SFO’s biggest airline forecasts record busy Thanksgiving travel


United Airlines, the leading airlines at SFO, expects record passenger numbers over Thanksgiving 2023. 

United Airways, the main airways at SFO, expects file passenger numbers over Thanksgiving 2023. 

Justin Sullivan/Getty Photos

Bay Space residents are all acquainted with “red-eye” flights — those who depart late within the night and arrive the subsequent morning. However do you know that one of many state’s largest carriers — Southwest Airways — has by no means operated any red-eyes? Now it seems like that can change, which may carry new flight choices for journeys to the japanese U.S. In an interview with the Dallas Morning News, Southwest CEO Bob Jordan stated that including red-eye flights to its schedule can be “a logical evolution for us. We’ve got the plane, it’s a good way to make use of an asset that you have already got and use it extra productively, which implies extra hours within the day. So we will likely be doing red-eyes.” Jordan didn’t say which routes are more likely to get the in a single day flights, or when they may begin, however departures from the West Coast are an apparent goal. Southwest controls 80% of the market at Oakland Worldwide and greater than half at San Jose Mineta, in addition to 5% at SFO.

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That’s not the one massive change that could be coming at Southwest. Since its founding, Southwest’s flights within the Dallas space have operated from close-in Love Area, and it stayed there even after the massive Dallas/Fort Value Airport opened 50 years in the past. Southwest controls 18 of the 20 gates at Love Area, however there’s no room for it to broaden there, so now it has its eye on DFW. CBS Information stated the airline confirmed it has “engaged in preliminary discussions with DFW International Airport to further serve customers throughout the area.” An airline spokesperson advised CBS that Southwest is discussing “a reasonable quantity of flights from DFW,” with no selections doubtless till someday subsequent 12 months. 

Travelers stand in line at a security checkpoint before boarding their flights the day before Thanksgiving, Wednesday, Nov. 23, 2022, at Logan International Airport in Boston.
Vacationers stand in line at a safety checkpoint earlier than boarding their flights the day earlier than Thanksgiving, Wednesday, Nov. 23, 2022, at Logan Worldwide Airport in Boston.Steven Senne/AP

With the year-end vacation journey season about to start, it seems just like the pre-pandemic hassles of overcrowded airports and full flights will likely be again with a vengeance this 12 months. United Airways, which controls 45% of all passenger visitors at San Francisco Worldwide, is expecting its busiest-ever Thanksgiving travel period, which it defines as Nov. 17 via 29. The airline’s passenger whole throughout that interval is more likely to be 5.9 million — up 13% from final 12 months and 5% higher than the identical days in 2019 earlier than COVID-19 hit. The airline’s busiest journey day will doubtless be Sunday, Nov. 26, when it expects to deal with 517,000 prospects. American Airways stated this week it is expecting a record 7.8 million passengers over Thanksgiving. From Nov. 16 via 28, AA stated, it can function greater than 70,000 flights, with Nov. 26 and 27 because the busiest and second-busiest days, respectively. 

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Following the stir among its frequent flyers that Delta caused by elevating the necessities for SkyMiles elite standing in 2024, United this week reassured its MileagePlus members that it will not take a similar step. “You’ll not must earn extra Premier qualifying factors (PQP) or take extra Premier qualifying flights (PQF) to get standing” in 2024, United stated on its web site.  The airline can even give members who maintain Premier standing subsequent Feb. 1 a “head begin” bonus of PQPs of their accounts, starting from 250 for Premier Silver members to 1,250 for 1Ks. The airline stated it is usually boosting the variety of PQPs earned by spending with MileagePlus bank cards issued by Chase.

Below the brand new schedule, each $500 in card spending will earn 25 PQPs; beforehand, it required $12,000 in spending to earn 500 PQPs, so this quantities to a 20% improve in earnings. The utmost variety of PQPs that may be earned with the United Membership Infinite Card subsequent 12 months will likely be 10,000, a 25% improve. As well as, “we’re eradicating the annual cap of 15,000 PQPs you can earn from qualifying spend throughout a number of eligible United MileagePlus bank cards issued by Chase,” United stated. The Points Guy has a deep dive into all the latest changes

A Union Pacific train entering downtown Austin, Texas, in April 2023.

A Union Pacific practice coming into downtown Austin, Texas, in April 2023.

