JetBlue Is Cutting Flights to Major Cities in the Coming Weeks
The airline will also stop flying to one city altogether when the changes take effect.
When it comes to the airline industry, change is the norm. Some tweaks can be seen as positive for flyers when they come as added features or loyalty benefits. Others can be more controversial—especially when they involve core elements of the travel experience like the boarding process. But changes to an airline's schedule can be particularly hard to cope with if they affect your home airport or frequent destination. The latest example of this is JetBlue, which will be cutting flights to 17 major cities at the beginning of next year. Read on to see which places are affected—including one the airline is pulling out of entirely.
JetBlue just announced it's cutting back on more than a dozen routes in January.
If you're a devoted JetBlue flyer, you might have fewer options the next time you go to book a trip. The airline has confirmed it will be cutting flights to 17 cities, phasing out routes from its service map beginning the first week of Jan. 2024, travel news outlet The Points Guy reports.
The changes will almost entirely affect departures from airports in the northeast. Flight data shows the carrier will drop its routes from Boston Logan International Airport (BOS) to Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) and Frederick Douglass Greater Rochester International Airport (ROC) in New York.
Travelers in the New York City metro area will see the most cuts, including dropping service between John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) and Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) and between EWR and Miami International Airport (MIA), per The Points Guy.
But it's LaGuardia Airport (LGA) where the airline is cutting the most flights, dropping routes it currently operates to L.F. Wade International Airport (BDA) in Bermuda, Nashville International Airport (BNA), Charleston International Airport (CHS), Denver International Airport (DEN), Cape Cod Gateway Airport (HYA) in Hyannis, Massachusetts, Jacksonville International Airport (JAX), Portland International Jetport (PWM), and Sarasota Bradenton International Airport (SRQ).
The carrier will also be dropping its route between Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) and CHS, marking the only set of changes that doesn't affect the northeast.
The airline will also no longer fly to Burlington, Vermont.
On top of the significant schedule cuts, JetBlue also announced a major service change. The airline confirmed that it would axe its route from JFK to Patrick Leahy Burlington International Airport (BTV), dropping the Vermont city from its network entirely, the Burlington Free Press reports.
The change marks an end to the airline's presence in the city after more than 20 years of service. In an email reply to Best Life, a spokesperson for the company cited ongoing issues with air traffic control staffing as the main reason behind the drop.
"Exiting a market is a difficult decision, however we expect the current air traffic controller shortage to last for some time and do not see a path to feasibly bringing back this flight," the airline said in a statement to Best Life. "We were privileged to have served the people of Vermont and appreciate the community's support over the years," adding that the last day of service will be Jan. 4, 2024.
The spokesperson also cited the continued unwinding of the airline's Northeast Alliance with American Airlines for the other numerous changes to its schedule.
Elected officials from Vermont have spoken out against JetBlue's decision.
JetBlue's exit announcement immediately caught the attention of officials for drastically reducing travel options for Burlington. Airport officials said the route brought in an estimated average of 10 percent of all passengers to the airport.
"Passengers will still be able to fly from Burlington to New York JFK via Delta Air Lines, and we will work with our partners United, American Airlines, and Delta Air Lines to extend services with this opportunity opening up," Nic Longo, director of aviation at BTV, said in a statement, per the Burlington Free Press. "We are also in active talks with a handful of new airline partners to establish new routes and destinations in order to continue our growth and to meet growing passenger demands."
Vermont's congressional delegation also spoke out on the changes, with Senator Bernie Sanders, Senator Peter Welch, and U.S. Rep. Becca Balint sending a letter to JetBlue CEO Robin Hayes. The group wrote that the decision "has the potential to harm businesses in our state and make travel for constituents between Vermont and New York significantly more difficult," local news blog VT Digger reports.
"The news was particularly difficult to receive on the same day your corporation announced an expansion of your transatlantic service at JFK," the delegation added in the letter. "We urge you not to leave rural America behind by abandoning this essential service in places like Patrick Leahy Burlington International Airport and remain willing to work with you to help address some of the circumstances that led to your decision."
JetBlue isn't the only airline making changes to its schedule.
However, JetBlue isn't the only airline making significant changes to its schedule. Last week, Delta Air Lines confirmed it was cutting 10 percent of its flights from its New York hubs at JFK and LGA beginning in January, The Points Guy reports. The changes will see a drop in departures to a list of cities that includes Bangor, Maine; Norfolk, Virginia; Syracuse, New York; and even Burlington, Vermont. The carrier is also cutting service it recently launched from LGA to Greater Binghamton Airport (BGM) in New York.
And United Airlines will also be paring back its schedule next spring. Recently posted flight data shows the carrier will drop 175 flights between EWR and DCA in April, Simple Flying reports. The number of flights will fluctuate over the following months, with many seeing similar decreases in service through at least September.