Frontier Takes Summer Down, Delta Shifts to Leisure, and Retaliation Aplenty

Schedule Changes

Greetings from a sunny and warm Airlineville. Ok, so maybe Airlineville isn’t that sunny and warm, but I’m flying back from my sunny and warm weeklong vacation this afternoon, so that’s where my mind is right now.

Even if Airlineville isn’t warm and cozy, at least two of our residents are thinking about warmer days. The Animal took a look at summer, and decided he wasn’t on the right path. Meanwhile, Pualani has given up on seeing her friends down under for awhile. Oh, and of course, the Maple Leaf was full of more doom and gloom. But other than that, it was a relatively quiet week as I pored over the Cirium data with a view of the ocean and a whisky in my hand.

The Widget did take a look at May and, naturally, revised plans downward. It also continued its leisure shift. The Globe also looked at May, but only in a small corner of the world.

All this and more this week. Like sands through the hourglass, so are the skeds of air lines.

Alaska Takes a Swing at Delta

Remember how Delta was planning all those new flights to Alaska for the summer? Well, Alaska noticed. Go figure. It’s now adding flights this summer from Anchorage to Minneapolis/St Paul. Coincidence? I think not.

Alaska is also liking American’s new aggressiveness out of Austin, so it’s piling on with a second daily from Portland and 4th daily from Seattle for the summer.

American’s One Summer MAX Route

Clearly this is going to change, but as of now, the only MAX route American has scheduled this summer is from Miami to… Indianapolis. Say what? Well, American just hasn’t filed any other MAX flying beyond June 2 yet, but this week, American did do some upgauging in Miami including Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Richmond, and of course, Indianapolis which gets the MAX. Miami also goes from only 1x daily Hartford flight to 3x daily. Why? Oh right, JetBlue just announced the route, so it’s time for a friendly fight.

In other news, American is feeling more confident that it can avoid swapping A321ceos in for A321neos on more routes, so it has expanded the number of routes where it will sell the full 196 seats on the neo instead of 192. Oh, and American is pushing back most Buenos Aires flights into early May while China gets pushed again until early June. The latter will get pushed further, no doubt.

Delta Takes a Crack at May

Delta took its first swing at May schedules with just shy of a 20 percent cut vs last week. It’s showing down 26 percent vs 2019 while April is down 33 percent. Delta doesn’t usually do one cut but rather it does multiples, so we’ll see where this goes.

Delta also loaded its announced summer outdoorsy adds. Most of these are returning markets from summer 2019 or 2020, but a handful are not. Boston – Bangor hasn’t been flown since 2009 while Atlanta – Bangor hasn’t been flown since 2008. These markets haven’t been served at all by Delta, at least not this century: Boston – Hilton Head, Traverse City; New York/JFK – Bozeman; Detroit – Jackson Hole, Rapid City; Seattle – Fresno, Kalispell, Reno.

Lastly, Delta gave Minneapolis/St Paul and Salt Lake City the weekend treatment it rolled out elsewhere. They now have more Saturday flights than before. Salt Lake is almost at a regular weekday schedule while MSP still remains below, but the gap has closed.

Frontier Makes Big Changes

Frontier is usually all about tactical moves, but this week it actually made some larger summer changes, mostly cuts. St Louis was the big winner with several new routes frequencies and seats up a third. Orlando was the only other market that was up. Big losers are Newark, Chicago, Boston, Philly, and Raleigh/Durham all losing more than 10,000 seats during July.

Hawaiian Gives Up on Down Under For Now

Hawaiian has extended its cancellation of flying to Australia and New Zealand into October. That may still be too optimistic, but at least we’re getting into the realm of reality.

JetBlue in Hartford

As mentioned above, JetBlue will fly a daily flight from Hartford to Miami. American didn’t like that.

United Cuts Non-Domestic Narrowbodies for May

United hasn’t done its big May cuts, and it probably won’t for some time, but it did make cuts in non-domestic short-haul flights. It appears to be shaping up better than April so far, but there’s a lot of time left for more changes. Meanwhile, United did up capacity from Denver and Chicago to Honolulu this summer with more frequency. Oh, and it has filed flights from Denver to West Yellowstone.

Other Randomness

  • Aeroflot and its ongoing saga of schedule changes continues. It will now up JFK to 1x daily again in June after cutting it down last week. LA will go up from 2x weekly to 4x weekly while Miami will go from 2x weekly to 3x weekly.
  • Air Canada took May down this week, and it’s ugly, of course. Canada is just ugly in general and will be for a long time.
  • Air Transat has extended its full hibernation from May 1 until June 14.
  • Cathay Pacific now won’t fly Boston – Hong Kong at least until July.
  • Eastern is looking to do Miami – Montevideo flights starting in June, a route American is scheduled to fly only in the northern winter.
  • Fiji Airways won’t fly to Honolulu at least through June while Los Angeles will only get a couple flights during the same period, probably for repatriation purposes.
  • Mokulele used to file flights only a few months out, but it looks like it’s extending that from ending in Nov to going through Mar 2022.
  • Sun Country won’t fly Nashville – LA or Dallas/Fort Worth – Montego Bay this summer. It also reversed where it put the single 737-700 in its fleet. Those markets have now gone back to 737-800 capacity.
  • Virgin Atlantic has delayed the resumption of Manchester – US flights from April 20 to May 17.
  • WestJet has delayed London flying again. Toronto will get 3 flights in May, but Calgary won’t start until early June.

