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American Eagle/Puerto Rico

 
gonetropo
(@gonetropo)
Advanced Member

I guess I may have missed something and did not find any discussions about it on the forum.

Does anyone know what is going on with American Eagle? We were looking for some options back to the U.S. in April/May and AE is no longer servicing STX from PR beginning on April 1. The American Airlines morning flight is also being cut back to a few times a week instead of the daily flight we had last year.

Well, after posting this I did some research and found that American Eagle is totally closing it's Puerto Rico hub on March 31.
No service anywhere in the Caribbean. They have released 500 employees and only 150 remain until the final closing.

Is there any good news anywhere?

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Topic starter Posted : November 19, 2012 12:35 pm
N737AA
(@N737AA)
Active Member

While it is true that AE is ceasing service from SJU to STX and STT they are not completely shutting down SJU (Yet). They will still service any existing destination that is not capable of handling a 737 i.e. EIS/DOM and FDF (for now even though FDF can handle a 737). I expect that once a codeshare is in place for these destinations they will go away also. SJU served it purpose before the MIA expansion, those days are behind us now.

STX will still have 1x daily service Sun-Fri and 2x Sat service. Since the Miami hub is basically complete all traffic is being shifted there. If the demand is not there, then even these flights could be elimintated and from looking at the flights often, I can tell you that the demand to STX is not what it once was. Maybe it has to do with the closure of the refinery not sure but there are lots of open seats most days and any route that is not making money will be cut. Its just the way things are at AA right now, no one dislikes it more than I, trust me.

N737AA

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Posted : November 19, 2012 1:13 pm
stxem
(@stx-em)
Trusted Member

The last few STX-MIA flights I've taken ( in June, July, Sept, Nov) have been packed.

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Posted : November 19, 2012 9:04 pm
Ronnie
(@ronnie)
Trusted Member

I understand Jet Blue is taking the routes that AA had. I believe what was said before was that JB may not be able to land at some of the airports that AA did because of size? AA will stay until that is covered? Is that what you are saying N737AA?

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Posted : November 20, 2012 12:22 pm
Ca. Dreamers
(@ca-dreamers)
Advanced Member

The last few STX-MIA flights I've taken ( in June, July, Sept, Nov) have been packed.

Ditto.

February - Packed, April - Packed, August - Packed and October - Packed.

For the life of me I can't see all these cut backs.

Seems like every domestic flight is packed to the rafters and most flights to warm weather climates in the winter are also.

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Posted : November 20, 2012 12:30 pm
Iris Tramm
(@Iris_Tramm)
Trusted Member

The AA MIA flights are great if all you want to do is get to Florida. The problem arises when you want/need to travel further north. The cutbacks to one or two flights a day to MIA (as opposed to the numerous ones AA ran to SJU from where you could catch a plane just about anywhere anywhere) means that those of us who need to travel further north end up getting stuck overnight in MIA and cannot get to our destination in a single day, particularly with the recent copious delays.

The one MIA flight that left STX last Friday arrived SIX HOURS LATE. Anyone who had a connection in MIA was screwed.

HEADACHE.

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Posted : November 20, 2012 1:11 pm
N737AA
(@N737AA)
Active Member

The last few STX-MIA flights I've taken ( in June, July, Sept, Nov) have been packed.

Ditto.
February - Packed, April - Packed, August - Packed and October - Packed.
For the life of me I can't see all these cut backs.
Seems like every domestic flight is packed to the rafters and most flights to warm weather climates in the winter are also.

There were many flights that were full or very full. I have looked at the history and just about every flight had unsold seats. Some with only a couple and some with many, very few with none. One thing to keep in mind is that when onboard an aircraft it is difficult to see 10 empty seats on an aircraft with 144 (coach seats, AA737). A flight will appear full even when there are 20 empty seats. A 737 doesn't begin to look like its "not full" until there are approximately 30 or More open seats (in coach). For perspective, the AA 737 144 coach seats in 22 rows of6 seats (rows 7-28), so if there are 10 open seats that means every other row has an empty seat. If there are 20 open seats then "almost" every row has one open seat. That is difficult to actually see when onboard. Its not until you see it on a graphic (like I can in the company computers) that you see the "real picture". Another thing you may not know is that not every seat is sold to a revenue customer. Many of the unsold/unfilled seats get filled by airline employees and their family's (like me, we call it non-reving) which then make it look like the flight is completely full and I am sure that this is what you are seeing because the Caribbean in general is a hot spot for non-revs (like me). So you can see how that might skew what your seeing.

The margins are very thin these days (thanks to fuel prices). It takes an incredibly high load factor for a flight to actually produce a profit (around 80%). Obviously a single flight doesn't tell the whole story either when determining the profitability of a route. When STX had 2x daily service neither flight was fetching load factors in that range. Occasionally, one of the two flights would be full or near full but the second flight was rarely fetching a high enough load factor to produce a profit. When you look at the sum of the flights over a given time period it is even worse. One or two full flights over the course of a week does not in itself make the route profitable.

