When a global pandemic slammed into the travel industry in 2020, it nearly ground commercial aviation to a halt. But sooner than most executives expected, demand for travel came roaring back. (And that expectation-versus-reality discrepancy led to a staffing shortage after widespread layoffs and furloughs). As a result, major carriers rushed to rev up their flight schedules by bringing back suspended routes and adding new daily departures to accommodate passengers flocking to the skies.
Despite the hot demand, some airlines are nevertheless cutting routes again, to the frustration of passengers. Read on to find out the latest airline to strike flights from its schedule, and how it could affect your upcoming travel plans.
Just last week, United announced that it would be cutting flights to eight major cities over the next month as it grapples with operational issues, according to travel news outlet The Points Guy. For at least the month of June, the carrier will suspend service from Newark to Maui (OGG), Honolulu (HNL), and Tokyo (NRT), as well as between Washington Dulles (IAD) and Sao Paulo (GRU), Geneva (GVA), and Honolulu. The airline also said it was suspending flights from Dulles to Dublin from June 4 through June 30.
In that case, the carrier explained that it was suspending the flights due to an aircraft shortage: Its Boeing 777-200 and 777-200ER planes have remained grounded since an incident in February 2021 in which a Honolulu-bound United flight from Denver rained engine parts onto the Denver area. They won’t be back in service in time to handle United’s previously announced June schedule.
JetBlue has been under fire in recent months for widespread cancellations and delays that have inconvenienced customers. In an effort to avoid more of the same going into the ultra-busy summer travel season, the carrier announced it is striking 20 routes for parts of the summer as a measure meant to build in some extra slack in its schedule and mitigate the potential for more cancellations, according to The Points Guy.
The most affected city is Fort Lauderdale, which is losing eight routes for parts of the season, according to The Points Guy. Cancun will experience a reduction in service from Raleigh-Durham and Tampa.
Last spring, JetBlue announced service to Vancouver from Boston and New York-JFK. While the JFK flights are still set to roll out on June 9, the carrier has dropped plans to fly to the Canadian city from Boston.
Further, JetBlue is permanently exiting service to Montrose/Telluride airport in Colorado.
While some of JetBlue’s operational issues began with disruption resulting from winter weather or thunderstorms, the staffing shortage and over-packed schedule snowballed into a mess that forced the airline to cancel close to 10 percent of the flights in its April schedule.
It hopes the new cuts will help avoid similar chaos going into the summer. “These changes will support operational reliability and improve schedules elsewhere in our network, helping to ensure we get our customers where they need to go during this busy season,” JetBlue said in a statement to The Points Guy. “The adjustments also scale back flying that does not make as much sense in the current environment of significantly higher fuel prices.”
It continued, “Even with these adjustments, we’re still planning for a very busy summer.”