In domestic route developments, JetBlue unveils the starting dates for expansion of routes where it offers its Mint front-cabin service; Southwest will add a new transcontinental route from San Diego; Delta expands at Boston; American adds service in several secondary markets; and Alaska deploys more three-class E175s.
JetBlue has announced another wave of expansion for its premium cabin Mint service. On January 4 of next year, JetBlue said, it will introduce Mint service with lie-flat bed-seats on two daily flights between Boston and Las Vegas, followed by two daily Mint flights between Boston and Seattle starting February 15, and one daily Mint-equipped roundtrip between New York JFK and Seattle beginning April 15, with a second to be added sometime later in the year. The airline also said it plans to add a fifth daily Mint flight between San Francisco and Boston, with an afternoon departure time from both cities; and an 11th daily LAX-JFK roundtrip, although it didn’t specify a start date for those extra frequencies.
Boston is the focal point of a growing market-share battle between Delta and JetBlue. Last month, Delta started twice-daily 757-200 service between Boston and San Francisco, and it recently announced two more new Boston routes. On October 1, Delta will start flying twice a day between Boston and Pittsburgh with CRJ-900s; and next February, it will add seasonal weekend service between Boston and New Orleans, with flights on Saturdays and Sundays through April 1. Speaking of New Orleans, Delta also plans to operate Saturday/Sunday service to the Big Easy from Seattle starting February 10. And during the second week of January, 2018, Delta will operate twice-daily CRJ-900 flights between Sacramento and Las Vegas for the Consumer Electronics Show.
Southwest Airlines has set January 8 as the launch date for its newest transcontinental route. The carrier plans to begin daily service linking San Diego with Tampa. At the same time, Southwest will begin new weekend-only service linking Phoenix with Des Moines, Iowa, as well as weekend service between New York LaGuardia and Ft. Lauderdale.
American Airlines this month started flying on several new routes out of its Chicago O’Hare hub to secondary cities including Appleton, Wis.; Birmingham, Ala.; Boise, Idaho; Colorado Springs, Colo.; Greensboro, N.C.; and Greenville, S.C. The airline also started flying on a seasonal basis between O’Hare and Ontario, Calif. American also kicked off new daily service between Dallas/Ft. Worth-Spokane and between Miami-Omaha.
Alaska Airlines continues to deploy new Horizon Air E175s on its network. This week, it is putting the new planes onto three more routes: Portland-Dallas/Ft. Worth, Seattle-Fresno, and Seattle-San Luis Obispo. The planes have a three-class configuration with 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.