Airlines Begin to Stretch Schedules Into the Fall, Prepare for More Stability

Schedule Changes

This week, the residents of Airlineville got right back to work. With demand rising and becoming more predictable, some of the residents are getting bold and making big decisions for the longer term. It’s an exciting development after so much uncertainty around town, and the Cirium data was full of news.

The Widget, the Heart, and the Taxi all made July plans. The Heart even went into August while the Eskimo started thinking about September. Oh, and Ms Blue? She was busy firming up plans for September and, yes, October.

And now a word from our sponsor.

This week’s action wasn’t just limited to Airlineville. No, there were changes south of the border where Cuauhtli — which is Nahuatl for the Eagle Knight that adorns Aeromexico’s tails — appears to have shrunk down to having only two Mexican gateways feeding the US. This sent me down a rabbit hole on historical Mexican-US service, so where did I turn? I pulled up TheAirchive.net, of course. I began browsing and found all sorts of items including this 1979 Mexicana route map:

That was a different world back then. You can browse TheAirchive.net to find all sorts of historical items, trip reports, memorabilia, and just random avgeekiness.

And now, back to our show.

There was more brewing underneath all the big changes, including an escalation in the war between the coasts as the Widget stepped up its game to counter the results of the Ms Blue/Eagle love affair.

What else happened this week? You’ll just have to keep watching to find out. Like sands through the hourglass, so are the skeds of air lines.

Alaska Shifts Aircraft Toward Reality

It looked like Alaska had a big increase in capacity this week, and that’s because it replaced a whole lot of flying on 737-800s with 737-900ERs. The airline was using the -800s as placeholders, and now it looks like it’s feeling confident enough to put the -900s back in the schedule. The changes were all in Seattle where all but a handful of mainline routes received some sort of increase.

The one month that stood out was September, which saw capacity down 7 percent this week, that’s a more than 10 point swing considering all the changes I mentioned above. Beyond September, Alaska also gave Paine Field another haircut with several routes losing a daily flight into the fall, if it comes back at all.

Allegiant Hates June 1

Allegiant canceled all 114 flights that were scheduled to operate on June 1. With any other airline, I’d know this was a mistake. With Allegiant, there’s always a level of doubt since it has no qualms sitting airplanes. Considering it’s the day after Memorial Day, however, I still think this is a mistake.

American Boosts Fall Flying

American turned its attention to the fall. It extended several summer routes into early October, and it added a whole bunch of new frequencies beyond that. Phoenix and LA were the surprising winners. Each of these markets gained one extra daily flight except where noted.

  • Phoenix – Arcata/Eureka, Cincinnati, Denver, Flagstaff, Grand Junction, Los Angeles, Madison, Oklahoma City, Orlando, Salt Lake City (+2x), Sioux Falls, St George.
  • Los Angeles – Denver, Indianapolis, Phoenix, San Antonio, Salt Lake City, Tulsa
  • Dallas/Fort Worth – Boise, Brownsville, Flagstaff, Ft Smith, Ft Wayne, Laredo

Delta Cuts International Further Out, Goes Flat to Fight American/JetBlue

Delta took down international flying into July and August after June went down last week. It didn’t cancel as many flights in July as June and August had even fewer cuts. Atlanta – Munich, Stuttgart; Boston – Edinburgh; and Paris/CDG – Raleigh/Durham, Salt Lake City, Seattle are all gone for the full summer now. It looked like the focus cities saw their domestic pulldowns extended too. On the other hand, Delta will fly JFK to Dubrovnik. Elsewhere, Atlanta – Vancouver looks to be gone for good along with LaGuardia to Chattanooga, Detroit to Moline, Seoul/Incheon to Manila, and Cincinnati to San Francisco.

In the most interesting news, Delta has now upgauged its flights in Boston – LA from a 737 back to a 757 with flat beds from this summer. That’s no surprise there since American and JetBlue have doubled down with flat beds on every flight on that route starting this fall. Washington/National – LA also goes back to a flat bed this summer.

JetBlue Gets a Jump on Fall

JetBlue is taking a very early stab at setting a September/October schedule. Looking at the changes, it seems pretty similar to the summer schedule but it swaps out places like Bozeman and Kalispell for Palm Springs and the Caribbean as the transition to winter begins. It’s hard to know what fall travel will look like but I applaud JetBlue for trying.

Southwest Copies and Pastes July and August

Southwest has taken its June schedule and effectively copied and pasted it into July and August. The airline’s schedule now looks pretty accurate through Labor Day, though we know there will be more adds going forward, as is always the case.

