There’s probably a good reason I’m not a route planner


Chatting with some folks today about JetBlue‘s new DFW-BOS service got me to thinking. And that’s never a good thing. JetBlue paid a king’s ransom by some accounts for the eight slot pairs each at LGA and DCA. They’re going to need to realize some serious profits on that investment. So they’re going to want to go to markets where there are high yields and limited competition. Both airports are limited by perimeter rules in terms of flight distances that can operate so it is basically Texas or east (and not even all of Texas works) for the routes. So what would I do if I were sitting at the white board working on routes?

A somewhat disturbing and almost certainly untenable option came to mind: Attack DFW.

Assuming you could get another gate or two at DFW, why not attack the American Airlines hub? JetBlue has already shown that they’re willing to attack a little bit, putting 3x daily on DFW-BOS starting next year. Why not go all-in? Sure, they don’t really own any market share at DFW. Or LGA. Or DCA. But they could try, right?

It wouldn’t be a half-assed effort like Spirit Air‘s gambit. We’re talking about a total of 19 daily frequencies, all to major business cities and all where the competition is VERY limited. US Airways flies E-Jets 3x daily on the DCA-DFW route. US, Spirit and Frontier all list DFW-LGA but they all fly it as a one-stop direct flight. Seems like there could be a lot of fun to be had with some new blood bringing competition on these routes.

Then again, it would require the additional gate at DFW. And the stage length is a bit high for fleet utilization and yield management. Still, showing up at DFW with that much lift would be an incredibly entertaining challenge to the incumbent.

Another great option would be service from Austin, connecting folks from the west coast, too, but that’s just outside the perimeter at both LGA and DCA. Sad.

Besides, what else are they going to do? Fake shuttle service?

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Seth Miller

I'm Seth, also known as the Wandering Aramean. I was bit by the travel bug 30 years ago and there's no sign of a cure. I fly ~200,000 miles annually; these are my stories. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and .

8 Comments

  1. I’d love to see some competition on the DFW – LGA route. Virgin America has done pretty well with their SFO – DFW and SFO – LAX service, so DFW isn’t impenetrable.

    The Dallas Morning News had an interview with Virgin America CEO David Cush. Here’s a portion of that interview.

    In the second quarter, the carrier captured about 31 percent of the D/FW-San Francisco market. In the larger D/FW-Los Angeles market, Virgin America took about 22 percent.

    Q) What cities do you see Virgin America serving from D/FW in the future?

    A) “On the flip side, I flew here from New York. I bought a ticket on American Airlines from LaGuardia, and it was $1,100. It was a nice flight, but it was still $1,100. So perhaps there are other opportunities out of here, but right now, I think we’re focused on San Francisco and Los Angeles.”

    The full interview is protected by a paywall, but you can still access it by Googling the headline: Virgin America stakes claim in Dallas-Fort Worth market

    1. That Cush interview sounds a bit like the AP one from a couple weeks ago where he basically indicated that Virgin America was going to play small ball. I can sortof see why, I suppose, but I’m not betting on them doing anything ground-breaking in the market. Too young and too confused as a carrier. Oh, and still not really making any money.

      If their only play is to try to find monopoly markets and attack those they’re going to lose in the long term. That’s not a path to profitability; it is a path to bankruptcy. Building market share through fare wars is not a sustainable vision.

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