United Cuts Chicago, Delta Gives Up on Europe for June, and More

Schedule Changes

The preparations for summer have been relentless, and this week, the residents of Airlineville took a little breather. Oh sure, there was still plenty to find in the Cirium data, but the volume just wasn’t at the frenzied level that had taken over the town in recent weeks.

With the Globe, Pualani, and the Heart all making changes to June, it’s now accurate for just about everyone. The residents are all looking at June differently, so it will be fun to see who is right.

Meanwhile, the Eagle and the Taxi are thinking beyond June. They’re making plans for the 4th of July. After last year being spent away from everyone, they’re hoping it’ll be a better holiday this year.

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

Alaska Gives Paine a Boost

It was really quiet for Alaska this week, but it did find the time to actually add service at Paine Field for the first time in awhile. Both Boise and Spokane will get a second daily flight this fall. Boise also gets a second daily to Sacramento, as does the LA – Salt Lake City market.

American Sets the 4th

The biggest change for American this week involved filing a holiday schedule over the 4th of July weekend. I know, it’s not that exciting, but over 1,400 flights were cut on July 4th alone.

There were some new routes filed, including a new city on the map. Columbus (GA) will get 2x daily from Charlotte and 1x daily from Dallas/Fort Worth. And now you know there is a city called Columbus in Georgia. Charlotte will get 1x daily to El Paso and to Ontario while Dallas/Fort Worth gets 1x daily to Syracuse.

In other news, a handful of summer routes got extended for another month beyond early September. That includes Charlotte – Kalispell, Reno, Traverse City; Chicago/O’Hare – Billings, Fresno, Spokane; and Washington/National – Asheville, Hilton Head, Myrtle Beach.

Delta Gives Up on a June European Miracle

There may be talk about the EU letting vaccinated travelers into Europe this summer, but Delta has decided that’s not going to happen in June. It has now pulled June schedules down to basically the same level as May with only minor changes. The one route that is still showing as restarting in June is JFK – Barcelona. But hey, Iceland is still a bright spot. The flight from JFK to Keflavik has been upgauged from a 757 to a 767 starting after the 4th of July weekend.

The big European cuts hid some actual growth in domestic markets in June. Surprisingly, we see Tuesday/Wednesday/Saturday gaining in a variety of routes, though peak days saw some net decreases.

Hawaiian Sets June

At least, I think Hawaiian set June. It pulled interisland flying down for the month and capacity is now down 20 percent vs 2019. Most of that capacity cut is in international, which we saw come down last week. Mainland capacity is way up.

Southern Air Express Is Busy

Normally, I wouldn’t give Southern Air Express its own section, but it did a whole lot of changing this weekend. First, the airline is now selling 10 seats on its Caravans instead of 9. Is it going with a single pilot operation? I’m not sure. Update from Southern: This seems to be a misfile of some sort, and they are not going to single pilot operations or adding a seat or anything like that.

Next, it is launching a slew of new routes. This summer it will fly Nantucket to New Bedford, Hanscom, and Norwood in Massachusetts along with Providence. It is going to open up a Washington/Dulles operation with flights to Bradford, DuBois, and Lancaster in Pennsylvania along with Morgantown (WV). These cities will also have their regular service to Pittsburgh.

In warmer climes, the airline is launching its new longest flight within Hawai’i from Kahului to Hilo at 121 miles. It’s also going to fly from Memphis to Destin (the tiny Destin airport which is too small for most commercial service) and then on to Tampa from there.

Southwest Also Sets June

Southwest had waited awhile before pulling the trigger, but it has now adjusted June down to an accurate level. June is now down 11 percent vs 2019. A whole bunch of new routes were added, and you can read about them in the press release. But as usual, several routes were eliminated too, and those weren’t discussed. This is just Southwest looking at trends and adjusting the schedule to fit demand.

Notably on this list, both Chicago/O’Hare and Houston/Intercontinental are getting a boost with several daily flights being added.

Spirit Takes Down the 4th

Like American, Spirit made some hefty cuts around the 4th of July. It also moved some Denver flights around in June. Instead of flying to Chicago/O’Hare and Detroit, it will instead fly to Atlanta and Baltimore.

United Makes Longer Term Cuts

United has finished up its June schedule, but it also made bigger cuts beyond. Chicago took the brunt of the cuts that were mostly in the fall and through the winter. Some of the capacity cuts are thanks to aircraft downgauging. In the month of August, for example, A320s and 737-900s lose a lot of flying while the A319 picks some up.

The airline also gave up on trying to fly to Oporto this summer, pulling the plug on that route this year. Several Pacific flights have been pulled in June too, as have some longer haul destinations from San Francisco: Baltimore, Columbus, Indianapolis, Philly, Pittsburgh, and San Antonio.

