This is part 2 of our weekend catch up! Here’s part 1.
Virgin America bets on winter leisure routes. Stepping away from its bases at SFO and LAX, Virgin America will add a pair of new seasonal routes this winter — daily New York JFK-Ft. Lauderdale flights from mid-December through April, and four weekly Boston-Las Vegas roundtrips from January 8 through April; it will also boost JFK-LAS frequencies from seven to nine a week January 5-April 28. To free up aircraft, Virgin will make what a spokesman calls “a temporary reduction” in SFO-Chicago O’Hare and LAX-ORD to just one daily roundtrip apiece, down from three and two respectively. And last week, Virgin terminated its daily Philadelphia flights from SFO and LAX.
JetBlue taps SFO-LAS. Maybe Virgin America thinks its seven daily SFO-Las Vegas flights are plenty, but rival JetBlue sees an opening there; it will jump into the market January 5 with two daily roundtrips, and introductory fares as low as $76. Speaking of SFO, we’re getting close to the launch of JetBlue’s premium-cabin Mint service on its SFO-JFK route, set for October 26. JetBlue will boost SFO-JFK frequencies from three a day to five by early next year. JetBlue is also growing at LAS, adding daily non-stops to Ft. Lauderdale October 29.
No love for Delta in Dallas. Delta’s five daily flights from Dallas’ close-in Love Field to Atlanta will end on October 13. That’s when the Wright Amendment expires, and when American Airlines’ two gates at DAL — which Delta has been subleasing — will be transferred to Virgin America. With all the expansion at DAL, not only by Southwest and Virgin America, but also by United — which plans to double its daily DAL-Houston Intercontinental schedule to 10 flights — there was no room left for Delta. The change doesn’t affect Delta’s operations at DFW. Virgin CEO David Cush said this week that the carrier might fly to two more cities from DAL– while we are hoping one might be Atlanta, Cush wouldn’t say.
AA revives LGA-ATL. American Airlines, which abandoned LaGuardia-Atlanta service earlier this year as part of a reshuffling related to its merger with US Airways, plans to revive that key business route January 6, with four daily American Eagle roundtrips. AA said the new Eagle service will use CRJ-700s with nine first class and 54 economy seats, operating out of ATL’s North Terminal T Concourse. American also announced new service starting March 5 from Miami to Austin, Kansas City, Salt Lake City and San Antonio. And last week, American started new Eagle service between Chicago O’Hare-Bismarck, N.D. and DFW-Bismarck, while affiliate US Airways Express kicked off new routes from Charlotte to Evansville and Ft. Wayne, Ind.; and Philadelphia-Ft. Wayne, and US Airways began mainline Phoenix-Cleveland service.
Delta point transfers capped. if you’re sitting on hundreds of thousands of American Express Membership Rewards points that you plan to transfer into your Delta SkyMiles account, better act fast. Effective January 1, Delta is limiting the amount of point transfers into SkyMiles accounts from partner companies to 250,000 a year. See the announcement on Delta’s website (click on General Program Updates/Transferring points from SkyMiles partners).
Double A380s at DFW. Qantas last week replaced the 747 on its Dallas/Ft. Worth-Sydney route with an Airbus A380 super-jumbo, giving it 10 percent more seats in the market, which Qantas flies six days a week (except Tuesdays). The aircraft has 14 first class seats, 64 in business, 35 in premium economy and 371 in regular coach. The 7,452 nautical mile, nearly 14-16 hour DFW-SYD flight is now the longest from the US, bumping Delta’s ATL-Johannesburg nonstop to #2 at 7,329 nautical miles. Qantas is a partner in American Airlines’ Oneworld alliance. Two days later, Emirates brought DFW its second A380, with daily nonstop service to Dubai.
Frontier keeps adding new markets. It seems like almost every week, Frontier Airlines announces more new routes. In its latest volley, the airline said it will start flying out of Miami December 20/21 to Chicago O’Hare, Denver, LaGuardia and Philadelphia, all with one or two flights a day. It will also launch PHL-Orlando and PHL-Tampa flights December 20, followed in the spring by new service from PHL to ATL, CLT and ORD. Other new O’Hare routes starting December 20 are Las Vegas and Tampa.
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