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Delta and United each drop US cities in latest route-map adjustment

The Points Guy logo The Points Guy 9/28/2021 Zach Griff
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Airlines continue to redraw their route maps due to the pandemic.

The latest casualty is two small cities — Durango, Colorado, and Rochester, Minnesota — that are losing a chunk of their air service.

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Delta cuts Durango

Delta will end flights to Durango, Colorado (DRO), on Nov. 1. Currently, the airline’s Delta Connection regional affiliate SkyWest Airlines operates an (up to) twice-daily route there from its Salt Lake City (SLC) hub.

Interestingly, Delta’s cut comes six months since re-adding this Colorado city to its route map for the first time since 2008. When announcing the route in March, the airline had planned to fly a CRJ-200 to Durango through the end of the schedule in 2022.

In a statement, a carrier spokesperson blames the cut on lack of demand:

SkyWest expects to discontinue Delta Connection service between Durango La-Plata County Airport and Salt Lake City International Airport on Nov. 1. We appreciate the support we have seen from the community; however, there is not enough sustainable demand to continue offering these flights. We apologize to customers for the inconvenience and those who have booked travel through Durango beyond Nov. 1 will be contacted to make alternative arrangements.

Delta’s cut leaves Durango served by American Airlines from Dallas/Fort Worth and Phoenix, Frontier from Denver and Las Vegas and United from Denver.

United cuts Rochester

You won’t see the United Airlines livery in Rochester, Minnesota, any longer.

The carrier’s United Express service from Denver (DEN) to Rochester (RST) will end on Oct. 30, leaving the Minnesota city known for its proximity to the Mayo Clinic unserved by the Chicago-based carrier.

At its peak, United flew two routes to RST, one from Chicago (ORD) and another from Denver (DEN). The airline’s Chicago service was already phased out on Sept. 1, and now the Denver service is getting axed too.

Interestingly, United’s Denver to Rochester route is new; it first took off in October 2020, and now the year-long experiment is coming to an end.

According to a SkyWest spokesperson, neither route had appreciable long-term demand. In a statement, the spokesperson shared:

United Express service, operated by SkyWest Airlines from Rochester International Airport to Denver International Airport will be discontinued on Oct. 30 due to a lack of sustainable long-term demand. Customers who may have booked a flight beyond Oct. 30 will be contacted to make alternate arrangements.

Rochester will continue to be served by American Airlines from Chicago, Delta from Atlanta and Minneapolis-St. Paul and Sun Country from Fort Myers.

Throughout the pandemic, we’ve seen airlines experiment with new routes. Some have been successful, including United’s new Newark to Maui nonstop, while others have ended early.

Perhaps the hardest hit have been small cities without enough demand to warrant jet service. For example, late last year, American Airlines suspended service to several smaller cities. Flights resumed at some of those airports, only to be cut again in places like Williamsport, Pennsylvania (IPT) — which now appears it will lose airline service altogether as of Oct. 1.

This summer, United announced that it won’t follow through with plans to commence operations from Santa Maria, California.

Featured photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy

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