Brandon Bell/Getty Photos

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The rapid growth of Austin, Texas, as a tech center and a cool place to live has led to an enormous growth of airline service at Austin-Bergstrom Airport in recent times — particularly by Southwest and American Airways. But now there are signs that growth may have peaked. We reported final week that Virgin Atlantic has decided to drop its new Austin-London route in January as a result of a scarcity of passenger demand. And this week comes phrase that American Airways is planning a serious downsizing at AUS. One of many routes getting the ax is Sacramento-Austin, which is scheduled to drop from six flights every week to 4 as of Jan. 8, then lose all AA service Feb. 12. In line with Aeroroutes.com, American is because of drop 18 Austin routes in January and March, together with Albuquerque, Bozeman, Cincinnati, Cozumel, El Paso, Fort Myers, Jacksonville, Kansas Metropolis, Memphis, Oklahoma Metropolis, Reno, St. Louis, Tampa, Tulsa, Vail/Eagle (Colorado), and Washington Dulles. Austin-Montego Bay, Jamaica, flights, which have been as a result of resume in March, have additionally been dropped.  

The Factors Man notes that a few more AA international route suspensions from Austin will follow in March and April, together with Puerto Vallarta, Mexico; Liberia, Costa Rica; Nassau, Bahamas; and Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. The Factors Man stated a lot of the affected Austin routes are flown by AA’s regional associates and should have been scrapped as a result of a clause in its pilot contract that limits regional flying. Nonetheless, “irrespective of how you narrow it, Austin seemingly wasn’t working for American,” The Factors Man stated.

Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport in August 2023.

Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport in August 2023.

Photograph by Nicolas Economou/NurPhoto by way of Getty Photos

The U.S. Division of Transportation is siding with JetBlue and different carriers as a global dispute heats up over restrictions on entry to Amsterdam’s big Schiphol Airport in 2024. The Dutch authorities just lately ordered Schiphol to scale back flight operations on the airport subsequent 12 months by nearly 10% from 2019 ranges to alleviate environmental and noise issues. The airport’s ensuing plan would ban airways that just lately began flying to AMS — like JetBlue, which filed a grievance with DOT about its pending lack of entry — and would require longstanding customers of the airport to scale back their flight exercise. In line with Reuters, DOT told the Dutch government that the capacity reduction plans “constitute unjustifiable and unreasonable activities … and are in violation of the U.S.-E.U. Air Transport Agreement.” The company ordered Dutch carriers to submit their U.S. 2024 flight schedules in case DOT decides to retaliate. JetBlue isn’t the one opponent of the capability controls: Airways for America, the U.S. service commerce group, additionally opposes them, noting U.S. airways stand to lose 339 touchdown slots at AMS. KLM and the Worldwide Air Transport Affiliation additionally oppose the AMS flight cuts.  

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The control tower at Hollywood Burbank Airport stands over a Spirit Airlines plane as it taxis on Sept. 25, 2023, in Burbank, Calif.

The management tower at Hollywood Burbank Airport stands over a Spirit Airways airplane because it taxis on Sept. 25, 2023, in Burbank, Calif.

Justin Sullivan/Getty Photos

After serving Denver Worldwide Airport for greater than a decade, low-cost Spirit Airways stated it can cease flying there Jan. 9. Over these years, Spirit has flown to 16 cities out of DEN, nevertheless it’s now down to 3 — Las Vegas, Miami, and Fort Lauderdale. The airline famous that it has needed to rethink its flight schedules because it faces necessary inspections of Pratt & Whitely engines used on a lot of its Airbus A321neos, and it also cited “underperformance” of its Denver routes.

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United stated this week it’s anticipating an enormous bump in visitors to Florida this winter, so it is increasing its schedule there by 20% over last year. Some Florida routes will get bigger plane this winter and others will get extra flight frequencies. For instance, United stated it can double the variety of seats flown into Key West from its hubs at Newark, Chicago, Houston and Washington Dulles. The service additionally plans to deploy brand-new Airbus A321neos on “choose routes” to Fort Lauderdale, Orlando and Fort Myers beginning subsequent month. United stated that based mostly on its inner information, Miami and Orlando “are two of the top-five most searched home journey locations this winter.” (The others are Honolulu, Cancun and Las Vegas.) 

Canada’s WestJet is expanding into SFO during summer 2024.

Canada’s WestJet is increasing into SFO throughout summer time 2024.

WestJet

Denver Worldwide has a brand new premium lounge. The Plaza Premium Lounge, operated in partnership with Capitol One, is in DEN’s Concourse A close to Gate A34. It’s open to the public for a fee of $65 per person. (In line with Capitol One’s web site, Enterprise X and Enterprise X Enterprise cardholders get limitless free entry, whereas Enterprise and Spark cardholders get two free visits yearly.) The lounge is open day by day from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. and gives eating stations, a full bar, grab-and-go meals, rest rooms, and bathe suites. Capitol One additionally has lounges in Dallas/Fort Value’s Terminal D and Washington Dulles’ Predominant Terminal. 

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