JetBlue Slashes A Third Of Los Angeles, Cuts Fort Lauderdale And Exits Four Cities Entirely

I wrote this week that JetBlue was telling employees it would pull down flying on the West Coast out of Los Angeles. They’re doing exactly that, and making other significant changes to their route network as well.

Out of Los Angeles, JetBlue will cut one-third of its flights, reducing from about 34 down to 24 each day. In June they will eliminate:

  • Los Angeles – San Francisco
  • Los Angeles – Seattle
  • Los Angeles – Miami
  • Los Angeles – Las Vegas
  • Los Angeles – Reno
  • Los Angeles – Puerto Vallarta
  • Los Angeles – Liberia, Costa Rica
  • Los Angeles – Cancun

That means they will continue to fly Los Angeles to New York JFK, Newark, and Boston. That would also leave Orlando; Fort Lauderdale; West Palm Beach; Salt Lake City; Los Cabos; Buffalo; Nassau.

JetBlue will also be pulling out of several markets entirely: Bogota, Colombia; Quito, Ecuador; Lima, Peru; and Kansas City, Missouri. Newburg-Stewart airport, currently suspended, will be gone from the route map as well.

They’ll also be dropping several individual routes in June:

  • Fort Lauderdale – Austin, Atlanta, Nashville, New Orleans and Salt Lake City
  • New York JFK – Detroit
  • Tampa – Aguadilla

JetBlue is struggling financially. The government shut down their two main plays to grow – partnering with American Airlines, and buying Spirit. They have Carl Icahn breathing down their neck. Their new CEO needs a turnaround plan. The first part was raising fees. Now they’re cutting money-losing flying.

Their West Coast operation performs poorly. It was logical to cut. JetBlue needs to build back Boston. They’ve allowed Delta to grow as they focused on New York during the time of their American Airlines partnership. They should clearly re-engage American Airlines on a partnership, pull back from the West Coast, and focus on the Northeast – a return to their roots.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Surprised they eliminated both lax- mia and lax-fll.

    I thought those worked for them.

    Time to book my true blue flights while u can (I’m lax based)

  2. Anyone know when these might get officially cut? I’m on one a few SWF flights early next month, but JetBlue won’t tell me anything (understandably) about the changes

  3. Amending my earlier comment, I meant FLL – not sure why I typed SWF

    (though am surprised they would leave a “hometown” airport, however seasonal their operations there were)

  4. I am booked in June from JFK to RNO and RNO to LAX.

    Am I SOL? No word yet from them.

  5. @Gary..You are a lying sack of garbage. JetBlue did not make ANY announcements to its employees until today. You have no clout at JetBlue… no one told you anything. YOU stole this information from JonNYC public twitter (X) Account and now taking credit for the news.

    Does Jon know you are taking credit for this?

  6. @SMR – Excuse me? Are you off your meds?

    This was from JetBlue *employees* leaked to JonNYC, who I cited EXTENSIVELY in the linked post.

  7. JetBlue: the New York/Boston airline. And that’s not a great niche in which to be stuck. Very, very limiting.

  8. @Gary: Thank you! I called and they said the same (late June for my specific routes)

    @AngryFlier: I’m a JetBlue loyalist (there’s dozens of us!), I think it’s a fine niche to be in. They have strongholds in two airports that every airline in the country would love to have, despite what AA may claim about NYC, and allows them to do both decent business travel in Mint and high volume/lower yield snowbird routes. They really need to work on non in-air ops, so I’m happy to see them refocus

  9. Anyone else find MIA-LAX cut a bit odd? According to Wikipedia it is the 6th busiest domestic route out of Miami, with only American, Delta and JetBlue on the route. JetBlue couldn’t make this work with its Mint product? I guess they didn’t have enough brand equity either in MIA or LAX, but it seems like this route should have more than two airlines flying it…

  10. multiple non-airline news sources including CNBC have seen the memo to employees.

    B6 is doing what they had to do to turn around financially; they have chased a million dreams, most of which have not worked.
    Their core network has become less and less reliable and desirable.
    Most of these routes that are being cut were a given; they were known to be weak based on pricing.

    And it has to be noted that AA is the biggest beneficiary on the FLL-Latin America routes; all of these were attempts to turn FLL into a viable gateway to MIA.
    Since NK flies several of these routes, it further validates the DOJ’s concerns that a B6-NK merger would have raised fares – and that would have happened to the detriment of consumers. It was B6 that was weak while NK was setting the price levels.

