The outlook for travel demand continues to be grim as Covid-19 cases spike. Domestically, there will be 29% fewer flights in January than last January as airlines continue to respond to shrinking demand. The reduction in flights means fewer options and longer layovers, in some cases. In Wichita, we will see some decrease in service but overall, a 14% increase in flights. The most significant changes include:
- Alaska Airlines will operate 4 weekly flights instead of daily and move up its departure time
- Allegiant Air will operate 1 weekly flight to Phoenix-Mesa instead of 2
- United Airlines will increase Denver, Houston and Chicago flights
- Frontier has suspended all flights from December – February
On January 8, Alaska will move up its departure time to 8:30 am, arriving in Seattle at 10:30 am. This flight will connect to Alaska’s largest bank of departures where you can connect to 45 cities within a 2-hour layover. The return flight leaves Seattle at 3:35 pm and arrives in Wichita at 8:50 pm. Alaska will operate 4 weekly flights in January.
United Airlines is adding the most capacity in January. Compared to December, United will add 57 more flights to Denver, a 67% increase. United will add 21 more flights to Houston, a 24% increase, and will add 57 more flights to Chicago, a 97% increase.
Frontier Airlines has suspended its Denver flights but plans to return in March, in time for spring break.
Southwest will operate flights to Las Vegas and Phoenix on Saturday only, in addition to daily service to St. Louis and Denver.
Airlines are publishing schedules on short notice to adjust to low passenger volume as well as providing schedules to popular destinations. Travelers are looking for less populated areas, mainly to beaches and national parks areas. Denver is a main hub for popular western destinations which is why airlines are adding capacity in that market. Instead of publishing schedules 6 months out, airline schedules are now only 2 months out at best.