Time To Focus On Florida
Do you remember back in April of 2013, when the CEO of JetBlue Dave Barger announced that they would begin daily service to Orlando (MCO) and Fort Lauderdale (FLL). As happy as we were that JetBlue was going to give Worcester Airport (ORH) a chance, we were actually nervous that maybe we would not be able to support these flights.
Priot to this announcement, we had been challenging airlines to come to Worcester and that there was a market just waiting for a reliable airline, not Direct Air. Now we had Dave Barger telling us that he was going to give us exactly what we had asked for. Actually more then we ever expected!!
Can you believe that was over 5 years ago!! We have done a great job fulfilling Dave Barger belief in ORH, despite the fact:
1) We have had to deal with the Embraer 190 (100 seats). Even JetBlue realizes the unreliability of the Embraer 190 has is replacing it in their fleet.
2) We never were given the Airbus (150 seats), which would lower the ticket prices and increase the reliability.
3) We have late afternoon arrival and departure times. Why were the times not changed to an early morning departure with late night return once CAT III was installed, we will never understand??
If Massport/JetBlue simply changes the times of these two flights to an early morning depature with a late night return utilizing the Airbus, our passenger count would go up 50%!! It is hard to believe that after 5 years of strong support, we do have another Florida destination (Gulf Coast), the Airbus or another Florida destination from from JetBlue.
We did, however, start an early morning JetBue flight (6:00AM-7:00AM) with a late night return (11:00PM- midnight) to their hub at JFK. The morning flight does not do bad between 50% to 60%, but the late night flight is simply too late and often comes in even later. We desperately need a mid-day turn, like every other city in the Northeast that has a flight to the JetBlue hub at JFK.
To this day we still can not believe that this was rolled out initially as an early morning flight from Philadelphia to Worcester with a turn back to Philadelphia. We literally sold not tickets!!
Thankfully, not only did American change this to a early morning departure to Philly with a late night return, but they added a mid-day turn. The problem was their planes can not utilize our CAT III landing system and their pilots were not CAT II certified. As a result, there were alot of cancellations/diversions and loads averaged about 40%.
After a few months after starting service, American dropped the 2nd flight and now only runs the one flight four times per week (Sunday-Monday-Thursday-Sunday), but will fly every day starting mid-July:
* PHL to ORH 2:09PM - 3:19 PM
* ORH to PHL 3:45 PM -- 5:11 PM
We are marketing this as a connecting flight through the American hub in Philadelphia, but you land there at 5:111PM? Loads are about 40% and we do not see how this flight will survive landing in Philadelphia a 5:11PM.
Delta starts service to Detroit in August. Not Atlanta, not Chicago, but Detroit.
* ORH-Detroit 6:00AM -- 8:00AM
* Detroit-ORH 8:00PM -- 10:00PM
But in September it changes to:
* Detroit-ORH 1:45 PM -- 3:45PM
* ORH - Detroit 4:50 PM -- 6:50 PM
These times guarantee no tickets will be sold on this flight... Maybe we think people will fly to Detroit, enjoy a night in Detoit and make their connection in the morning??
The Real Ugly
Remember the Rectrix, under the prior ownership:
* Flights to Cape failed misrably
* Baltimore-Sarasota flight never happened
* Rectrix fleet never moved to ORH
* Rectix maintenane operations never moved to ORH
Southern Airways has started service to Nantucket and will be flying from New Haven, Providence and Norwood. Do you think Rectrix failing miserably may keep Southern, or any other airline, away from ORH with a flight to the Cape/Islands?
It is great say we have three major airlines:
American airlines flight is struggling and Delta may literally have empty flights. Do you think this attracts other airlines to Worcester having half empty and and may empty flights flying out of Worcester. When we asked Andy Davis about the Delta tickets slaes, we received this answer from a Massport spokesperson:
“We are excited for the new Delta flight to Detroit to begin in August, giving our customers 5 daily flights where they can connect to anywhere in the world. Delta has already shown a real commitment to the Worcester community by co-hosting the recent valedictorian event and donating round trip tickets. We are optimistic that this new flight will be successful once it gets started.”
Not sure how many connections one can make landing in Detroit at 6;45 PM. Although we wiss we were excited, we are not very optimistic at all about this flight. We need to have planes that are full like our Florida flights flying out of Worcester to attract more flights and airlines, not empty which Delta surely will be to Detroit landing at 6:4PM.
Here are suggestions:
1) Bring in the Airbus to Fort Lauderdale and Orlando with an early morning departure with late night return.
2) JetBlue add mid-day turn to JFK
3) Convince American and/or Delta to cancel their flights to Philadelphia/Detroit and start direct service to Florida.
