United and American Are Cutting Flights From These 9 Cities, Starting May 15
Air traffic controller staffing dropped by 10 percent over the past decade—it’s impacting summer schedules.
Summer travel plans to New York City are about to get much more limited. United Airlines and American Airlines already began cutting flights on routes from New York City and Washington, D.C.-area airports, as of May 15, and additional airlines are dropping service to entire airports as early as June.
United will cease operations at Westchester County Airport (HPN), bringing the airline's total airport loss from 38 to 39, as of June 30. The airline only operated one route from the White Plains, NY airport—a direct flight to Chicago O'Hare International (ORD), according to The Points Guy.
The aviation news site Simple Flying also noted that passengers whose plans previously included flights from Westchester County Airport to Chicago O'Hare International will be offered new bookings from LaGuardia Airport (LGA) or Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR). American Airlines will continue to operate "up to three daily flights" between HPN and ORD per Cirium scheduling data, The Points Guy adds, still allowing for convenience depending on the traveler's original location (Westchester County Airport is 30 miles from LGA and 50 miles from EWR).
United began cutting at least 30 routes from Newark, including reducing daily flights to Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) to 10 from 18. Washington, D.C.'s Dulles International Airport (IAD) will also have reduced service from LaGuardia Airport (LGA), operating only six daily flights as of May 15.
The Points Guy also reported that American Airlines has reduced flights from LGA and EWR. As of May 15, EWR will operate fewer routes from ORD and Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX), while LGA is cutting routes to Miami International Airport (MIA), Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP), Pittsburgh International Airport (PIT), Omaha's Eppley Airfield (OMA), and St. Louis Lambert International Airport (STL).
Both United and American passengers will have assistance rebooking new flights as needed, airline spokespersons have informed The Points Guy.
Summer travel disruptions will continue as airlines battle a number of growing issues, from pilot and airline controller shortages to increased travel plans since pandemic restrictions have been lifted.
According to CNN, air traffic controller staffing has "dropped 10% over the last decade." As a result, American Airlines, United Airlines, and Delta Air Lines have been reducing their flights in and out of New York area airports by as much as 10 percent to avoid congestion, delays, and other issues related to disruptive "staffing shortfalls."
Delta recently announced similar plans to reduce flights from major New York City airports to the Washington, D.C. area, starting in August. It is cutting flights to 16 major cities. Meanwhile, Frontier Airlines is also ceasing all operations to and from another small New York airport, Stewart International Airport (SWF), as of July 2, as confirmed by the airline and reported by Simple Flying.
The reduced flights might spell trouble for a busy summer of travel in the U.S. AAA projects that this upcoming Memorial Day weekend will be "the third busiest… since 2000," with an expected 42.3 million Americans traveling 50 miles or more and air travel "projected to exceed pre-pandemic levels."