With Frontier And Spirit Launching Focus City Operations In Cleveland How Long Will United’s Focus City Operations Last?

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United downgraded Cleveland from a small hub to a large focus city in June.  They went from about 60 destinations to 19.  A big downgrade, but Cleveland is still by far their largest non-hub operation.  They kept service to all 7 other hubs (Chicago, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, Newark, San Francisco, and Washington/IAD.) as well as 12 other cities (Boston, Cancun, Dallas, Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers, Las Vegas, Milwaukee, NYC/LGA, Orlando, S. Louis, Tampa, and Washington/DCA)

I said back in February right after the announcement,

“If Cleveland is lucky perhaps we’ll get Porter flights to Toronto or JetBlue service to Boston and JFK.  And if we’re unlucky perhaps we’ll get Spirit ;)

Spirit announced today that they will make Cleveland a focus city.

It will be phased in next year with daily nonstop service from Cleveland to Dallas, Fort Lauderdale, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, and Orlando. There will also be 3x weekly service to Tampa in the winter, 4x weekly service to Fort Myers in the winter, and daily service to Myrtle Beach in the summer.

Cleveland has become a major focus city for the nation’s ultra-low-cost carriers.

Frontier was the first to dive into Cleveland after United’s departure. They fly nonstop to Atlanta, Cancun, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers, Las Vegas, NYC/LGA, Orlando, Phoenix, Punta Cana, Raleigh/Durham, Seattle, Tampa, Trenton, and Washington/IAD.

Other flight additions after the dehubbing include USAirways service to Phoenix, Southwest service to Las Vegas and Phoenix, Delta service to Hartford, Indianpolis, Raleigh/Durham, as well as expanded Delta service to Atlanta, JFK, and LGA. Southwest has also added service to Washington/DCA and beefed up LGA service from nearby Akron/Canton airport.

I don’t see how United can sustain their focus city operations at Cleveland in light of this massive influx of low-cost carrier flights. Nor do I think the onslaught is over. I still think JetBlue and perhaps others will join the party.

I definitely expect to hear about further cuts to United’s flight operations at Cleveland.  Within a couple years Cleveland will probably just be a large spoke city with service to United’s hubs and very little else.

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9 Comments On "With Frontier And Spirit Launching Focus City Operations In Cleveland How Long Will United’s Focus City Operations Last?"

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I’m sure that’s one of the questions hashem is gonna be asking of you in a few hours. Aimas yom hadin, nice.


Judging your fellow Jew unfavorably for running his business, nice.


@goodquestion: And your question would be why do you have Internet. Go back to your little room and play

Happy Thanksgiving

@goodquestion on DDF we have a special forum for people like you. Lein in hub hanuah


@Dan: Well said! Shana Tova!


@goodquestion: Next time you want to leave a comment on Dans Deals…don’t. Thanks.

Jason Z

Dang, is CLE still a focus city for United? Your prediction about Jetblue came true too and now WOW and Icelandair have announced plans to serve CLE next spring!

Sam Culver

Yeys. We need Alaska now

Sam Culver

Yeys. Now all we need is Alaska. And we’re still waiting on that third transatlantic flight announcement…