In domestic route developments, United goes flat-bed to Boston from San Francisco; American Airlines will add new spokes from its Chicago O’Hare hub; Delta plans a new California route and adds Austin service; ; Frontier announces a bunch of new routes from three cities; and Sun Country Airlines comes to Santa Rosa’s Charles Schulz Airport.
In what could be a strike back against JetBlue’s Mint service, United will be offering flat-bed first class sections on all its San Francisco-Boston flights this summer. That’s a welcome change for those achingly long 6+ hour flights. The carrier will reportedly change its aircraft mix on the SFO-BOS route starting June 8 from the current combination of 757-300s, 777-200s and 737-900s to just two types: 777-200s and 757-200s, all with lie-flat seating in the front cabin. H/T Live and Let’s Fly In other news, United plans to increase service between its Newark hub and Madison, Wis., starting May 5 with the addition of a second daily United Express roundtrip. Both flights use 50-seat Embraer 145s.
Gearing up for fresh competition with United at Chicago O’Hare, American Airlines said in a letter to employees this week that it will add several new routes to smaller markets out of ORD this summer. Starting July 5, AA will begin new service from O’Hare to Appleton, Wis.; Birmingham, Ala.; Boise, Idaho; Colorado Springs, Colo.; Greensboro, N.C.; and Greenville, S.C. The airline will also start flying on a seasonal basis between O’Hare and Ontario, Calif. United recently announced new O’Hare services as part of a larger domestic route expansion.
Delta plans to launch new California service from its Detroit hub later this summer. The carrier set September 5 as the starting date for six flights a week between Detroit and Orange County’s John Wayne Airport, using a 737-700. Meanwhile, Delta this week kicked off its previously announced new service linking Raleigh-Durham with Austin Bergstrom. Delta Connection/GoJet will fly the route Monday through Friday with a 76-seat CRJ-900. In June, Delta will add Austin service from Seattle as well.
In the northeast, Delta said it is responding to noise complaints from residents near New York LaGuardia by eliminating its older MD-88s– used on 30 flights a day there – and replacing them with quieter A320/321s, 737s and MD-90s. “Later this year, Delta service between Atlanta and LaGuardia will fly on larger-gauge Airbus A320s and Boeing 737-900ERs, which feature all-new, modern interiors with large, sculpted overhead bins and, on the Boeing 737-900ER, seat-back in-flight entertainment,” the carrier said. (Speaking of Atlanta, JetBlue will soon reestablish a presence there when it starts five flights a day to ATL from Boston on March 30. However, the airport appears to be messing with JetBlue, first promising gates in the nice new E Concourse, then trying to force JetBlue to accept the ghetto gates at the far end of Concourse D.)
Frontier Airlines is targeting Las Vegas for expansion this summer. New Frontier routes coming to LAS include Bismarck, N.D. (starting June 11 with two flights a week); Sioux Falls, S.D. (June 12, four weekly flights); Indianapolis (July 16, three flights a week); and Washington Dulles (July 16, daily service). The low-cost carrier also plans to add several routes out of Colorado Springs in June. Twice-weekly service to San Francisco begins June 11, with a third weekly flight operating seasonally. New seasonal routes from Colorado Springs include San Diego, operating daily starting June 10; Washington Dulles, also with daily flights beginning June 10; Chicago O’Hare daily service starting June 12; and Los Angeles service four times a week as of June 12. At Washington Dulles, Frontier also plans to start flying four times a week to Austin beginning April 21.
Minneapolis-based Sun Country Airlines plans to add a couple of new spokes to its network later this summer, but only for a limited time, and with a very limited schedule. It will offer one weekly roundtrip from MSP to California’s Charles M. Schulz Airport in Sonoma County from August 24 through December 3, and one a week to Austin from August 31 to December 10.