Spirit Works on July

It’s so strange to say this feels late, but Spirit is one of the last to work on getting its July schedule in line. July will be up 5 percent vs 2019 as of now.

United Reinstalls Seats

United had to pull out 6 seats from every 76-seat aircraft since its mainline schedule had fallen so far during the pandemic. But now that schedules are rebounding, it’s allowed to put the seats back in per the pilot contract. That was almost the entirety of the United schedule filing this week, putting all those seats back in.

There were a few other changes. United has now delayed Bangalore until August, if that even holds. Chicago – Delhi won’t fly in June, or at least until the very end. And San Francisco – Taipei will now stop in Guam for a crew change due to problematic regulations on layovers in Taiwan due to COVID.

Other Randomness

  • Aeromexico has canceled all flying from Monterrey to the US through the end of schedule. That includes Las Vegas, Los Angeles, and New York/JFK.
  • Air Canada won’t fly Montreal – Delhi until October at the earliest as the pandemic continues to ravage India. Meanwhile, Vancouver – Taipei looks to be gone for good. The airline will launch two new domestic routes between Montreal and Bathurst as well as Toronto and North Bay.
  • Avelo filed its schedules with Cirium this week and the world rejoiced. There’s nothing surprising in there; it’s just the Burbank flying that I’ve talked about before. But it’s nice to know it’s finally filed.
  • Eastern was going to fly Chicago/O’Hare to Sarajevo this summer, but it has now canceled that plan.
  • Japan Airlines has gutted its beach flying through September. It won’t fly to Guam and will only have limited Haneda-Honolulu flying, and it will only have a single daily flight to Honolulu from Tokyo/Narita from October on, instead of 2x daily.
  • Singapore Airlines is starting to wake up from its slumber. It has filed plans to return to the LA – Tokyo/Narita market in June. San Francisco – Singapore will now go back up to 2x daily while a single daily from New York/JFK to Singapore has been filed through the summer.
  • Southern Air Express and Mokulele must have just made a mistake last week. This week the seat counts were reversed to go back to 9 instead of 10 on the Grand Caravans, so… nothing to see here. It did add a flight from New York’s seaplane base out to Montauk, again trying to capture those people who can’t stand to be earth-bound.
  • Cape Air Southern Air Express continues to go deeper and deeper from Nantucket. This summer it will fly there from Bedford and… Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Presumably there’s enough Rumspringa traffic to make that work? The airline will also fly from New York’s seaplane base to Bridgeport, Connecticut, hoping to appeal to those who hate trains and cars for the short trip.
  • WestJet pulled down transborder flying in June, but elsewhere some routes were killed beyond that. Calgary – Rome won’t operate this summer and neither will Toronto – Barbados and Port of Spain.

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

23 comments on “Airlines Begin to Stretch Schedules Into the Fall, Prepare for More Stability

  1. Brett- take another look at your Cirium report as I did at mine in response to what you wrote above about Cape Air. Cape Air is NOT flying from Nantucket to Lancaster and Bedford. The code next to those changes is 9X, which is Southern Airways Express, not 9K, which is Cape Air. The Bridgetport to the NYS Seaplane base is also 9X, not 9K. They look similar, but they’re different.

    1. Jason – Yeah, that was just a mistake after a long day of going through the bigger, more important things that happened! My eyes must be failing me since it’s not always simple in my report to note where 9K ends and 9X begins. I’ve fixed. Thank you.

  2. Cranky, no word from Allegiant’s media team on reason for the lack of flying on June 1?

    I tried Googling it, thinking that there might be a company-wide event or back-end systems switchover that could have possibly driven it (and that could have made the news or airline forums), but didn’t find anything.

    On another note, I like the white-text-on-black-background around the “sponsored” content. That’s a pretty clear, clean, and honest way to differentiate items that you’ve added because of sponsorship agreements, and many of those historical route maps that you’ve featured really do add some value and/or fun to your posts.

    1. I don’t think that was sponsored content per se, rather that he was using the phrase “and now a word from our sponsor” to differentiate his own interesting tangent from the rest of his post.

      However I think you have a great point about that type of visual separation of any actual sponsored (i.e. paid) content.

      1. To be honest, I’m not clear about whether TheAirchive.net is a “true” sponsor (nor sure whether they have provided compensation or swag of more than de minimis value to Cranky or his team, though I don’t see it listed on the “Ethics” page of this blog), but the relevant pictures that Brett showcases from it never fail to disappoint.

