expand its network than just about any other airline including DL and UA.

  2. Cranky – off topic but was curious to know who your intended audience was for your weekly newsletter? The pricing seems to align more towards business pricing, but I assumed the newsletter would have been intended for non-business.

    1. Eric – You’re talking about Cranky Network Weekly? It is meant for several target markets, but primarily Wall St/investors, consultants, and airports. We also have a ton of airline network planning folks on the list.

  3. Brett, off topic, but no weekly links/articles post over the weekend?

    I was surprised that you didn’t get quoted in some of the articles that covered Alaska’s tighter restrictions on “service animals” (dubious quotes intended).

    I flew WN over the holidays, connecting through BWI, and it was a zoo, almost literally… The dogs outnumbered the FAs on every one of my 4 segments, sometimes by more than 2 to 1. The dogs were actually pretty well behaved, but FAs did have to remind pax that animals were not allowed in the emergency exit rows or on seats. I feel bad for people who genuinely need service animals due to legitimate medical conditions, but who are being lumped in with the many people who seem to only require a service animal when it helps them avoid a pet fee, but I’ll end the soapbox there.

    1. Kilroy – Nah, I was trying to lay low. But nobody reached out to me about the pet thing. I’m glad they’re banning them as ESAs. It’s about time.

      1. Thanks, hope you enjoyed the holiday.

        I’ve traveled with a pet (a cat) in the cabin on a single domestic roundtrip. While my cat was very well behaved (slept through the flight, whined during the car rides to/from the airports), traveling with her wasn’t fun and wasn’t cheap. Vet appointments & forms required on both ends before departure, holding onto the cat for dear life when TSA made me take her out of her carrier for security screening, rushing out to a store upon arrival at the destination to get a litter box, food, etc… Perhaps dogs are a little easier to travel with, and I love animals, but I guess I just don’t see the appeal of bringing a pet into an airplane cabin unless a person is moving to a new home, and even then it’s a pain.

    2. I need to ask why does everyone think that every animal on a flight is an “ESA/PSA” animal? How do you know that the passenger did not actually pay to have their pet fly with them?

      I had only brought my now deceased dog with me when I had to fly to NY for a family funeral and all the relatives who would actually take care of him when I was on vacation also flew to NY to attend the funeral. I paid $200 each way, he stayed in his carrier, and did not need to be sedated, even though I had medicine if needed as he traveled well without it. I could not afford the $200/day to board him for the week because he was a special needs dog (diabetic) that needed multiple medications per day.

      Animals are family members as well, but I knew his place was at home when I traveled, so he would stay there with family members.

      1. TC99 – The rules around which animals can be brought onboard as pets for the fee are far more strict. If I see an animal in a crate that fits under the seat, I assume it’s a pet. But all those ESAs that are big dogs that sit in the cabin somewhere are either service animals (which are almost always well-marked) or ESAs.

      2. What Cranky said. A small pet in an underseat carrier is one thing, and is quite possibly/likely a pet that the owner has paid for, as the few airline policies that I’ve seen require pets in the cabin to be in carriers at all times, and pets (non-ESA/service animals) too large to fit under the seat in front of you to travel as cargo. When I see a dog on a leash (without a carrier), whatever size, I (rightly or wrongly) assume that the dog is either a legitimate service animal (some of which are pretty obvious, based on the appearance of the dog & person they are assisting and the dog/person’s behavior) or an ESA (legitimate or not)… And yes, sometimes you can’t really tell.

        I love animals of all types, and quite frankly I’d rather sit next to a dog on most flights than a young child or a “Karen” type of person, as the dog is likely be better behaved and a better seatmate. However, there have been some high-profile incidents (and resulting lawsuits) where animals on flights bit FAs or pax. There’s definitely a number of people who use the ESA rules to travel with their furbaby without ensuring paying the fees or ensuring that their dog has the proper training, temperament, and vaccines, and that’s fraud and a danger to other pax.

        Ultimately, unfortunate incidents on planes with animals make it harder for people who legitimately need service animals (and for those like yourself, who are doing all the steps and paying to bring well-behaved pets) to have them on board.

  4. Cranky- As others have noted, UA still has a lot of Feb flying loaded for sale. I continue to watch their approach to Pacific, and they have still pulled down nothing, including daily frequencies and flight resumptions to China – will Chinese authorities even let them land the planes?
    What am I missing here, is this a dash for cash from travelers who don’t know the entry restrictions in place in Asian countries right now?

    1. Jim – It looks like United loaded its Feb cuts yesterday. The holiday just pushed it a week or so later than it normally would have, but this has been pretty consistent for United each month. Just waiting to see what demand looks like before locking it down.

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