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Delta and United Are Cutting Flights to 10 Major Cities, Starting in March

The airlines are scaling back routes to both domestic and international destinations.

Even though the airline you choose when booking a flight can come down to who is offering the best deal on airfare, picking the itinerary that gets you there as directly as possible can often be a significant determining factor. Unfortunately, this means that travel plans can become more complicated whenever a carrier shuffles its route map. And now, Delta and United are cutting flights to 10 major cities. Read on to see which destinations will be impacted when the changes go into effect starting in March.

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Delta is making schedule changes affecting three destinations.

A Delta plane taking off with an air traffic control tower in the background

Despite a recent bulking up of its international routes, Delta Air Lines is still paring back departures between some of its most important airports. According to information posted to flight data website Cirium, the carrier will be scaling back the number of flights from two of its North American hubs to London Heathrow Airport (LHR), Simple Flying reports.

Starting in March, Delta will drop its planned 12 weekly flights from Detroit Metro Airport (DTW) to the U.K. capital to just once daily. The change confirms the airline won't be resuming the same frequency it had between the cities last summer, marking a 42 percent cut in availability, per Simple Flying.

The carrier's hub at Salt Lake City International Airport (SLC) will also see a decrease in flights to LHR. While the airline had initially planned to scale up departures from four times a week to daily for the busy summer travel season, data posted to Cirium shows the airline will only fly five times a week between the two destinations. Coupled with a change in aircraft, this means the two cities will see a 43 percent decrease in passenger load on what is Delta's second-longest route servicing the U.K. compared to last summer, Simple Flying reports.

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United is dropping international flights to seven cities.

Passengers looking at United departures board

Many major carriers are still reconfiguring their global route maps after the COVID-19 pandemic all but halted international travel. And while it's been beefing up service elsewhere, United Airlines is cutting back flights between the U.S. and China it had initially scheduled, Simple Flying reports.

Data posted to Cirium shows the airline is axing 23 flights on each affected route, including from its New York-area hub at Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) to Beijing Capital International Airport (PEK) and Shanghai Pudong International Airport (PVG). The airline's midwest hub at Chicago O'Hare International Airport (ORD) will also cut back flights to the two Chinese cities.

San Francisco International Airport (SFO) and Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) are also both slated to lose 23 flights originally scheduled to PVG in March. Meanwhile, Dulles International Airport (IAD) will see an identical decrease in flights to PEK, per Simple Flying.

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Alaska Airlines is axing six routes from its service map around the same time.

An Alaska Airlines plane coming in for a landing

On top of dealing with scheduling woes due to aircraft safety concerns, Alaska Airlines is also shuffling its departures—and even dropping specific legs. Data posted to Cirium shows the airline is axing at least six domestic routes in the coming months, Simple Flying reports.

The changes include dropping the twice-daily service between San Jose Mineta International Airport (SJC) in California and Austin Bergstrom International Airport (AUS) as of May and cutting planned flights between Miami International Airport (MIA) and Portland International Airport (PDX) in Oregon beginning May 13. The airline will also reduce service between Paine Field (PAE) in Washington and Daniel K. Inouye International Airport (HNL) in Honolulu, Hawaii, from twice daily to one a day in May before dropping the route entirely the following month through September, Simple Flying reports.

The airline is also dropping flights in smaller markets. Planned twice-daily flights between Boise Airport (BOI) and Pullman-Moscow Regional Airport (PUW) in Idaho will no longer take off in June and July. Once-weekly service from Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) to Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport (BZN) and twice-daily flights to Glacier Park International Airport (FCA) are also getting axed from June through July.

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JetBlue also just announced major route changes of its own.

A close up of a JetBlue plane's tail fin while parked at an airport
Eliyahu Parypa/iStock

In what appears to be a big week for schedule changes, JetBlue Airways has also made some significant route cuts along with the other major airlines. The carrier said it would be dropping service between John F. Kennedy Airport (JFK) in New York City to PDX and SJC, CNBC first reported.

It will also suspend service from its New York hub to Mercedita International Airport (PSE) in Ponce, Puerto Rico, and Milwaukee Mitchell International Airport (MKE) beginning in October. And the airline is dropping its route between Westchester County Airport (HPN) in New York and Martha's Vineyard Airport (MVY) in Massachusetts.

But in its arguably most significant change, JetBlue announced that it would pull all service out of Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI) as of May 1. In a memo to staff outlining the changes, executives with the airline said the company would still service the area with flights to nearby Washington, D.C.

"We can't fly everywhere we'd like, so we need to be highly selective about where we point our aircraft in order to turn a profit, support our overall network strategy, and offer a reliable operation," Dave Jehn, vice president of network planning and airline partnerships, wrote in the note, per CNBC.

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Zachary Mack
Zach is a freelance writer specializing in beer, wine, food, spirits, and travel. He is based in Manhattan. Read more
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