American Adds Fort Lauderdale Flights, Retaliates Against JetBlue

Filed Under: American, JetBlue

American Airlines has just scheduled some increased service out of Fort Lauderdale, and it’s hard to view this as anything but retaliation against JetBlue Airways.

American Airlines’ Fort Lauderdale expansion

American Airlines has just opened reservations for three new routes out of Fort Lauderdale. As of April 2, 2021, American Airlines will fly:

  • 2x daily from Fort Lauderdale to Los Angeles with A321neos
  • 2x daily from Fort Lauderdale to New York JFK with 737-800s
  • 2x daily from Fort Lauderdale to Boston with 737-800s

While American has a huge presence in Miami, the Fort Lauderdale routes are all ones that aren’t currently operated by the airline. Currently American’s operations in Fort Lauderdale are limited to flights to Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas, and Philadelphia.

American has tried more than once to operate flights from Fort Lauderdale to Los Angeles and New York, though the routes never worked, so it’s interesting to see the airline try yet again.

I suppose the pandemic has changed a lot of things about airlines route planning, though these are also highly competitive routes. For example, Fort Lauderdale to Los Angeles will be flown by Alaska, American, Delta, JetBlue, and Spirit.

Spirit Airlines also flies from Fort Lauderdale to Los Angeles

This is clear retaliation against JetBlue

Just a few days ago it was announced that JetBlue would start flying to Miami in 2021. The airline has a big hub in Fort Lauderdale, but is now encroaching on American’s territory. The airline will fly from Miami to Boston, Los Angeles, New York JFK, and Newark.

JetBlue is expanding out of Miami

As you can see, American is now launching all of those same routes out of Fort Lauderdale, except Newark (American has no reason to grow in Newark, while it’s a new focus city for JetBlue).

A new strategic partnership between American and JetBlue was recently announced, so many assumed JetBlue’s growth out of Miami was somehow coordinated with American. I made the point that this clearly wasn’t the case, and hopefully American’s service out of Fort Lauderdale reinforces that.

This gets at how strange airline partnerships can be at times. Yes, the two airlines will cooperate, and yes they’ll work together in select markets, but in other markets they’ll continue fighting one another, as we’re seeing now.

Unfortunately for American, JetBlue has the upper hand here. For example, between Fort Lauderdale and Los Angeles, would anyone in any cabin really want to fly American over JetBlue? The only thing American can do is flood the market with capacity and low fares, and that doesn’t exactly seem like a winning strategy. Then again, coronavirus has changed a lot of things.

Would you rather fly American’s first class…

…or JetBlue Mint?

Bottom line

As of April 2021 American Airlines will launch three new routes out of Fort Lauderdale, as the airline will fly to Boston, Los Angeles, and New York JFK. This comes just days after JetBlue announced routes to similar destinations out of Miami.

Under normal circumstances there’s no way American could compete in these markets, but then again, I guess American also doesn’t have anywhere better to fly these planes, so…

What do you make of American’s growth in Fort Lauderdale?

  1. I booked JetBlue JFK-FLL June 5-12 2021 for $231 for 2 people economy. AA is showing $2,394 for the same flights. Is this a bug in AA’s system or are they setting themselves up for failure?

  2. Lucky, like you said, who consciously would fly AA over B6 FLL-LAX-FLL? The most likely customers are those who are markedly looking for ultra low fares, the obvious choice here is NK. The difference between AA & NK in this market is AA offering First. Otherwise they are pretty much the same. AA will definitely flood the market with low fares. Some might find easier availability to use miles for premium seats but those who fly AA to South Florida want to go into MIA since there more frequencies & international business is offered a couple times a day at least. Otherwise, B6 or DL would be my choice in the main cabin & B6 if wanting to fly Mint/First.