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Post your comment
commented on 2019-06-23 19:50:02
OK. I get you. My concern is that when you have a niche service to a place like PR or the DR you could be taking a risk. PR was devastated by a major hurricane that pretty much wiped out the whole island. If we had direct service then it probably would have been ended. With the DR, natural disasters, political unrest and a spike in tourist deaths could cause a service to be nixed. That would be my objection to direct flights. My point is that ORH can't afford to have any new service cancelled. The issues with the load factors on the JFK and PHI flights have probably taken ORH off the radar of the discount carriers. Any new service has to be a slam dunk.
commented on 2019-06-24 00:38:11
If anyone is going to come out of the woodwork to tell us to stop complaining, please provide an argument as to why. We have yet to hear a solid argument as to why our points are unjustified.
commented on 2019-06-23 11:45:51
I’d like to use Worcester to fly to Fort Myers (RSW) but in the current situation it’s a lot cheaper to drive to Logan.... they need bigger planes and competitive pricing.
commented on 2019-06-23 12:20:52
Didn't you guys suggest that a direct flight to the DR would work out well? How many seats you think you would fill now? I've been to the DR six times, but even I'm getting concerned about what's going on there. There are just so many options in the Caribbean and with cruises that are safer and just as enjoyable. The fact that none of these discount carriers have shown an interest in ORH tells me they've made a business decision that their assets could be better used in other markets. Your ideas are good, but they only make sense if Massport and the airlines actually care about their Worcester market. I think there is ample evidence now that JetBlue, AA and Delta were strong-armed by Massport to start service here in order to get favorable treatment at Logan. Based on that, they're only going to do the minimum necessary to keep on Massport's good side. I'm not very optimistic. The fact that the dope Andy Davis is at the helm doesn’t help things either.
commented on 2019-06-23 16:15:48
Common Sense, we have never said a direct flight to DR. We have consistently said 1) Florida and 2) Puerto Rico/Myrtle as great direct leisure flights that would do well here. Recently when Providence announced Sun Country to the DR, we did say that we hoped Sun Country would look at Worcester for flights includiong the DR.
commented on 2019-06-24 04:28:00
I always enjoy your thoughts. If the airport is to survive, it will need flights to other than FLA. I agree the flight times are less than ideal (stupid) but the Metro area has to do better in supporting the current flights or make a concerted effort with their State Reps to get Massport to provide better flight times. . Remember, Massport is a political entity. Change can happen, but it is either with locals using the flights more often (now) or forcing Masssport to make schedule changes.
commented on 2019-06-24 05:45:46
I really wanted the American route to work, but my cancellation rate for flights from Philly back to Worcester has been literally 100% (tried 3 times, have now given up). Philadelphia Airport is where hope goes to die, so although my airline preference is AA and I love the convenience of flying from Worcester, I don't even try anymore, just go straight to Logan. I'm trying JetBlue to JFK next month and glad to have that option, but I'm definitely not doing the midnight return, so have to come back through BOS.
commented on 2019-06-24 05:50:34
Fort Myers would be the next logical Jet Blue destination . But logic is many times overlooked !
commented on 2019-06-24 10:07:58
I remember flying regularly out of ORH in the late 80's and the old tired terminal was broken down and the roof leaked with buckets strewn throughout to capture the rain water, BUT despite the condition of the terminal, the place was packed every morning with travelers. There were 5 or 6 airlines flying to all the major east coast hubs (Philly, Baltimore, Charlotte, NYC, Chicago, Detroit) with early morning flights. It was great, convenient and reasonably priced. It would be nice to see the airport get back to that scene but without early morning outbound flights and competitive fares, it will never happen.
commented on 2019-06-24 16:51:53
firstname.lastname@example.org Since when does Massport dictate to the airlines about when to schedule their flights? JB, AA and Delta probably think Massport should be grateful to them for even offering service out of an airport with so many past failures. As far as putting political pressure on Massport, I guess that you don't know that the Chairman of the Massport Board of Directors is a politician from Worcester.
commented on 2019-06-25 11:12:05
Direct early morning flight to Las Vegas on Jet Blue would be a winner. Logan keeps adding more Las Vegas flights and they are frequently full. Worcester would be a good reliever
commented on 2019-06-23 09:39:29
I agree and disagree. You’re correct on the Detroit flight and the need to change the planes to Florida, but if they put the Philly flight back to what it was, and use a CAT3 plane, that flight will be fine.
commented on 2019-06-23 09:40:38
What about SRQ or PGD? ORH is capable of so much more than what is being offered by JetBlue.
commented on 2019-06-23 10:15:06
I wish they had direct flights to Sarasota Florida from Worcester.