Other Randomness

  • China Southern looks to be canceling flights to Wuhan from JFK and San Francisco along with Shenyang from Los Angeles through the end of schedule.
  • Good news. Cape Air is still an airline after all. It refiled its schedule after deleting it last week.
  • El Al has canceled flights through the summer to Boston, Chicago/O’Hare, Las Vegas, and San Francisco.
  • LATAM has given up on flying Boston to Sao Paulo through the summer. It has also pulled down LA and JFK – Santiago service along with LA to Lima… all will operate less than daily through the summer season.
  • Lufthansa Group has extended its pandemic schedule through June, but it has cut service beyond that. There will be service reductions through the summer season on Munich – Boston, Charlotte, Washington/Dulles; Frankfurt – Detroit; and Zurich – Boston,
  • Seaborne looks to be pulling out of the St Croix to San Juan market. Update: This looks like a code switch. It will now be operated by Silver instead, the parent company.
  • Silver must be liking what it’s seeing in Charleston and Savannah. It’s increasing frequency starting in June from 2x to 3x weekly in each market.
  • Sun Country had a really interesting week of adds, but you can read about that in the press release.
  • Surinam Airways’s short-lived experiment with flying to Miami is done at least until November.

That’s it for this week. Stay tuned for next week’s exciting episode of Skeds of air Lines.

36 comments on “United Cuts Chicago, Delta Gives Up on Europe for June, and More

  1. Columbus, GA isn’t a huge metro area, but it isn’t tiny; its metro area is 321k people, fourth largest in Georgia (after ATL, Augusta, and Savannah), and about the same as Lubbock, Green Bay, and Spartanburg. Columbus also includes a rather large military base (Fort Benning).

    However, Columbus and Fort Benning are only about 100 miles from ATL airport (which is on the near, i.e., south, side of the ATL metro area; that matters a LOT, as ATL’s highway traffic is notoriously bad), so the area doesn’t get much air service. Also, Groome Transportation’s airport shuttle service offers near-hourly (18x daily) roundtrips between Columbus/Fort Benning and ATL, and fares and schedule reliability aren’t usually too bad.

    For the Columbus to CLT flight, my first thought was that AA may have landed a government contract for that lane, as there are several large military bases in the Carolinas that are within a few hours’ drive (or < 60 minute flight on a turboprop) from CLT, notably Fort Bragg in Fayetteville, but I'm not sure that's the case. Interesting nonetheless to see AA schedule flights from Columbus, GA, and one has to imagine that AA is hoping to get some military family traffic (also lots of military bases in Texas, for connections through DFW) if it doesn't get much from Uncle Sugar.

    1. I found that interesting too. Also that DL had multiple daily connections to very nearby ATL. So I guess some people were already flying from there to make cconnections.

      At any rate, it’s further than Macon is from ATL (99 miles vs 81) and DL was already flying to Macon. It’s also larger (300k MSA vs 230k).

      Finally Columbus might draw some from Auburn, AL (40 miles away) although MGM is just 63 from Auburn. But if you’re connecting anyway, get the closer and/or cheaper option, right?

      1. Not that it matters at all, but Columbus GA was the home of Carmike Cinemas before they were bought by AMC in 2016.

      2. Bill – Macon is different. That’s an Essential Air Service market, and that’s the only reason Delta was there before (through a partner). Delta isn’t there any longer. Contour has the EAS deal now.

        1. Since the concept of an EAS market located 81 miles away from the world’s busiest airport is so ludicrous that it strains credulity, of course it’s no surprise that it exists. Unfreakingbelieveable.

          #DefundEAS

    1. They cut SMF-BWI Mon-Sat through the week of July 17. I was scheduled to fly SMF-BWI-PWM, but have had to rebook SMF-MDW-PWM since the SMF-BWI leg was cut. Looks like it returns to daily the next week.

    2. Jonathan – They are actually all routes that Southwest was going to reinstate in June that now won’t come back. So they aren’t May routes that go away.

      ABQ SAN AUS LBB BDL STL BHM BWI BHM HOU BUR SLC BWI LGA BWI OAK BWI PDX BWI SMF CMH DCA CMH STL DAL PHL DCA ECP DCA MCI DCA MSY DCA PNS DCA PVD DTW STL HOU SDF IND STL LAS LIT LGA MCI MCI MKE MCI MSY MSP STL MSY OAK MSY RDU MSY SAT RNO SJC SFO STL

      1. You’re right. They still sell tickets on their website, but just cannot find CDG-CUN from Sunday (02MAY2021) OAG schedule. Google flights doesn’t display anything neither (AF, nonstop, CDG-CUN). Do you see the same information on your end? Thanks.

  2. Look man, love the blog, but you gotta stop taking shots at the southeast. Columbus, GA is twice the size of Burbank, CA, which gets an envious write up here every other week.