That’s it for this week. Stay tuned for the final episode of March next week on Skeds of air Lines.

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27 comments on “Frontier Takes Summer Down, Delta Shifts to Leisure, and Retaliation Aplenty

  1. I’m not really sure what AA can do about MIA. For most domestic markets, people are traveling to MIA rather than vice versa, especially during these peak seasons from Northeast. So as long as B6 or WN can capture a good chunk of point of sale from the other side, they should do well. That’s why WN has continued to add to MIA and same with B6. It seems like there are plenty more of these adds coming. I believe WN just added STL-MIA. I could see B6 adding HPN, SJU, SDQ, PVD, RDU and SFO. Basically, a lot of markets.

    1. The majority of AA’s domestic flights to MIA leave early in the AM to connect to the Caribbean. (Way to early for leisure travelers if you ask me.) The returning flights depart MIA late in the evening and arrive back between 10p-12a. This has created a huge opportunity for Airlines like WN. AA needs to worry less about B6’s 1 flight to BDL and more about the looming WN invasion. WN is currently running 18 flights at MIA.

      1. Not disagreeing that WN will be larger at MIA, but B6 is already at 16 a day at MIA for May after the cuts. There is just a lot of demand there right now.

        1. Let’s not forget that Frontier is bigger in MIA than both WN & B6.
          Between the three of them I believe AAs monopoly days are over!

          1. Let’s not discount Delta, either. Southwest appears to be vacating their gates in Terminal H (Delta gates) and moving to Terminal G. Clearly, SWA’s MIA expansion will be dictated by gate availability….or lack of it. Perhaps Delta will rethink ending their MIA expansion plans now that they once again have those two gates in Terminal H. There must be PLENTY of behind-the-scenes gate jockeying in MIA by ALL the new intruders.

  2. No blocked seats for May on the Delta website. For my airport, the schedule stayed the same from April to May, so the removal of blocked seats is a decent-sized increase in capacity.

  3. I have a trip to the USVI in May. Last weekend during American’s schedule change my plane from MIA to STX changed from a 737-800 to a 737-MAX8. Is this likely to change again?

    1. catmndu – May should hold up pretty well right now, but it’s always possible it could change again. As of now, May has already been run through once and given a flyable schedule, unlike June which is just a skeleton.

  4. Interesting – I saw a news item about great domestic passenger numbers last night. On average there have been 1.3 million flyers daily, but as cranky notes baste on the schedule changes he gives us each week, we can see the true reality of how much flight capacity has been removed since the pandemic began.

  5. Does anyone know what happened to the weekly OAG thread over on Cranky you may be the only schedule change source now….

    1. Because of a dispute with the admins, he moved it to his own, paid site. The admins at airliners have been deleting any post that brings up the OAG threads.

      1. He was too snarky in my opinion. If you’re going to post the data then fine but there were too many opinionated remarks. If it’s going to be an editorial then say as much in the header.

  6. Why do you think “Canada is just ugly in general”.

    Perhaps “more cautious” would be a better choice of words, given just 23,000 Covid 19 deaths in all of Canada vs 57,000 deaths in California (similar populations).

    1. CZBB – This is a blog about the airline industry. What Canada has done is very bad for the airlines up there. That is why it’s ugly. Period. I’m not here to get into what’s good for public health.

      1. Any prognostications you can make about when Canada might start changing its ugly approach regarding travel? I would love a Cranky explainer on what has happened there and when it might start changing.

        1. Rico – I have no idea when things will change. They’ve really just shut the place down and gone into hibernation. I don’t have any sense of when that attitude might change, but presumably vaccinations and lower case rates in the US are a part of that.

  7. Cranky, I’m a few days late to this thread, but during this time United has announced four new destinations from CVG beginning in May. That’s right, UNITED! The destinations are Portland, Maine (PWM), Charleston, South Carolina (aka “Charlie South”), Hilton Head, South Carolina (HHH, and NOT Savannah!) and Pensacola, Florida (PNS).

    Delta’s service to Cincinnati has dwindled down to just above a large spoke, and other carriers (Allegiant, Frontier, Southwest, Sun Country) have been picking over Delta’s carcass like so many piranhas. But CVG has never been anything more than a spoke for United. Now, these point-to-point leisure routes have been announced, along with the fact that they will be served by “upgraded premium regional jet service (CRJ 550s).”

    So, what’s up with this, and how much more of this kind of service can we expect from the legacy carriers?

    Here’s a link to the news release from CVG’s website . . .

    1. SkyVoice – This isn’t about CVG. They’re doing it from 7 Midwestern cities to the Southeast US and Portland, ME. This is just United trying to find a place to use its CRJ-550 aircraft. I talk about this a bit in tomorrow’s schedule change roundup.

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