Even though the leaves are just starting to turn, airline network planners are already getting excited for next summer.
That’s when hundreds of thousands of Americans are expected to take to the skies once again for one of their big annual trips. And as more travelers look to trade the crowds in major cities like London and Paris for more off-the-beaten-path destinations like Faro, Portugal, the U.S. carriers are taking note.
Instead of simply boosting frequencies on existing routes to major hubs across the Atlantic, some carriers, like United Airlines, are launching nonstops to these far-flung destinations.
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The same story is true at home. For instance, American Airlines announced a bevy of routes from its New York hub to nearby — but often hard-to-reach — summer escapes, such as Hyannis and Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusets.
Either way, October was a busy month for the airline network planners. Here’s a recap of all the changes that you might’ve missed.
Last month’s recap: Exciting new airline routes from September 2023 and beyond
American is betting that a trip to New England might be in the cards for you this upcoming summer.
The Fort Worth, Texas-based carrier announced a slew of new regional routes earlier this month to popular summer destinations in the Northeast, such as Hyannis and Martha’s Vineyard.
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In total, the airline added eight new routes and made Hyannis its newest route map pin. Additionally, American will fly a new transborder service from Charlotte to Vancouver, British Columbia, next summer, and it’ll resume flying to Bermuda from Washington, D.C.
American didn’t cut any routes this month, but it did add a bunch of new temporary flights for the Super Bowl in Las Vegas and the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.
In fact, American will fly its swankiest jet — the three-cabin Airbus A321T — to Las Vegas for the fanciest way to fly commercially to the big game.
Alaska Airlines has a new longest route: New York to Anchorage, Alaska. At 3,386 miles, this new service, launching next summer aboard a brand-new Boeing 737 MAX 8, will become the airline’s longest.
That said, it might not be the most comfortable ride: Imagine spending eight hours straight cramped in the back of a single-aisle domestic jet. Even the first-class recliners don’t lie flat.
In addition to the new flights to New York, Alaska will launch once-weekly flights on Saturdays between San Diego and Anchorage.
Breeze, the latest brainchild of serial airline entrepreneur David Neeleman, is back in expansion mode. This fast-growing upstart launched flights in May 2021, and just this month, Breeze announced one new destination and four new routes.
The airline will add service to Gulfport-Biloxi International Airport (GPT) along Mississippi’s Gulf coast in January. From there, it’ll fly to Las Vegas and Tampa.
Additionally, Breeze will connect Islip, New York’s Long Island MacArthur Airport (ISP) with Vero Beach, Florida, this winter, followed by Raleigh and Durham, North Carolina, and Akron, Ohio, beginning in February.
It’s not all good news for Breeze, though. The airline is dropping service to Tulsa, Oklahoma, by the end of November.
Delta Air Lines
If you’ve ever visited Tulum, Mexico, before, you might be aware it’s a nearly two-hour drive from Cancun — the region’s busiest airport.
Fortunately, Delta has good news for its flyers: The carrier became the first U.S. airline to announce Tulum flights this month. Delta will commence daily nonstops from its megahub in Atlanta to Tulum International Airport (TQO) — opening in a few short weeks — on March 28, 2024.
In addition to the new Tulum service, Delta announced that it’ll return to Halifax in Nova Scotia next summer. Interestingly, this route resumption will come just a few days after American launches service on the exact same route.
Finally, Delta is tweaking some of its Northeast regional flying by shifting the gateway on some routes back to Detroit. This comes following the Federal Aviation Administration’s extension of the slot waiver in place at New York’s LaGuardia Airport (LGA).
Even though you won’t find a splashy press release announcing these changes, Frontier Airlines quietly cut three routes in October.
This includes service from Orlando to San Diego and San Francisco, as well as flights from Tampa to Phoenix.
JetBlue’s transatlantic network is growing with the addition of two new gateways next summer: Dublin and Edinburgh, Scotland.
Service to both cities will operate seasonally in the summer, and JetBlue will fly its less-premium Airbus A321neo with new Mint to both destinations.
JetBlue will also grow its presence in Paris with the addition of a new year-round daily flight from Boston starting on April 3, 2024. The carrier will add a second daily flight from JFK to Paris on June 20, 2024, as well.
While JetBlue might be growing across the Atlantic, it’s making some significant cuts to its domestic network, primarily focused in the Northeast. This includes dropping service to Burlington, Vermont, and slashing flights on 13 other routes.
JSX, a swanky air carrier that technically operates as a public charter with 30-seater jets, is adding three new routes this winter.
This includes its first-ever service to Boca Raton, Florida, from Morristown, New Jersey, and Westchester, New York. Additionally, JSX will add flights from Morristown to Miami-Opa Locka Executive Airport (OPF) just before the holidays.
It’ll be interesting to see how JSX fares on these routes. They’re popular corridors for deep-pocketed snowbirds seeking warmer pastures in the winter, so assuming JSX can get past this latest lawsuit, perhaps the route will return in the future.
Even though Southwest’s recent earnings report may have been a miss, the airline is getting positive press for a pretty significant network expansion. This includes a whopping 30 new routes, such as service from California’s Hollywood Burbank Airport (BUR) with six new destinations.
Meanwhile, on the other coast, Southwest is shifting its international hub in the Southeast from Fort Lauderdale to Orlando.
Aside from the new routes, the airline also is set to bring back more than 60 seasonal routes that will be phased in all across the country.
Catch all the details below.
Spirit became the second U.S. airline to announce flights to Tulum’s new airport this month. The carrier will commence two routes there from Fort Lauderdale and Orlando.
You may have never seen a Sun Country plane before at your local airport, but that might change in the coming months.
Sun Country, which is based at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP), is taking on local behemoth Delta with the addition of 10 new routes.
Most of the announced routes will go head-to-head against Delta. This includes new service to Montreal and Toronto, as well as domestic cities, such as Boise and Albuquerque, New Mexico.
United Airlines is usually the one with the splashy press release and cocktail party to celebrate its summer transatlantic route announcement. This year, however, the carrier is out with just one new destination for next summer: Faro, Portugal.
In addition to the new route map pin, United will add a few new flights on existing or recently suspended routes, such as Newark to Reykjavik and Brussels.
United also trimmed some of its route portfolio this month, including cutting service between Washington, D.C., and Berlin, as well as between Newark and Honolulu.
The Mexican flag carrier unveiled a major U.S. expansion earlier this month with a whopping 17 new cross-border routes.
The airline didn’t announce specific start dates, but it did say they will be “gradually introduced” beginning in January.
The new flights will operate in conjunction with joint-venture partner Delta, and 14 of the new routes are to Delta hubs.
Aeromexico’s move comes after the U.S. government recently upgraded Mexico’s air safety rating to Category 1. The U.S. had downgraded Mexico’s air safety rating to Category 2 back in 2021, which meant that Mexican carriers were barred from adding new service to U.S. airports.
Air Canada is launching flights from Toronto to Charleston, South Carolina, beginning in March. This regional service will be operated by an Air Canada Express Embraer 175 jet.
Canadian carrier Porter Airlines is expanding in the U.S. with three new destinations: Las Vegas, Los Angeles and San Francisco.
Porter will fly to all three cities from Toronto Pearson Airport (YYZ).
Last year, Virgin Atlantic launched flights from London to Austin, a route that competed head-to-head with British Airways.
Perhaps the competition was too strong, though, because Virgin quietly announced this month that it will terminate the Austin route effective in January.