When it comes to the “Shuttle” markets connecting Washington, DC, New York City and Boston airlines know that service frequency matters. Delta Air Lines and American Airlines dominate those offerings and have for decades while JetBlue continues to nip at their heels. Starting in Summer 2019 JetBlue’s position will strengthen as it adjusts schedules and adds flights to better meet the demand for these key business markets. The new flights will phase in over the summer; seats go on sale this weekend.
The growth set for this year underscores our ongoing commitment to growth in Boston and introducing our award winning service to even more travelers in the years ahead.
Marty St. George, executive vice president and chief commercial officer
Hourly to Washington, DC
For the DC market JetBlue is adding four additional daily trips to Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) to the ten frequencies flying today. This allows the carrier to offer departures near-hourly from Boston at the top of the hour from 6am to 9:30pm. In addition to adding the new flights JetBlue will adjust the existing frequencies to bring them to the top of the hour. They are currently scattered about on the schedule. Getting to the more consistent departure time brings the offering more towards the business traveler-friendly “shuttle” service that Delta and American deliver.
JetBlue did not gain new slots at DCA for this service. To accommodate the growth in Boston frequencies the carrier is trimming “financially underperforming service” from Washington, DC to Tampa (TPA) and Hartford (BDL). The move also comes just months after the carrier cut its flights from Boston to Washington-Dulles.
American Airlines continues to offer 16 daily departures from 6am to 9pm, giving it true hourly frequencies on the BOS-DCA route. Delta is slated to add 9x daily service on the route starting in September.
A New York City play
JetBlue is also moving to a nearly hourly operation from Boston to New York City. Flights will depart Boston at the bottom of most hours between 5:30am and 10p. But this is not a traditional Shuttle setup.
The carrier is including its flights to LaGuardia, JFK and Newark in the planning to give full coverage without adding much in the way of new frequencies. The company highlights this broad distribution of flights as a positive, a “unique service pattern designed to meet the needs of travelers flying between Boston and anywhere across the New York metro area, whether it be Manhattan, the outer boroughs, Long Island or northern New Jersey.” As part of this shift the Newark service increases to seven daily flights; the remaining frequencies are split between LaGuardia and JFK.
Reorganizing the flights for hourly departures rather than irregular clumping that operates today will help travelers agnostic to the NYC airport they use. For others the shift may prove less helpful.
JetBlue faces hourly departures from both Delta and American to LaGuardia, oft preferred as the close-in NYC airport for business travelers. The ongoing construction at LaGuardia and associated traffic challenges have eroded some of those benefits but it remains the Shuttle destination of choice. Delta also recently started flying its new A220 aircraft on the route, hoping to attract business travelers with more spacious seating and upgraded entertainment and wifi systems on the new aircraft type.
Ten more cities, too
In addition to the two Shuttle business markets JetBlue will also increase frequencies from Boston to ten other airports. The growth includes more flights to:
- Austin–Bergstrom International Airport (AUS)
- Charleston International Airport (CHS)
- Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport (ORD)
- Cleveland Hopkins International Airport (CLE)
- Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport (DTW)
- Nashville International Airport (BNA)
- Orlando International Airport (MCO)
- Philadelphia International Airport (PHL)
- Raleigh–Durham International Airport (RDU)
- Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport (SAV)
With the new flights JetBlue expects to operate 175 daily departures from Boston-Logan International Airport, pushing closer to its target of 200 daily departures for the New England focus city.