The United States is home to some of the largest airlines on the planet. So, it goes without saying, that the US also offers some of the world’s most extensive networks, connecting travelers to a plethora of destinations around the globe. But, which US airlines have the biggest route networks?
In terms of network size, American Airlines trumps all other US and international airlines. It offers its passengers flights to some 364 destinations around the world. In its route network are 126 international destinations. That makes up about 34.6% of its entire operation and covers 64 countries.
What capacity it doesn’t use for international flights is uses on domestic services where the carrier is most active. 238 of its destinations are in the US. However, it could not manage such an extensive network as a single airline—the regional branch of the carrier American Eagle services destinations with its seven partner airlines.
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Despite all that it has achieved, American wants to grow even more. It had planned to operate new routes from this summer, which have now been delayed until 2021. Those services included the following:
- Philadelphia to Casablanca;
- Chicago to Krakow; and
- Seattle to Bangalore.
United Airlines offers the second most extensive route network in the United States. However, it beats American on countries served. According to Canada.com, the airline operates in 65 countries across the globe.
Its very first route was a regional flight taken almost 100 years ago. On April 6th, 1926, United Airlines flew between Pasco in Washington and Boise in Idaho. Since then, it has rapidly expanded its network to reach six continents.
Like American Airlines, an overwhelming majority of United’s flights are to domestic locations. It has routes to 235 American cities, which makes up 64.9% of its entire route network.
The remainder are international flights and, again, the carrier is looking to expand. In June this year, it planned to begin a new route between San Francisco International Airport and Dublin Airport.
Delta Air Lines
Rounding off the “big three,” Delta Air Lines is the US airlines with the third-largest route network. Naturally. It serves 326 destinations, including 99 international routes in 57 countries. 69.6% of its route network is domestic.
Delta’s journey started back in 1929 when it flew its first flight. Back then, it made the venture between Dallas, Texas and Jackson, Mississippi. Fast forward to the present day, and it’s adding ever more transatlantic flights to its network. It recently announced that it would be adding a service between Boston, Massachusetts, and Rome, Italy.
Alaska Airlines serves over 100 destinations on mainly domestic routes. The airline says that it operates around 1,200 daily flights across the US as well as to Mexico, Canada, and Costa Rica. In total, it offers 115 routes.
However, its ambition does not stop there. The airline announced just last month that it would be adding even more destinations to its map. 12 new destinations will commence in 2020 from Los Angeles International Airport to states, including Florida and Hawaii.
Frontier Airlines is the US ultra-low-cost airline based in Denver, Colorado. It currently offers destinations around the Americas with intentions to grow within those markets. At present, it serves some 112 destinations in the United States as well as in:
- Dominican Republic;
- El Salvador;
- Guatemala; and
Its dream is admirable. In 2018, the airline had the vision to be able to service 90% of the US population within an hour drive. It wanted to be accessible to the vast majority of Americans by offering services at their local airports.
This is a vision that continues today. In December 2019, the airline announced that it would be adding a further 25 routes in 2020. These direct services were to operate from five United States airport and included the following international routes:
- Miami International Airport to El Salvador International Airport;
- Newark Liberty International Airport to Cancun International Airport in Mexico; and
- Ontario International Airport to La Aurora International Airport in Guatemala.
Having operated its first-ever flight just 20 years ago, JetBlue has brought itself up to speed with an offering of over 100 flights. The airline provides routes in the United States, the Caribbean, Central, and South America.
Its first flight was a regional flight between John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York to Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport in Florida on February 11th, 2000.
In June this year, it announced that it wanted to add even more domestic routes to its network. Soon, passengers with JetBlue will be fortunate enough to enjoy 30 new domestic routes. According to a recent press release, JetBlue shared that,
“…the airline will launch new routes where there are small signs of recovery in leisure and visiting friends and relatives (VFR) travel. Adding more destinations in these key markets will help make JetBlue more relevant to more travelers and drive loyalty. Outside of JetBlue focus cities, the airline is launching several new point-to-point routes that play to JetBlue’s strength in Florida…”
Similarly, Southwest Airlines offers 103 routes across the United States, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central America. Some of its most popular current destinations are between:
- Atlanta (ATL) and Chicago (MDW);
- Dallas (DAL) and Los Angeles (LAX); and
- Fort Lauderdale (FLL) and Chicago (MDW).
In May this year, it also announced that it planned to increase its route network. When it released its winter schedule, covering October 31st, 2020 to January 4th, 2021, 11 new services were added. The new routes run from six US cities:
- Long Beach;
- Orange County;
- Ontario; and
Which airlines offer your favorite route? Will you be trialing out any of the airlines’ new destinations? Have your say in the comments.