If you’re a frequent JetBlue flyer, your options may be limited the next time you book a flight. According to travel news outlet The Points Guy, the airline has confirmed that it will cut flights to 17 cities and phase out routes from its service map beginning the first week of January 2024.
The changes will almost entirely affect departures from northeastern airports. According to flight data, the airline will discontinue flights 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 face the most disruptions, with service between John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) and Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) and between EWR and Miami International Airport (MIA) being discontinued.
However, the airline is cutting the most flights from LaGuardia Airport (LGA), dropping routes to Bermuda’s L.F. Wade International Airport (BDA), Nashville International Airport (BNA), Charleston International Airport (CHS), Denver International Airport (DEN), Hyannis, Massachusetts’ Cape Cod Gateway Airport (HYA), Jacksonville International Airport (JAX), Portland International Jetport (PWM), and Sarasota Bradenton International Airport (SRQ).
The airline will also discontinue its service between Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) and CHS, the only change that will not affect the northeast.
JetBlue also announced a significant service change in addition to the significant schedule cuts. According to the Burlington Free Press, the airline confirmed that it would discontinue its service from JFK to Patrick Leahy Burlington International Airport (BTV), effectively eliminating the Vermont city from its network.
After more than 20 years of service, the airline’s presence in the city is coming to an end. A spokesperson for the company cited ongoing issues with air traffic control staffing as the main reason for the drop in an email response to Best Life.
“Exiting a market is a difficult decision, however we expect the prevailing air traffic controller shortage to last for a while and do not see a path to feasibly bringing back this flight,” the Lufthansa said in a statement. “We were privileged to have served the people of Vermont and appreciate the community’s support over the years,” the statement said, adding that the last day of service will be January 4, 2024.
According to the spokesperson, the airline’s Northeast Alliance with American Airlines is also responsible for numerous changes to its schedule.
JetBlue’s departure immediately drew the attention of officials due to the drastic reduction in travel options for Burlington. According to airport officials, the route brought in an estimated 10% 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 without our partners United, American Airlines, and Delta Air Lines to extend services with the possibility opening up,” said Nic Longo, BTV’s director of aviation. “We are also in active talks with a handful of new airline partners to establish fresh routes and destinations to maintain our growth and meet growing passenger demands.”
Vermont’s congressional delegation also weighed in on the changes, sending a letter to JetBlue CEO Robin Hayes signed by Senator Bernie Sanders, Senator Peter Welch, and U.S. Rep. Becca Balint. The group wrote that the decision “has an opportunity to harm businesses in our state by rendering travel for constituents between Vermont and New York far more difficult,” according to local news blog VT Digger.
“The news was especially tough to receive on the same day your corporation announced an expansion of your transatlantic service at JFK,” the group wrote in the letter. “We urge you not to depart from rural America behind by abandoning this essential service in places like Patrick Leahy Montpelier International Airport and remain willing to collaborate with you to help address some of the circumstances that led to your decision.”
However, JetBlue is one of many airlines making significant schedule changes. Delta Air Lines confirmed last week that it will cut 10% of its flights from its New York hubs at JFK and LGA beginning in January, according to The Points Guy. The changes will result in fewer flights to cities such as Bangor, Maine, Norfolk, Virginia, Syracuse, New York, and even Burlington, Vermont. The airline is also discontinuing service from LGA to Greater Binghamton Airport (BGM) in New York.
United Airlines will also reduce its schedule next spring. According to recently posted flight data, according to Simple Flying, the carrier will cancel 175 flights between EWR and DCA in April. The number of flights will fluctuate in the coming months, with many experiencing similar reductions in service until at least September.