Southwest and American Airlines Are Feuding Over Cuba Routes
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
Southwest and American Airlines are in a regulatory feud about Cuba routes.
In filings with the US Department of Transportation obtained by the Charlotte Business Journal, American Airlines is requesting to shift its Charlotte (CLT) to Havana (HAV) route to depart out of Miami (MIA) because the CLT flight is only operating at 55% capacity, meaning each flight is only about half full. American already has routes out of Miami to Havana.
The problem with American’s plan is that once an airline route is approved by government officials, an airline can’t up and change the departure city because the flight isn’t performing well financially. The way the regulations are now, AA would have to first end its CLT-HAV route and then compete with other airlines to win another MIA-HAV slot, of which there are only 20 nationwide.
So, in its regulatory filing, American acknowledged this and asked for an exception to the rule. The paperwork asks the DOT to let airlines determine themselves from what cities to fly to Cuba. “This flexibility would allow American to bring additional benefits to the traveling public, while ensuring that all carriers can respond efficiently to further shifts in demand in the US-Cuba market,” AA told the Dallas Business Journal.
Southwest scoffed at this logic. “In essence, American’s Motion would substitute its own self-interest for the Department’s public interest decisions,” the airline wrote to the DOT in its own regulatory filing.
The two airlines — along with JetBlue — had also been competing for a Havana route from New York JFK that Delta announced it no longer wanted to fly in August. Southwest wanted to add a Tampa (TPA) to Havana route.
The DOT seemed to side with Southwest, saying that an additional Miami to Havana flight “would not promote competition or diversify our frequency allocations to the same degree as would a second Saturday flight at Tampa, a city that currently has just one daily flight.”
Welcome to The Points Guy!
Earn 90,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card in the first three months of card membership. Offer ends 11/10/2021.
With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.
- Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 Bonus Miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer expires 11/10/2021.
- Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
- Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
- Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
- Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
- Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
- Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
- Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
- Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
- No Foreign Transaction Fees.
- $250 Annual Fee.
- Terms Apply.
- See Rates & Fees