By Patricia Magaña – Whenever an airline launches new service between two cities, it increases competition between airlines and ultimately lowers prices on that route. Here are 10 new nonstop routes from major carriers like JetBlue, Southwest, United, and American that will yield savings for flyers this fall and winter.
1. San Francisco from Burbank via Southwest
Southwest’s Burbank-to-San Francisco nonstop route makes it easy to attend a morning meeting in Silicon Valley and be home for dinner in the evening. Thrice-daily flights between Burbank and San Francisco start on January 6, 2016. A recent introductory sale offered flights as low as $49 each way.
2. Mexico City from Orlando and Ft. Lauderdale via JetBlue
With JetBlue’s new nonstop route, Floridians can say si to Mexico City. Starting October 1, JetBlue will launch new nonstop service to Mexico City from Ft. Lauderdale as well as from Orlando. Introductory one-way sale fares for travel between October 2 and November 10 from either departure city start at $136.
JetBlue already operates in Mexico with current service to Cancun; and more broadly across the international market with service to more than 30 Caribbean and Latin American destinations, including various cities in the Dominican Republic, three airports in Puerto Rico, and Aruba, Lima, and Cartagena.
Look out for the popular low-cost carrier to post more details about its intent to fly into the Ecuadorian market with new Ft. Lauderdale-to-Quito service in early 2016.
3. Belize City from Houston via Southwest
I previously reported that Southwest is expanding into the international market (specifically to Aruba). Now, the low-cost carrier has a launch date for its nonstop route between Houston and Belize City: October 15. And at $127 one-way, the rates are none-too-shabby.
4. Cayman Islands from Chicago and Washington, D.C., via United
Just in time for a winter reprieve, United is launching brand-new and increased seasonal service to Grand Cayman Island from two major U.S. cities — both beginning December 19.
Every Saturday through April 30, 2016, United will fly between Chicago (O’Hare) and Grand Cayman. And, expanding coverage fourfold through May 4, 2016, from Washington (Dulles), United will increase service to Mondays, Wednesdays, Saturdays, and Sundays. This new route is in addition to United’s existing direct flights from Houston and Newark — daily and only on Saturdays, respectively.
Once the Chicago route has launched, United will be competing with Cayman Airways.
5. Sydney from Los Angeles and San Francisco via American and Qantas
As close as one can get to Australia without a continental drift,
American and Qantas — both major carriers in their respective markets — have teamed up to connect the West Coast with expanded service to Sydney.
American is set to launch daily service from Los Angeles to Sydney on December 17; and through its partnership with Qantas, it will also connect Sydney to San Francisco as of December 20. This is the first time in more than two decades that American will offer direct service to Australia.
Since both carriers are part of the oneworld airline alliance, a partnership is already in place between American and Qantas. But this joint-business venture will give the U.S. airline an opportunity to compete in the transpacific market against Delta and United.
6. Jacksonville from New York City via American
December 17 is set to be a big day of exciting new routes for American. Though not as ground-breaking as the previously mentioned Los Angeles-to-Sydney route, American is also scheduled to launch a New York (LaGuardia)-to-Jacksonville route on that same day—perfect timing for holiday travel.
7. Barbados from Boston via JetBlue
JetBlue’s new Caribbean route will be well-received by New Englanders. Boston travelers have the chance to thaw out with the sunny Boston-to-Barbados connections starting November 7. Just two days before that, JetBlue will link up New York (JFK) and Antigua.
8. Orlando and Ft. Lauderdale from Albany via JetBlue
Does it seem like JetBlue is launching a lot of new routes this fall and winter? It’s not your imagination. And it’s a win for flyers when the best coach-class airline in North Americaadds new service to Florida. Come December 10, Albany residents will have increased access to Orlando and Ft. Lauderdale via nonstop flights on JetBlue.
JetBlue might be banking on its cushy leather seats and extra legroom as it goes head-to-head with Southwest—the other low-cost carrier already serving the Orlando and Ft. Lauderdale markets from Albany, and the only domestic airline that still checks bags for free. For anyone choosing between the two carriers on these routes, the deciding factor may come down to comfort versus amenities.
9. Istanbul from Miami via Turkish Airlines
Turkish Airlines recently announced new nonstop service between Miami and its hub airport, Istanbul. Daily flights from South Florida to Ataturk Airport are scheduled to launch October 25.
Turkish Airlines is already serving major markets throughout the U.S., including Boston, Chicago (O’Hare), Houston, Los Angeles, New York (JFK), San Francisco, and Washington, D.C. (both Dulles and Baltimore). The carrier is part of the Star Alliance (alongside United), and its extensive route map includes 250-plus worldwide destinations.
Turkish Airlines’ robust destinations list makes it a perfect carrier if you want to incorporate an extra destination in your vacation, as it offers free stopovers in Istanbul on any booking.
German-carrier Lufthansa also covers the Miami-to-Istanbul route, but it requires a connection.
10. Panama City, Panama, from San Francisco via Copa Airlines
A second international carrier made this list not only for creating a new city pair (San Francisco and Panama City, Panama), but on a broader scale, for connecting a gateway city to a broader list of destinations.
A new San Francisco-to-Panama City nonstop route launches on September 17, and with it comes the ability to connect Northern California to a vast number of destinations. Through its hub in Panama City — the busiest airport in Latin America — Copa flies to 70 cities throughout Latin America and the Caribbean.
Additionally, Copa is one of the few carriers that still provides its main-cabin passengers with complimentary meal and alcohol services.
11. Austin from Portland, Oregon, via Alaska
Brand-new daily nonstop service between Austin and Portland, Oregon, starts November 5. The route will be operated by SkyWest for Alaska Airlines.
On that same day, Alaska Airlines also kicks off new service between San Jose, Calif.,, and Eugene, Ore.