        Speaking of which, I always laugh when I see commenters accuse Brett of being biased for/against a particular airline… I don’t read a ton of blogs, but I’m not aware of many other bloggers who have an “Ethics” page that lists not only the items of value that they did accept, but also those items that they DIDN’T accept, with records available for all to see that date back years.

    2. Kilroy – No, but they are selling flights on June 1 on the website as of this morning when I checked, so I think it was just a misfile.

      The Airchive is a paying sponsor of the blog and that’s why it’s in white on black background. (I am working on getting that to happen on the emails as well, but our new provider doesn’t seem to recognize that in the RSS feed. I’ll get it fixed.) That wouldn’t show up on the ethics page, because I don’t write about The Airchive as a subject. Like any other sponsor, if they pay, we call it out. But I won’t joke around about something being a sponsor if it’s not, because I don’t want there to be confusion. With The Airchive, we are just given wide latitude to go and find relevant, interesting content that ties in with the post. You’ll see another one tomorrow.

      1. Sorry, I’ve learned my lesson now. Finally. Please delete my other post if possible.

        Honestly it never dawned on me that archive.net would be a sponsor because I didn’t think they sold anything. I forgot, new millennium, clicks are money, yada yada yada.

        My reaction was actually more like “I doubt Mexicana is a paid sponsor, aren’t they out of business?” (Insert forehead smacking emoji here)

        1. Bill – No need to delete it– it’s a good question! Honestly, for The Airchive this is more a labor of love. I’m not sure how much money there is to be had there, but I’m more than happy to have them as a sponsor regardless.

          1. I’m thrilled they are too or else I would have never known about them.

            And when I need to see Eastern livery to make sure my newly purchased Eastern T shirt is legit, where else would I go?!?!

            I mean anybody can buy a Pan Am T shirt, Denis Leary even had one on Rescue Me. I had to be different, sure, but I also needed it to be legit or that would have defeated the entire purpose! Plus Eastern was my first FF plan as a kid. I still have it (United via Continental One Pass).

      2. Sounds good, thanks Brett.

        Again, I love the Ethics page and the way that you differentiate the “sponsored” part of the post. Unlike most sponsorships, which tend to detract from the other content, the way you’re doing it with The Airchive feels very organic and natural… I just hope they save space for your classic “Home of Godzilla” image in there a few decades from now. :-)

  3. The Japan Airlines note seems incorrect. NRT-HNL is not operating daily. Only HND-HNL at a few frequencies per week through September.

    1. JL747 – Wow, that got garbled. That should have said that Narita has been reduced to only 1x daily in the fall (down from 2x). I have tried to fix that up.

  4. I hate American Airlines. I usually fly Tim Dunn Airlines but needed a daytime LAX/IND flight in July. I just got the email no one wants from an airline “There’s been a change in your trip”. Non stop now LAX/ORD/IND. Also in July I was looking forward to LAX/ORD on B-789 in Premium Economy. Just got the email that I will be siting in the middle seat in the exit row of a B738.

  5. Sorry, this entry is completely unrelated to today’s topic, but I want to share it with you all anyway. If you’re ever in South Florida, there is a tremendous plane-spotting vantage point just south of Runway 10 Left touchdown zone at FLL. I happened to be passing through there yesterday and the Blue Angels were performing and the vantage spot was absolutely packed. I’ve never seen it that full. Blue Angel #4 did an engine run-up right beside the observation area as an Air Canada 787 was departing the runway. I thoroughly enjoyed it on behalf of everyone who follows this blog!

  6. AA’s PHX-MSN will be one A320 and one CRJ-900. They will also offer convenient flight times(finally) between PHX- DEN & SLC. The booking trends on ACV-PHX must be looking good with 2nd flight added.

    IMO AA needs to reinstate PHX-OAK & PHX-SCK plus add new PHX-PSC/ RDD / CCR.

  7. Did United have to go physically remove six seats or were they just blocking six seats from being sold?

    1. Bill – They had to physically remove them! It was a punitive thing in the pilot contract to make it as painful as possible.

  8. Very amusing to see Mexicana flying to Harlingen but not Houston. IIRC Aeromexico and Continental had IAH-Mexico covered well in the ’70s, but I’m surprised that Mexicana had nothing to IAH.

    1. Les – That’s not clear. As of now, it’s only single daily through the summer season (end of Oct). After that, it comes back in the schedule but that’s too far to be considered realistic yet.

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Cranky Flier