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JetBlue begins flying new "tag" routes in order to comply with CARES Act

April 25, 2020
3 min read
JetBlue begins flying new "tag" routes in order to comply with CARES Act
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Call it a sign of the times.

As a condition of receiving federal money under the CARES Act, airlines must maintain "a minimum level of service" between city pairs that were served before the coronavirus pandemic broke out, reducing the demand for air travel to practically nothing.

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JetBlue, instead of maintaining nonstop service between its major hubs and other cities on its route map, will fly flights with "tag" segments connecting the origin to the final destination, according to Paxex.Aero. This means that flyers will have the opportunity to fly routes that did not exist on the carrier’s pre-coronavirus route map.

For example, instead of flying separate nonstop flights between New York-JFK and Chicago-O'Hare (ORD) and Minneapolis (MSP), JetBlue will temporarily fly JFK-ORD-MSP. This way, it can (try to) combat the almost complete lack of demand, reduce costs for the airline and satisfy the criteria spelled out in the CARES Act.

Some of the other routes with "tag" segments include:

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  • Boston (BOS) - Denver (DEN) - Albuquerque (ABQ)
  • Boston - New Orleans (MSY) - Houston (IAH)
  • Boston - Las Vegas (LAS) - San Diego (SAN)
  • Boston - Seattle (SEA) - Portland (PDX)
  • Long Beach (LGB) - Palm Springs (PSP) - New York-JFK
  • Long Beach - Salt Lake City (SLC) - Bozeman (BZN)
  • New York-JFK - Denver - Albuquerque
  • New York-JFK - New Orleans - Houston
  • New York-JFK - Las Vegas - San Diego
  • New York-JFK - Seattle - Portland
  • New York-JFK - San Francisco (SFO) - Sacramento (SMF)
  • New York-JFK - Orlando (MCO) - Sarasota (SRQ)
Screenshot via gcmap.com

Some of the transcontinental premium routes like BOS-LAS, JFK-LAS and JFK-SFO will maintain the airline's lauded Mint service up front, but when those aircraft continue on their "tag" segments, there won't be Mint service.

Bottom line

From a purely AvGeek perspective, it's interesting to see JetBlue piece together these routes, and there are certainly some routes (looking at you, Denver-Albuquerque) that we'd love to fly if we weren't still in the middle of a global pandemic.

However, the reality of these new routings is that they underpin an airline -- in fact an entire industry -- that's in survival mode. Getting around the country isn't going to be as convenient or as quick as it was before the US began to shelter in place, and it's certainly logical that airlines are beginning to approach their route maps this way to guarantee service while minimizing cost during a time where every carrier is burning cash at a rate that was almost unfathomable before.

Featured image by Bloomberg via Getty Images

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Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
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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.

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  • 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 1,300+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and the 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