  3. The AA/B6 “partnership” or whatever it is, will never see the light of day. B6’s daily cash burn rate at the moment, relative to revenue, is the highest among the major US airlines and growing by the day. The northeast markets where B6 remains concentrated is all but dead. AA adding JFK-FLL is as crazy and destructive as B6 adding JFK-MIA. The airlines are getting desperate (not all, as you don’t quite see this type of nonsense from the likes of DL) and starting to repeat the same mistakes of the 1980s and 1990s were fare wars became the norm. The consumer wins in the short run but not in the long run. As for who in their right mind would pick AA over B6 for a transcon between FLL and LAX? Well, it comes down to those with and those without status. As a PE on AA, I suppose I’ll fly them (I’m not a big fan of B6 and the chronic delays experienced on all my pre-COVID19 travels with them and the inconsistent cabin product, with most flights on A320s out of JFK on the dated vintage 2000 product and not the refreshed interiors). In the end, it is ludicrous for AA and B6 to engage in tit for tat route expansions that will likely not work for either. The AS/AA partnership is fast developing into something that is rendering the AA/B6 one questionable at best. AA could use some help in NYC that’s true, but outside of that and perhaps BOS, B6 really doesn’t do anything for AA.

  4. Yo whoever said spirit and jetblue are practically the same in main cabin, you are put of you mind, or must be just hating as a hobby.
    Spriirt charges you for a carry on on every leg, they don’t have entertainment, nor device charging ports.
    Yes, I know people don’t like change, and hate on aa because of the lack of screens, but thats were the future is. Just like iPhone and Samsung removing the headset cord outlet from phones and tablets. You are now forced to use wireless. Move on people.
    I think their strategy is to cause loses to the other airline in those routes with ultra low tickets. They can afford it,

  5. As I noted on a related post, eventually this pissing in each other’s backyard with fray the partnership between AA and B6. See Delta and Alaska @ SEA. Partners no more.

  6. AA will fill planes to the brim with FLL but never make a profit. AA has tried JFK/FLL (after pulling LGA) and it never stuck. Ditto to LAX/FLL. This is as much about generating cash as to do with JetBlue.

  7. Lucky, how about ranking the airlines on the route based on seat comfort (separately for Y and J). Seems like A321 by AA would come near the bottom, but not sure.

    The best thing about AA going to FLL is that the B6 fares mint fares got pretty high, maybe some competition will help. But if I’m flying AA to southern Florida, it’s crazy for someone with status not to take the 772 to MIA rather than the A321 to FLL unless PE cabin on the 772 is full.

  8. Given that B6 is also adding flights into EWR and UA’s top markets and in RDU, DL’s focus city, I am not sure that I would declare B6 as the winner of this.
    B6 will be fighting multiple battles in multiple cities against multiple airlines on top of trying to defend its own network from every other airline.

    B6 might have bit off a lot more than it can chew.

  9. I fly NK (Spirit) every week. I pay for my big seat upfront. Am I the only one loving my confirmed Big Seat and saving money.

  10. AA would have all the business they want if they would quit having cramped planes. People fighting for an extra inch of space!
    One to two hour flight…maybe ok? Anything more than two hours…..people need space!
    Cheers to Delta for continuing social distancing…it’s not about Covid, dummie. We can protect ourselves. It’s Delta and Jet Blue letting people relax and be comfortable on a long flight.

  11. Everyone is adding Florida flights because things are wide open. Folks flocking to Miami because no one cares about COVID here anymore. Bars, restaurants, clubs packed every weekend.

  12. It’s not fair to say that FLLLALX “never worked” for AA. AA operated the route for nearly two decades from the 1990s to the late aughts, at one point as many as four daily 757s by 2006.

  13. Yes AA did FLL to until B6 came along. Ditto TPA, MCO and PBI. All four routes have been tried on and off from LGA and JFK and at one point abandoned. The NE to FLL is sure to fill a plane if the fares are right. I think this is just as much if not more about cash flow than some move against B6. AA needs cash and will worry about the profits later.

  14. AA is going to fly the 737 MAX which is going to turn off many people who otherwise might consider AA if the flight is offered at a a lower fare while Blue flies Airbus aircraft which has a confidence factor.

  15. This is insane.
    The American taxpayers are funding $15bil in payroll support for the airlines and they are cat-fighting each other like spoiled children with over capacity.

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