Airlines have been struggling lately to keep up with demand. Cancellations and lost luggage have been rampant, and people who traveled by plane have had a miserable time this summer. Hopefully, things settle down in time for the next ski season, and there is some promising news for skiers and snowboards from two North American airlines: JetBlue and Southwest.
After Frontier Airlines tried to buy Spirit Airlines earlier this year, JetBlue shockingly outbid Frontier for the ultimate low-cost carrier. It should be noted however that this will need to get regulatory approval, which may not happen until late 2023 or early 2024 if it even happens at all.
JetBlue is planning to retrofit the Spirit planes and make the business all under the JetBlue name. While I’m hopeful that these flights do get renovated, JetBlue is slow to make changes. I’m a relatively frequent JetBlue flyer, and one thing I remember is how they were planning on renovating all their planes back in 2016. Most of my experiences since have been with the older planes, the main flaw is a tiny TV screen from 2003. According to a 2020 report, only half of these planes have been renovated so far, with many more on the docket with the acquisition of Spirit Airlines. They did recently say they retrofitted 100 planes, so I guess they’re making progress. Once all the planes and renovated and retrofitted, it’s going to have a large network and be a low-cost competitor to “the big four.”
The pros to the acquisition though are more leg space, free wi-fi, comfortable seats, fewer fees, and access to more cities. Some of JetBlue’s major hubs are located at Boston Logan International Airport, JFK International Airport outside New York City, and the infamous LAX in California, which means more flights to ski destinations for people that live around these cities.
Perhaps the more exciting news comes from Southwest Airlines. Previously, if you cancel a flight with Southwest Airlines, they would refund you with flight credit, which would expire on a specific date. On Thursday, they announced that guests’ flight credits will never expire. This is great news for skiers, as cancellations from winter weather and other factors are common. Last year, I had some leftover flight credits that expired in the fall, which sucked because I wanted to use that upcoming ski season.
Additionally, Southwest is adding multiple flights this winter to ski destinations. Some of these include Austin to Montrose(CO), Nashville to Steamboat Springs, and San Diego to Colorado Springs. With Southwest allowing two free bags, including skis and snowboards, it’s arguably the best airline for shredders.