    I remember a trip report about Charleston a few years back that read like there was a degree of shock that we had an airport with electricity & running water. We actually have about the same traffic as ONT, another regular star here, and we’re growing fast. Of course we make wide-body jets too, something that can’t be said about ol’ LGB anymore. Neither can the fact that one of those Dreamliners actually returns to its birthplace a couple times a week (pre-pandemic) on a BA scheduled transatlantic non-stop.

    As for all the snide comments about Myrtle Beach, look, all I can say is that its one thing to know your baby is ugly, but its another thing for someone to tell you ;)

    Sorry for the snark – just gotta stick up for aerophiles in my neck of the woods.

    1. I grew up and went to college in the slower lower and I don’t read it as snarky. You’re missing the catchment area concept.

      Columbus and Burbank may have similar populations themselves but the catchment areas? BUR is easily in the millions. Columbus expands from the Columbus MSA to the Columbus/Auburn/Opelika CSA to about 500k. Go any further beyond this and you enter the catchment areas for Montgomery and Atlanta.

      In the SE portion of the US, places are generally much further removed from each other than in other parts of the country. Meaning once you get a few miles out of the CSA, which is itself just a combination of nearby but functionally separate smaller areas (like Columbus and Auburn/Opelika), there is usually either (a) another airport’s catchment area or (b) nothing at all besides pine trees and non-human critters, none of which are buying airline tickets!

      So it’s not exactly apples to apples which is why BUR and ONT have much more air service than Columbus GA and CHS.

      1. Oh I know, I know. I was just feeling cranky while reading cranky. I feel like us Southerns often on the receiving end of some jabs on this blog (a dismissive comment about no one knowing 3rd largest city in Georgia is a city being the latest).

        Our politics may be backwards but we still do interesting and important airplane things that deserve some attention. I’d argue the Columbus route is worthy of real analysis, instead of a snarky comment, specifically because of its catchment area implications.

        1. I lived in Atlanta for 5 years and the SE for 25 years and had no idea that Columbus was the 3rd largest city in Georgia. Technically though it’s the 4th largest MSA after Atlanta, Augusta and Savannah.

    2. I appreciate Cranky’s snark, and due to his location, he has some interesting opinions/insights on the SoCal and West Coast markets, especially for those who aren’t as close to those parts.

      That said, while it was arguably a slightly low blow, even for Cranky, I understand why Columbus, GA, isn’t very well known outside of the Southeast (as an aside, I’d wager that without the school known for a deer’s optical organ, Columbus, OH wouldn’t be nearly as well known outside the Midwest as it actually is), and I’m personally inclined to give Cranky the benefit of the doubt, as I don’t think he meant it personally. To your point, though… How many people east of the Mississippi could draw an “X” on the map within 15 or 20 miles where Burbank, CA or Ontario, CA are actually located?

      In the end, I get it, and I do appreciate the “crankiness” of the snark on this blog, but I think it would help all of us to remember to take time appreciate our differences and to not take (or make) jabs at other parts of the country as personal attacks, but merely as light-hearted attempts at a quick smile, as I trust Cranky intended the Columbus comment.

    3. Sam – Taking shots at the southeast? No way! But comparing Columbus to Burbank is pretty silly. The Columbus metro area is 321,000 people.
      Burbank is the most convenient airport for well over 2 million people, probably more like 3 million without doing the real data dive. The San Fernando Valley alone has 1.5 million. These are completely different animals.

      Now Charleston is of course a completely different story. I looked back at my last trip report and didn’t see anything that made it seem like podunk.
      You do indeed have an impressive and growing roster there. I have nothing bad to say about Charleston… unlike Myrtle Beach!

      1. Yeah, sorry, just trying to have a little fun. I definitely overstated it (but I did look back at the CHS post and saw there was some surprise that CHS would have gate congestion and a non-stop to DEN — we have LAX now too!). You do great work though and my “counter-crankiness” is all well-intentioned – not meant to be taken personally. Plus I’d never miss an opportunity to pick on Myrtle Beach.

        1. Sam – I was definitely surprised to see gate congestion, but I’d be surprised anywhere outside the big places. You guys have done well for yourselves during the pandemic for sure. And don’t worry about it, I don’t take it personally. I love the jawing back and forth.

          1. So basically you’re saying that I didn’t need to come to your defense, haha!

  3. A little surprising that Sun Country is going to serve both TPA and PIE. I took a quick look at Nov and Dec, and the PIE service is less-than-daily, but even so is there enough of a marketing advantage to offer service to both cities to offset the cost of the second station?

    (OTOH, space at PIE should be pretty cheap and there could be incentives in play which would make the experiment worth a try.)

