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Spirit Airlines suspends New York-area flights following CDC warning

March 31, 2020
3 min read
Spirit Airlines plane
Spirit Airlines suspends New York-area flights following CDC warning
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Spirit Airlines will be the first mainland U.S. carrier to suspend flights completely to the New York area as it heeds a warning against traveling to the populous region by public health officials amid the novel coronavirus pandemic.

The South Florida-based carrier will end service to five airports in three states: Hartford (BDL) in Connecticut; Newark Liberty (EWR) in New Jersey; and New York LaGuardia (LGA), Niagara Falls (IAG) and Plattsburgh (PBG) in New York starting Wednesday, April 1. The move follows the Centers for Disease Control's (CDC) advisory against non-essential travel to the three states.

Spirit hopes to resume flights to the New York area on May 4, spokesperson Field Sutton said Monday.

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The ultra low-cost carrier has the distinction of being the first mainland U.S. carrier to end all flights to New York. Hawaiian Airlines suspended its daily flight to New York John F. Kennedy (JFK) on March 29, according to Cirium schedules.

The moves comes as U.S. air travel slowly grinds to a halt as officials work to slow the spread of COVID-19. Spirit plans to cut capacity by at least a quarter in April and May, while larger carriers including Delta Air Lines and United Airlines are suspending the majority of their schedules.

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The five airports that Spirit is suspending flights to represented roughly 10% of the airline's system capacity in 2019, Cirium schedules show.

Related: Allegiant, JetBlue and Spirit Airlines latest US carriers to cut flights and CEO pay

The New York is currently the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic in the U.S. The state had 42% of the country's 140,904 confirmed cases at 4 p.m. ET on Monday, according to the CDC.

Spirit was pushing to expand in the New York area prior to the pandemic. Last November, the airline filed a suit asking a court to review the Department of Transportation's decision to sunset 16 landing and takeoff rights previously held by Southwest Airlines at Newark airport. It wanted the rights available to other carriers to counter United's dominance of the New York-area airport.

U.S. carriers are parking hundreds of jets across the country as the crisis drives demand to record lows. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) reported that only 180,002 travelers were screened on March 29, or just 7% of the number screened the same day a year ago.

Demand has sunk so low that airlines are reportedly ready to ask regulators to allow them to consolidate flights in order to fill planes, CNBC reported on March 29.

Related: Spirit Airlines sues DOT for Southwest’s flights at Newark

Featured image by 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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Why We Chose It

Sometimes it's worth a large investment to reap the benefits of a great credit card. That's exactly the case with the Amex Platinum card. In exchange for the annual fee, you'll unlock access to the Amex Membership Rewards program that let you access airline and hotel transfer partners, along with new lifestyle and travel credits. This card is also incredibly rewarding for travel purchases, helping you rack up a ton of Membership Rewards points for your next award trip.

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  • This card comes with a long list of benefits, including access to Centurion Lounges, complimentary elite status with Hilton and Marriott, at least $500 in assorted annual statement credits and so much more. (Enrollment required for select benefits.)
  • The Amex Platinum comes with access to a premium concierge service that can help you with everything from booking hard-to-get reservations to finding destination guides to help you plan out your next getaway.

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  • The high annual fee is only worth it if you’re taking full advantage of the card’s benefits. Seldom travelers may not get enough value to warrant the cost.
  • Outside of the current welcome bonus, you’re only earning higher rewards on specific airfare and hotel purchases, so it’s not a great card for other spending categories.
  • The annual airline fee statement credit can be complicated to take advantage of compared to the broader travel credits offered by competing premium cards.
  • Earn 80,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $6,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership. Apply and select your preferred metal Card design: classic Platinum Card®, Platinum x Kehinde Wiley, or Platinum x Julie Mehretu.
  • Earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year and earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel.
  • Get $200 back in statement credits each year on prepaid Fine Hotels + Resorts® or The Hotel Collection bookings, which requires a minimum two-night stay, through American Express Travel when you pay with your Platinum Card®.
  • $240 Digital Entertainment Credit: Get up to $20 back each month on eligible purchases made with your Platinum Card® on one or more of the following: Audible, Disney+, The Disney Bundle, ESPN+, Hulu, Peacock, SiriusXM, and The New York Times. Enrollment required.
  • $155 Walmart+ Credit: Cover the cost of a $12.95 monthly Walmart+ membership with a statement credit after you pay for Walmart+ each month with your Platinum Card. Cost includes $12.95 plus applicable local sales tax. Plus Ups are excluded.
  • American Express has expanded The Centurion® Network to include 40+ Centurion Lounge and Studio locations worldwide. There are even more places your Platinum Card® can get you complimentary entry and exclusive perks.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit: Get up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year in baggage fees and more at one select qualifying airline.
  • $200 Uber Cash: Enjoy Uber VIP status and up to $200 in Uber savings on rides or eats orders in the US annually. Uber Cash and Uber VIP status is available to Basic Card Member only.
  • Get up to $300 back per calendar year on the Equinox+ digital fitness app, or eligible Equinox club memberships when you pay with your Platinum Card. Enrollment required. Learn more.
  • Breeze through security with CLEAR® lanes available at 100+ airports, stadiums, and entertainment venues and get up to $189 back per calendar year on your membership when you use your Card. Learn more.
  • $695 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees