In domestic route news, Delta will start multiple daily flights between two key business centers; Alaska eyes deployment of new E175s this spring and summer; American adds spokes from its Miami and Dallas hubs; JetBlue invades Delta’s hometown; United drops an East Coast route; and JetSuiteX steps up for music lovers.
Delta set June 19 for the start of new service from its growing Seattle hub to the largest city where it doesn’t yet fly from SEA. The carrier said it will inaugurate service between SEA and Chicago O’Hare, offering three flights a day with Airbus A319s. Departures in both directions are scheduled for early morning, midday and late afternoon, and tickets are on sale now. Meanwhile, later this year Delta will revive service on a route it dropped years ago: Salt Lake City-Tampa. Service will begin December 21 with one daily 737 roundtrip. And effective July 9, Delta will deploy a second daily roundtrip on its Atlanta-Rochester, Minn. route, using a CRJ-700.
Alaska Airlines has ordered a bunch of new Embraer E175s, and several of them are being delivered this spring and summer. Routesonline.com reports that Alaska’s Horizon Air unit has started scheduling the new planes onto its route network, initially operating one daily roundtrip in each market. You’ll see the new E-175s staring May 4 on the Portland-St. Louis route, followed on May 18 on routes from Seattle to Oakland, Ontario, Portland, San Francisco, and St. Louis. The plane debuts June 4 between Portland-Salt Lake City; June 15 from Seattle to Calgary, Colorado Springs, Santa Barbara and San Jose; July 17 from Portland to Dallas/Ft. Worth; July 18 from SEA to Fresno and San Luis Obispo; August 17 from Seattle to Bozeman; August 18 from Orange County and Portland to Albuquerque; September 18 from San Francisco to Albuquerque and Kansas City; and October 18 from San Diego to Albuquerque.
The new aircraft are part of Alaska’s largest order ever for Horizon – a total of 30 new planes. And they will come with a three-class seating configuration including 12 first class seats, 16 in Alaska’s new Premium Class and 48 in the main cabin. The premium class seats will have a 34-inch pitch, vs. 36 to 38 inches in first and 31 inches in the main cabin. The planes will also have Wi-Fi, power outlets throughout, and free streaming entertainment.
American Airlines plans a July 5 start for new service between its Dallas/Ft. Worth hub and Spokane. The carrier will operate one daily roundtrip using a 124-passenger A319. On the same date, American will add another spoke from its Miami hub with the inauguration of one daily roundtrip to Omaha, Nebraska. MIA-Omaha will be an American Eagle operation, using a 76-seat E-175.
We’ve mentioned this before, but just a reminder: This Thursday (March 30), JetBlue is set to jump into a market thoroughly dominated by Delta and Southwest: Boston-Atlanta. JetBlue plans five flights a day on the route. The carrier planned on operating out of ATL’s Terminal E, but the airport reportedly wanted JetBlue to split its flights between Terminals D and E – prompting a JetBlue complaint to the FAA.
With a big hub at Newark, United Airlines doesn’t have much of a presence at New York LaGuardia – and that presence is about to get smaller. United Express/Republic Airlines operates up to three flights a day between LGA and Raleigh-Durham, but those flights are scheduled for termination effective June 7. United already serves RDU from Newark.
Music fans who want to get to the renowned Coachella Festival next month without a long drive through the desert have a new option. JetSuiteX, which operates small-jet scheduled service on intra-California routes, is planning to run special flights on two April weekends from Burbank to the Jacqueline Cochran Desert Resorts Regional Airport in Thermal, California. The service is scheduled for April 14-17 and April 21-24; tickets start at $199 each way at www.JetSuiteX.com.