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United & JetBlue Are Canceling Domestic US Flights

United & JetBlue Are Canceling Domestic US Flights
Taylor Rains

On Wednesday, United Airlines and JetBlue Airways became the first carriers to cancel U.S. domestic flights due to the coronavirus.

Route Reduction

United was the first to announce its domestic route reduction, revealing that 10% of flights in the United States and Canada would be canceled in April and May. This includes cutting the frequency of flights between two cities or canceling some routes that have alternative travel options. In an email to CNN, United CEO Oscar Munoz and President Scott Kirby explained the virus “continues to evolve rapidly,” and the schedule adjustments were done, “in a way that minimizes the impact on our employees and our operation.” The email continued, “We sincerely hope that these latest measures are enough, but the dynamic nature of this outbreak requires us to be nimble and flexible moving forward in how we respond.”

Not long after United’s announcement, JetBlue confirmed it would be reducing US domestic routes by “an initial 5% in the near term.” The airline explained, “We are closely monitoring booking trends to assess whether additional capacity reductions will be required.”

JetBlue said that passengers affected by cancellations would be rebooked on other flights to reach their destination on the same day.

Cost Cutting Decisions

Flight cancellations are not the only measure the airlines are taking to cut costs. United has implemented a hiring freeze, offered employees unpaid leave or reduced schedules, and has delayed management employee pay raises. JetBlue has gone down a similar route to save cash, “including reducing hiring for both frontline and support center positions, considering voluntary time off programs as appropriate, and limiting non-essential spending.”

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1 Comment

  1. BlaiseBOS

    March 11, 2020 at 5:51 am

    Headline about US domestic flights. Accompanying photograph from an airport in France. What’s the French connection?

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