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Travel is back: JetBlue will give this regional airport its first flights in nearly a year

May 27, 2021
3 min read
Travel is back: JetBlue will give this regional airport its first flights in nearly a year
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There's another hopeful sign that the travel industry is healing from the pandemic.

JetBlue president Joanna Geraghty was in Worcester, Massachusetts, on Wednesday to announce that the New York-based carrier would at long last resume service there.

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JetBlue returning to a small airport in central Massachusetts might not usually make the headlines, but the carrier's resumption of service can be viewed as a harbinger of better things to come for the travel industry. Worcester has been without service on any airline since September 2020 – when the last of its three carriers ended service there amid a worsening pandemic.

With that, Worcester stood as one of the starkest examples of how the pandemic has crushed airports – particularly smaller regional ones. Now, JetBlue’s return augers hope not only for Worcester, but that a sustained recovery in travel is taking hold.

Daily flights to New York's JFK Airport will resume on Aug. 19. In October, the frequency will be boosted to two daily flights. Also on Oct. 21, JetBlue will begin daily service to Fort Lauderdale (FLL). That leaves just the Worcester (ORH) to Orlando (MCO) route as the only one of JetBlue's Worcester routes to remain suspended with no definite resumption date.

"With travel on the rebound, we are thrilled to resume service again in central Massachusetts," Geraghty said to WCVB-TV of Boston during Wednesday's press conference.

JetBlue originally cut service to Worcester (ORH) in the middle of 2020, at the height of the pandemic. At the time, the airline said that service was "suspended indefinitely," with no timeline for re-entering the market. Instead, JetBlue would consolidate its greater Boston area flights to its hub at the city's Logan airport.

But, now that travel is rebounding, especially among leisure travelers, JetBlue is ready to return to Worcester. Though Boston is only about 50 miles from the ORH airport, returning to Worcester expands JetBlue's catchment in the region.

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The move comes as airlines' domestic schedules are edging closer to pre-pandemic levels. Executives at American, Delta and United have all touted that the domestic recovery is well underway. In some cases, summer schedules are only a few percentage points from the historic highs of 2019.

Cirium schedules show that JetBlue plans to operate roughly 30% fewer domestic flights in June 2019 compared to the same period in 2019. The larger U.S. network carriers are more bullish: United's planning to bring back 400 more flights in July compared to June and operate 80% of its pre-pandemic U.S. schedule.

Related: JetBlue temporarily suspends service to 4 more airports, extends hiatus on 4 others

In addition to boosting existing routes, airlines are returning to (and starting new service) at regional airports. In Worcester, JetBlue's resumption in August will mark the first time the airport has had commercial service in nearly a full year. Delta was the last airline to operate a route there in September 2020 to Detroit (DTW).

JetBlue also is planning to resume flights to several of its other temporarily suspended airports in June, including Burbank (BUR), Ontario (ONT) and San Jose (SJC) — another sign that travel is on the rebound.

Still, one regional airport isn't faring as well for JetBlue. The carrier pulled out of Newburgh (SWF) in the southern Hudson Valley, about 60 miles from New York City, in April 2020, and currently there aren't any plans to return there, per Cirium schedules.

Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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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
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  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
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  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
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  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023
Best card for premium perks while traveling
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

10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
5X5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
2X2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

    75,000 bonus miles
  • Annual Fee

    $395
  • 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.

    740-850
    Excellent

Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023