    Can’t remember an airline offering service to both TPA and PIE since F9 tried it briefly, but IIRC Frontier was still aiming for business travelers connecting in DEN at the time and had the idea of offering service to PIE aimed at the leisure market. I know back in the 50s it was common for airlines to serve both cities, I’ve always wondered if the concentration at TPA occured because of the arrival of jets, the construction of the Howard Frankland bridge, or a combination of the two.

    1. I found that bizarre too, especially since they will each be serving different airports with no overlap? So unless there are slot or gate constraints, which there aren’t, why would a small airline pay to have two separate stations so near each other?

  4. Destin is not too small for Southwest “Southwest is primed for a big summer. Southwest has added three new stations to the network with Destin/Fort Walton Beach,”

  5. Surinam Airways has been flying to Miami for over 40 years.

    For almost the entire time it has been via a third city, usually Aruba or Georgetown. Surinam continues to fly to Miami via both cities. It is just not operating the non-stop during that window.

    The way you phrase it makes it seem like Surinam isn’t flying to Miami and only did so for a short window.

  6. In case anybody missed it, I felt I should once again point out that a town 81 miles from the world’s busiest airport receives federal funding for EAS flights.

    I’ve lived in DC long enough to have heard many a hair raising tale of government insanity and spending lunacy but my head nearly exploded when I read Cranky’s post.

    #DefundEAS

    1. JayB here, from DC, but born and raised in PA Dutch country, Lancaster, Pa. I used to use the EAS Southern Air service from Dulles to Lancaster often, and even, before, Cape Air’s service, at BWI, but more difficult for me to get in and out.

      Yes, I was often the only passenger on onboard, I got to know the airlines’ pilots.

      Once the pandemic came, service from BWI continued but I wasn’t onboard. Now, with service from IAD, I can take the billion-dollar bus and Metro service (assuming it ever gets operating) and pay $39 to see a land that every American deserves to see. (I may be just a little biased, about that I know! And yes, there are murders there like everywhere, it seems.)

      Fares will never cover the cost of running these EAS routes. If the Dulles Highway operators had their way they would set their tolls to Lancaster at about $1,000, one-way, off-peak. Tuesdays.

      Someday, Amazon Air, or someone like it, will get Congress (Ha!) and DOT to set up a national EAS-like route system, subdized like highways, at affordable fares, hooking in to the national air transportation system, and I’ll live happily ever after! Not in my lifetime, I know!

      Sorry, I see EAS mentioned, with comments, and I can’t help myself! Appreciate your many comments, I do.

  7. I have fond memories of landing at CSG, Columbus, GA.

    I was flying down in a twin engine Cessna from the Dayton, Ohio area to Sun-n-Fun in Lakeland, Florida. We stopped for fuel at CSG. I got to wander around a bit on the ramp, and marvel that the only thing preventing me from walking up to some regional jets what’s some paint on the concrete that said do not cross….

    Ah those were the days.

    1. To be fair, it was Georgia, and it was Columbus, with Fort Benning nearby. If you’d “crossed the line” (literally and figuratively) and were obviously up to no good for more than 5 minutes, I think there would have been more than a few people who wouldn’t have waited for the sheriff to arrive before taking action themselves. :-)

      But yes, the security at smaller airports, especially for those who fly into them on GA planes, isn’t always the best, though I guess it doesn’t really need to be. I’ve always wondered how many guns are tucked away in the survival kits of GA bush planes parked on the ramp at places like ANC, Bozeman, Great Falls, etc, let alone the guns of the hunters they are hired to transport… When getting mauled by an angry mama bear after crashing in the woods is a much greater risk than terrorism… Enough said.

      1. Perhaps… Although this was in Georgia, somewhere between 1997 and 1999… That may or may not have changed the calculation, as there are significantly more guns now than there were then..

        That being said, who in the sterile area has a gun who isn’t law enforcement?!

        1. In the sterile area of a pax terminal? Hopefully no one but LEOs have guns.

          Weapons in the sterile/fenced-in/non-public area of an airport, especially one with GA flights as well? There are likely to be lots of guns and other potential weapons that law enforcement never sees, from pax’ checked bags with guns (which were presumably properly declared to the airline and TSA as required), to heavy duty knives and tools used by the maintenance guys, to the stuff that a private pilot stashed in the emergency kit in case his 1960s-era Cessna decided he needed an unplanned wilderness camping adventure in a remote patch of woods.

          As with most security/safety issues, you can never be 100% “secure” or “safe”, you can only try to take reasonable steps to prevent/manage/mitigate the obvious/stupid mistakes and risks…. Walking across a busy road is a dangerous activity, but that doesn’t mean you don’t do it or only do it when cops completely block off the road for pedestrians; it just means that when you have to cross a road on foot you try to take reasonable steps to make it a little safer (use a crosswalk, look both ways, make eye contact with drivers, etc).

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