Airlines Are Now Adding—and Dropping—Flights in Anticipation of Future Travel

Route changes are made to better align with customer demand, an airline rep says

Avelo Air

Courtesy of Avelo

Starting an airline during a pandemic may seem like a gamble to some, but, as we reported back in April, that’s exactly the kind of challenge Avelo Airlines was up for. Helmed by several seasoned aviation and travel industry professionals, the new low-cost carrier hoped to appeal to rebounding travelers with low-fare flights that offered a low-frills (but not no-frills) experience.

Although it only launched a little over three months ago, some hawk-eyed travelers spotted that the airline had already made some pretty big changes to their lineup for both schedules and destinations. But there's a silver lining: these changes including adding other routes, a trend we're seeing across the industry as travel ramps up.

While it may seem a bit of a bad sign for a new airline to be already cutting routes, an Avelo representative has confirmed to TripSavvy that the changes aren’t indicative of anything more than a response to what month of customer insights and learnings suggested. “Ultimately, the route changes were made to better align with customer demand,” the rep told TripSavvy. “Like the rest of the industry, we’ll continue adding and removing capacity to match customer demand and seasonal travel shifts.”

This includes dropping Bozeman, Montana (BZN) and Grand Junction, Colorado (GJT) from their list of destinations starting Sept. 15 and reducing the current daily scheduled service down to just a few times a week for Sonoma County, California (STS); Ogden, Utah (OGD); Medford, Oregon (MFR), and Phoenix, Arizona (AZA).

We couldn’t help notice that air travel is going gangbusters lately. In fact, according to the latest TSA checkpoint screening numbers, recent 2021 travel dates have been hovering on either side of 2 million passengers per day and only been lagging, on average, by about 600,000 travelers per day—which is also roughly the total amount of passengers who traveled on the same days in 2020.

Other airlines are celebrating the change by expanding service.

Alaska Airlines has announced that it will increase up some of its weekly service routes to daily or twice daily, dozens of new routes and destinations (including six brand spanking new destinations that were added during the pandemic—Florida’s Jacksonville and Fort Myers; Cincinnati, Ohio; Cold Bay, Alaska; Idaho Falls, Idaho; and Cancun, Mexico), and several new nonstops between Boise, Idaho and places like Austin, Texas; Phoenix, Arizona; and Chicago’s O’Hare. 

American Airlines is also beefing up their schedule with new routes this winter, including six domestic routes and two new international destinations in Mexico and Colombia—and that's all just from Miami (MIA). The airline is positioning itself to offer the most nonstop flights from Miami than any other carrier by the end of the year.

Likewise, United’s new winter schedule sports 150 new flight additions to high market warm-weather destinations—and will boast 137 more flights than it did during the 2019 pre-pandemic winter season. According to the airline, it carried five times as many passengers during this year’s July 4 holiday weekend compared to last year.

The extended holiday weekend was also a big earner for Avelo Airlines, who told TripSavvy that it was their “busiest and best-performing stretch yet.” As it turns out, while the low-cost carrier did make some cuts, it has also come through with some previously teased schedule additions.

Beginning Sept. 16—one day after the airline suspends its Grand Junction and Bozeman service—Avelo will begin new service between Las Vegas and Sonoma and Las Vegas to Los Angeles (BUR).  The former addition will also mark the first flights offered at an airport other than Burbank.

It looks like things are still looking up for this newcomer, after all.