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American Airlines exits 3 US cities, blames coronavirus and lack of additional federal aid

Nov. 23, 2020
4 min read
American Airlines exits 3 US cities, blames coronavirus and lack of additional federal aid
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American Airlines has said goodbye to three small cities in the Northeast as the coronavirus pandemic continues to hit air travel hard.

The Fort Worth, Texas-based carrier will not resume flights to Newburgh, New York (SWF); New Haven, Connecticut (HVN); or Williamsport, Pennsylvania (IPT), American spokesperson Nichelle Barrett confirmed and Cirium schedules show. The exits follow what was supposed to be a temporary suspension of flights beginning in October.

American's move is the latest hit to small cities. Destinations like New Haven and Worcester, Massachusetts (ORH) have lost all commercial air service in COVID-related reductions with no timeline for flights to resume. The cuts were forewarned by airlines in their failed push for an extension of the federal payroll support program in September.

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An extension of the payroll support provided under the federal coronavirus aid package, or CARES Act, may still occur. However, even if it does, that appears increasingly unlikely to come until after the new Congress and administration are sworn in in January.

Prior to the Thanksgiving-related jump in flyers, the number of passengers on U.S. flights was down 62% year-over-year during the week ending Nov. 17, according to trade group Airlines for America (A4A). Most expect the busy holiday week to be followed by a slow early December.

The drop in travelers has prompted airlines to adjust their maps to where travelers want to go. Destinations with outdoor attractions, like beaches and mountains, have been popular for people wanting to escape their homes during the pandemic. Places like Montrose (MTJ) and Steamboat Springs (HDN) in the mountains of Colorado, and Palm Springs (PSP) in California have seen flights return far faster than nationally.

Related: US airlines see cancellations rise amid COVID warnings against Thanksgiving travel

American's flights to Newburgh, New Haven and Williamsport were "not financially viable routes for the foreseeable future," said Barrett on the decision to exit the markets. The airline was the only carrier serving New Haven and Williamsport.

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The airline has now exited four U.S. cities since the pandemic began. The three cities join Oakland, California (OAK) that was previously cancelled. American has also temporarily suspended flights to another eight destinations, including Del Rio, Texas (DRT), Florence, South Carolina (FLO) and Worcester.

Delta Air Lines has indefinitely suspended flights to more than 16 cities across the U.S. Similarly, JetBlue Airways has suspended Newburgh and Worcester, and ended flights to Long Beach, California (LGB).

Related: American, United say flights to small cities are at risk unless Congress extends payroll program

United has suspended service to Myrtle Beach (MYR), Nantucket (ACK) and Stockton, California (SCK), according to Cirium. However, Myrtle Beach and Nantucket flights may resume on a seasonal basis next summer.

Conversely, some airlines are using the crisis to expand their maps. Southwest Airlines is on track to add 10 new cities to its map between November and next June. The carrier's CEO Gary Kelly has said the airline is "happy to play offense" and grow during the pandemic.

In addition, United will return to New York JFK in February after a five-year hiatus.

Related: Oneworld carriers American, British Airways to trial testing regime for US-UK flights

Featured image by An American Eagle Bombardier CRJ-700 is seen at Washington National Airport on April 26, 2016. (Photo by Ben Mutzabaugh/TPG)

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Best for the well-traveled foodie
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.
4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
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    Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.

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  • Annual Fee

    $250
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Excellent/Good

Why We Chose It

There's a lot to love about the Amex Gold card. It's been a fan favorite during the pandemic because of its fantastic rewards rate on restaurants (that includes takeout and delivery in the U.S.!) and U.S. supermarkets. If you're hitting the skies soon, you'll also earn bonus points on travel. Paired with up to $120 in Uber Cash (for U.S. Uber rides or Uber Eats orders) and up to $120 in annual dining statement credits at eligible partners, there's no reason that the foodie shouldn't add this card to their wallet. Enrollment required.

Pros

  • 4x on dining at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets (on the first $25,000 in purchases per calendar year; then 1x)
  • 3x on flights booked directly with the airline or with Amex Travel
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Cons

  • Weak on travel outside of flights and everyday spending bonus categories
  • Not as useful for those living outside the U.S.
  • Some may have trouble using Uber/food credits
  • Few travel perks and protections
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
  • $120 Dining Credit: Satisfy your cravings and earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the American Express® Gold Card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment required.
  • Choose the color that suits your style. Gold or Rose Gold.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees