United, JetBlue and More Airlines Cutting Schedules Over Coronavirus Fears
United Airlines and JetBlue Airways became the first two airlines to cut their US flight schedules on Wednesday over coronavirus fears that have caused a sharp drop in demand.
In a message to employees, United said it would cut international flying by 20% and domestic flights by 10% in April. It also said it would park some of its larger, less fuel efficient wide-body planes. Further cuts could follow in May, the airline said, if demand continued to lag due to the virus that has been spreading around the world. United said last week that near-term demand on trans-Pacific routes had fallen 75% due to the outbreak.
Later Wednesday, JetBlue confirmed that it would take action in response to the coronavirus, including a plan to reduce capacity by just 5% initially. “We are closely monitoring booking trends to assess whether additional capacity reductions will be required,” the airline said in a statement.
Many airlines are also waiving change and cancellation fees for travelers, to entice them to keep on booking without repercussions. We have a full list of airlines that are waving fees here.