Delta goes head-to-head with American and JetBlue with 4 new Boston and New York routes

May 14, 2021

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The competition is heating up in the Northeast.

On Friday, Delta Air Lines announced a significant expansion in both Boston and New York, including four new routes and upgauged service, along with expanded VIP departure services and more. The move comes just months after the launch of the nascent Northeast Alliance between American Airlines and JetBlue that’s largely focused on boosting connectivity and adding new service to — you guessed it — Boston and New York.

Three of Delta’s new routes are from Boston, where the carrier has been steadily growing in recent years leading up to the pandemic. The Atlanta-based carrier will fly three times daily to Charlotte (CLT) and twice daily to Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) — two massive American Airlines hubs — beginning on Oct. 4.

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The former will be operated by Delta Connection partner Republic Airways on a 76-seat Embraer 175 aircraft, while the DFW service will be onboard the carrier’s Airbus A220-100.

Delta will also launch service to Toronto (YYZ) from both Boston (BOS) and New York LaGuardia (LGA), with three daily frequencies from Boston starting on Oct. 4 and two daily frequencies from New York beginning on Aug. 5. The airline plans to go all-in on the LGA-YYZ route, with six-times-daily service this fall as travel restrictions lift and transborder demand returns. Both Canada routes will be operated by Republic Airways.

At least two of the routes are technically resumptions for Delta. Historical Cirium schedules that go back roughly 18 years show that the carrier last operated flights from Boston to Dallas/Fort Worth in January 2005 and to Toronto in August 2013.

In addition to the new routes, Delta will be upgauging the aircraft on a number of other key Boston routes. The first, to Los Angeles, will return to a lie-flat Delta One service aboard the Boeing 757-200 beginning on July 7, as previously reported by TPG.

Delta One pods on the Boeing 757-200 (Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

The second, to Cincinnati (CVG), will get upgraded from a Boeing 717 to a modern Airbus A220-100 beginning on Oct. 4. The A220 features a 2-2 configuration in first class and a 2-3 layout in coach. The jet is equipped with larger windows and overhead bins, seat-back entertainment, wider coach seats and modernized finishes.

A handful of other business-focused routes will be operated by the A220, including LGA to Chicago (ORD), as well as LGA and BOS to Raleigh/Durham (RDU), joining existing A220 service from LGA to DFW and Houston (IAH).

Delta’s not done yet — the carrier is really investing in the Boston market. The airline is planning to hire more than 200 employees in the area through the rest of 2021. Additionally, the carrier’s exclusive VIP Select program will soon debut at Logan Airport.

This service, offered at an undisclosed cost, includes a host of day-of-departure benefits, including Porsche Cayenne tarmac transfers, curbside meet-and-greet with baggage porters, access to the Sky Club, discreet boarding at your preferred time, flight monitoring and rebooking services and more.

“As demand grows, our commitment to Boston and New York is stronger than ever, which is why we’re continuing to invest in these communities to offer more nonstops and greater connectivity to top markets,” said Joe Esposito, Delta senior vice president of network planning in a statement.

Delta’s investment in Boston and New York will pit the carrier against two of its Northeast rivals, American Airlines and JetBlue, who together fly or have announced plans to serve every single market included in Friday’s expansion.

AA flights from Boston to both Cincinnati and Toronto were just unveiled on April 21. As part of the announcement, the carrier also doubled down on premium transcon service from Boston, which will soon include a mix of the swanky three-cabin Airbus A321T and JetBlue’s Mint biz equipped Airbus A321s.

Flights to Charlotte and Dallas will go head-to-head with American, which operates fortress hubs in both airports.

(Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

American Airlines and JetBlue jolted the industry when they announced plans for a Northeast Alliance in July 2020. The two airlines worked to quickly implement their tie-up, which culminated with the first codeshare flights on Feb. 25, 2021. Since then, both carriers have announced a slew of new routes and enhanced coordination in both Boston and New York.

Highlights: 7 key takeaways as American, JetBlue expand again in Northeast

The Department of Transporation terminated its review of the proposed tie-up under the Trump administration with some concessions from both carriers, including commitments to growth, slot divestitures at the capacity-controlled airports of New York-JFK and Washington/National (DCA) and other antitrust compliance measures. In recent weeks, the pact has reportedly drawn greater scrutiny from regulators and other airline competitors.

Meanwhile, Delta isn’t about to sit on the sidelines, watching AA and JetBlue expand, without putting up a fight.

Featured photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy

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