    And the beneficiary domestically is DL. There are more routes being cut that are competitive with DL than any other airline including in SLC and ATL.

  11. With all those extra planes, JetBlue should be able to operate the reduced network very reliably, even adding frequency here and there. If that’s how they choose to play it.

  12. It’s rich how all those with “knowledge” of airline ops were shitting all over Gary yesterday.

  13. I find the dropping of the LAX-MIA surprising. You’re talking a pretty premium heavy route.

  14. How can they re-engage AA for the Northeast partnership? Government is going to fight them on it.

  15. @Christian

    It’s tough to get loyal premium traffic with 2x frequency and no lounge.

  16. Good. Cutting routes not only will ease up on operational issues as they’ll have excess pilots, cabin crew, and planes but they’ll have more leverage over flight attendants and pilots. Running unprofitable routes is bad business.

    JetBlue is very popular on the East Coast as the airline that replaced TWA and America in serving the Caribbean. It makes sense to have Mexico flights and Central American flights from NY and the east coast but not so much California. Keeping the transcon flights to California should be the only flights to California for JetBlue.

  17. LAX-BUF survives. There is hope. I hope that continues and that flying JetBlue makes sense. I flew the JetBlue LAX-MIA route before. A good pair of flights for the round trip ticket. I flew into and out of Stewart International Airport one time ten years ago.

  18. People think Miami- LAX is so “premium”. It’s not. The average fares on the route arent high- all accessible online via government statistics.

  19. MIA -LAX has high volume of premium class passengers, more than most other routes that don’t involve NYC

  20. @beachfan –
    what do you mean a “high volume of premium class passengers”? Most planes flying the route have 16-20 first class seats,with maybe one or two exceptions. NO different than many other routes.
    The Department of Transportation’s fare report shows average fares per route in the country, and the MIA-LAX average fares arent notably higher than other routes of the same distance – in fact, they’re lower in some circumstances. This is a common fallacy that’s not really backed up with data.

  21. Mistake to shut done MCI even if losing money. Jetblue has always had huge holes in their route map in the middle of the US. This is an area they could grow and earn money.

  22. @Chad – the judge’s ruling went to great lengths to talk about what a permissible partnership would look like – something along the lines of American’s partnership with Alaska that didn’t ‘carve up routes’ (jointly deciding which airline flies where) for instance

  23. These gyrations are a clear indication that B6 has no further value to add to the market, neither for consumers nor shareholders. It has outlived its purpose.

    The sooner Carl Icahn can dismantle it and sell the individual pieces for a profit to the benefit of stakeholders, the better. DL and UA can then take over the N.E. slots and put them to higher and better use. And current B6 staff could likely easily find new jobs with any of the three US network carriers.

  24. I see a death spiral coming. Yeah a lot of those LAX routes needed to be cut, but I’m not sure about the FLL ones though. Are they looking at contribution margin in terms of profitability? You can’t cut revenue your way to profitability. And where are they going to redeploy those assets?

  25. LAX-MIA is going to be dominated by ppl who have status. If you fly AA LAX-MIA is big group of Group 1s because everyone has status since both LA and Miami are at such extremes of the country.

  26. So, since the DOJ won it’s glorious victory for consumers and “competition” Spirit is on a death watch, its debt trading at something like .74 cents on the dollar and the bottom has fallen out of its stock. Spirit and Jet Blue both are deferring aircraft deliveries and shrinking their networks. Spirit plans to lay off employees and is facing an accelerating pilot exodus – one of the reasons it was unprofitable in recent years. The CEO testified at the trial Spirit’s inability to hire and retain pilots was preventing them from achieving the “aircraft utilization rates” needed to be profitable. Aside from the wasted human capital and aircraft utilization rate thing, running a pro-bono A320 type rating program for future United and Delta pilots is extremely expensive. This fatal problem is now a thousand times worse and the same future may await Jet Blue.

    The big winner here? The big four US airlines airlines that dwarf Spirit and Jet Blue in size with individual market monopolies carefully divided between them. United, who already has a new aircraft order book greater than the combined fleets of Spirit and Jet Blue, is already making a play to gobble up the A321s being deferred by Spirit and Jet Blue after the scuttled merger. Does anyone really think that a weakened Jet Blue pulling out of all West Coast flying that isn’t a trans-con to a East Coast hub is going to lower ticket prices out of LAX? The DOJ case and the judge’s deeply flawed (or corrupt) decision makes an mockery of anti-trust law. The DOJ case against B6/NK was a case of the government engaging in chicken-shit punching down to destroy two small low-cost competitors, harm consumers and help the real monopolists consolidate market power and grow in size. The whole affair stinks and I can’t believe money or favors did not change hands for this bizarre decision. Jonathan Kanter and Judge Young have completely screwed two airlines and their 38,000 employees while leaving a less competitive airline landscape that will harm consumers for many years to come. I hope Joe Biden understands he just lost a lot of votes.

  27. Does anyone know what happens to your miles if you booked an award flight for FLL-BNA in October? Seeing as this route will be cut, does JetBlue refund the miles to my account? And is there any chance at getting those transferred back to Amex MR? I only transferred them to TrueBlue in the first place because of an 25% bonus offer and because it was a convenient flight. Thanks in advance for anyone willing to answer…

  28. B6 is backing itself into a corner. Hacking off too many limbs. Just can’t rely on the north east for growth. To get to Florida, I’ll have to bounce thru Boston or NYC. What a mess!!
    Reminds me of the Eastern of old. East coast centric, failing to be relevant, alienating passengers, stripped of assets, management with no sense of direction or vision.
    I’ll cash in my TrueBlue points and be done with them.

  29. Gary –
    I missed in the article you blame in American for JetBlue’s issues. We know you hate American and I’m surprised you did not blame American for JetBlue’s issues.

  30. @James – I blame American? Huh?

    The American Airlines partnership was killed by the DOJ, not because American pulled out of the deal. (In fact, JetBlue pulled out of the deal after the adverse decision at the district court level)

  31. yeah, you are angry, LAX guy.
    you don’t seem to understand that B6 wasn’t making money.
    Government blessing or not doesn’t allow money-losing routes to stick around.
    B6 has been hoping for a million facades in order to avoid dealing w/ the reality which is that its profitability was falling long before covid.
    They tried everything to avoid confronting the reality that they aren’t the darling of the industry any more – and they lose money on lots of the flying they do.

    The DOJ did what it had to do and B6 is now doing what it should have done years ago. Cut its unprofitably flying and try to return to its core network and run it well. whether they can claw back some of the share they lost remains to be seen but history is not on their side. There are no examples of US airlines regaining share they have lost when a competitor moves in and grabs it.

  32. Since the moment Carl got 2 seats on the Board B6 was dead they been dead for a while they wanted a merger that they didn’t have the money on the first place and was now truthful to it self in how much really was going to cost them that merger since they got their noses in between F9 & NK merger attempt a merger of equals even if the merger was approved they were going to be doomed regardless those are the facts now no NE ALLIANCE NO MERGER NO NOTHING THE REAL WINNER you like it or not F9

  33. Interesting link @A220HubandSpoke
    But, what that link showed was international, not domestic, premium demand. Your chart doesnt speak at all to the fare environment on LA-Miami

    I provided in my link actual fare data for the LA-Miami market, which shows that it’s not appreciably higher, and sometimes lower, than routes of similar distance. It did not out perform.

  34. it’s also six year old data and highlights that, despite the fact that MIA international is a rich market, UA is very small there and in all of Florida.

  35. @Angry LAX Guy —> Not sure whether to laugh or cry at your rant, but most of it is nonsense…

    The writing was on the wall, IMHO, when AS outbid B6 for VX. Leaving aside whether or not that was a good deal for Alaska, in many ways Virgin America was a mirror image of JetBlue — same planes (Airbus), strong on the West Coast with a few transcontinental routes. When that acquisition failed, B6 was in trouble. They couldn’t grow organically on their own, and attempts to grow via AA and NK was stopped by DOJ.

    I am sure I am not the only one — I stopped flying B6 when Virgin America started. Flying mostly out of SFO, and mostly up and down the West Coast with an occasional transcon thrown in, it made much more sense to build up miles on VX (and fly to Europe on VS) than it did to fly from OAK-LGB and then drive up to LA or Santa Barbara (and fly to Florida). I’ve got some 45k points of B6, and if they go away, they go away…who cares?

  36. Been my favorite airline for 30 years, a cut above in service, seats, comfort, snacks, on time and friendlier. I fly several times a year and haven’t seen any slippage of this.

  37. When JetBlue unveils a150k credit card sign-up bonus, that will be the signal that the end is near.

  38. @Gary: You have Costa Rica in both the cut and keep lists… which is it?

  39. Wow! All of those flights gone by June? Yikes… This means American is going to start moving more into T5. What a shame. I love flying jetBlue. I still think one of their biggest mistakes was pulling out of LGB. I will never forgive them for that.

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