The days of flying unprofitable flights/routes are over. Back in the heyday (pre 9/11) AA (and all the other airlines) flew many unprofitable flights/routes to retain market share. This was possible because some routes were very very profitable and those profits were spread across the system. As long as the system was profitable market share was the metric of choice. Now that the margins are so thin every route is fighting to be profitable. Gone are those routes that carried the load for the rest of the system. So every flight/route must pull its load so to speak. Those that don't get reduced or eliminated. So in STX's case, 1x daily might run a 90% load factor making it profitable, but adding a second flight might lower the load factor to say 70% on both flights making the ROUTE unprofitable. So it is adjusted to make it profitable meaning the second flight will only operate when it is profitable to do so, hence 2x on Saturday.

I understand the argument about MIA and connections. It is virtually impossible for me to make it from the Caribbean to Tulsa in a single day. Most trips originate MIA around 10 or 11am which puts them in their destination between1-2pm then they turn an hour or so later say 2-3pm back to MIA which puts the arrival in MIA around 5-6pm. If your going east of the Mississippi river you have a pretty good chance of making a connection. If your going west of there then chances are much smaller. Hopefully after the bankruptcy is completed and AA's costs are reduced we will see the overnight aircraft from MIA with a morning departure to MIA in places like STX.

I understand Jet Blue is taking the routes that AA had. I believe what was said before was that JB may not be able to land at some of the airports that AA did because of size? AA will stay until that is covered? Is that what you are saying N737AA?

Yes Ronnie Jet Blue has indeed been expanding their network into area's that AA has reduced/eliminated service in the Caribbean. I can see them operating SJU-STX in the future. But they won't be able to operate to places like EIS (Beef Island, BVI) because their aircraft are to large for the runway. They codeshare with Cape Air. I expect Cape Air to move into these markets excursively through a codeshare with AA/B6 (Jet Blue) although Seaborne might be able to capture some traffic now that they have the Saab 340 turbo props onboard. Keep in mind that even B6 operates with smaller jets from SJU. B6 SJU-STT service is with E190 aircraft which only seat 92.

I'm hoping for AA to recapture the Caribbean after operating costs are lowered by the bankruptcy. Forcasts project AA's cost to be near the bottom of the industry post-bankruptcy.

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Posted : November 20, 2012 2:34 pm
stiphy
(@stiphy)
Trusted Member

N737AA, Thanks for your perspective. Do you happen to work for an airline (AA maybe)?

What would be a killer is if JetBlue added direct flights to their JFK "hub" from the Caribbean. That would be a game changer for a lot of people heading to the Northeast.

FWIW, I am a longtime AA flier but had to go Jetblue for Christmas as they were quite a bit cheaper (about $150 per ticket) with better connecting times. I am now traveling with 4 (2 kids) so business class or upgrades aren't a factor in my decision. We'll see how it goes, first time on Jetblue after spending some years doing 100,000 miles plus on AA per year.

Sean

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Posted : November 20, 2012 2:45 pm
Alexandra
(@Alexandra)
Trusted Member

At this point, AirTran is flying between Ft. Lauderdale and San Juan. This service will be replaced by Southwest Airlines on April 14th. Perhaps Southwest will extend service into the outer islands as time goes on.

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Posted : November 20, 2012 2:58 pm
Iris Tramm
(@Iris_Tramm)
Trusted Member

I understand the argument about MIA and connections. It is virtually impossible for me to make it from the Caribbean to Tulsa in a single day. Most trips originate MIA around 10 or 11am which puts them in their destination between1-2pm then they turn an hour or so later say 2-3pm back to MIA which puts the arrival in MIA around 5-6pm. If your going east of the Mississippi river you have a pretty good chance of making a connection.

Even East of the Mississippi (Chicago, Milwaukee, anywhere in New England) it's difficult if not impossible, particularly if there are delays, to get there in one day. Really, at this point, if you're flying AA through MIA and you want to get anywhere north of the Mason Dixon line you're likely to be SOL.

I HATED those crappy little t-props that AA used between STX and SJU, but at least they flew enough routes that you could get to the States in a day.

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Posted : November 20, 2012 3:45 pm
N737AA
(@N737AA)
Active Member

N737AA, Thanks for your perspective. Do you happen to work for an airline (AA maybe)?

Yes AA. Please be gentle.

What would be a killer is if JetBlue added direct flights to their JFK "hub" from the Caribbean. That would be a game changer for a lot of people heading to the Northeast.

Its possible but once again, not sure if STX has the demand since NYC is all O&D traffic, very little connection opportunities due to stage length from JFK-STX-JFK. They currently do JFK-STT-JFK so again if the demand is there they could add it once they see where everyone is trying to go on the current STX-SJU service.

FWIW, I am a longtime AA flier but had to go Jetblue for Christmas as they were quite a bit cheaper (about $150 per ticket) with better connecting times. I am now traveling with 4 (2 kids) so business class or upgrades aren't a factor in my decision. We'll see how it goes, first time on Jetblue after spending some years doing 100,000 miles plus on AA per year.

Sean

Well price is king, maybe after the bankruptcy is completed you will see more favorable fares as our cost structure will be much lower and will increase our competitive position.

I understand the argument about MIA and connections. It is virtually impossible for me to make it from the Caribbean to Tulsa in a single day. Most trips originate MIA around 10 or 11am which puts them in their destination between1-2pm then they turn an hour or so later say 2-3pm back to MIA which puts the arrival in MIA around 5-6pm. If your going east of the Mississippi river you have a pretty good chance of making a connection.

Even East of the Mississippi (Chicago, Milwaukee, anywhere in New England) it's difficult if not impossible, particularly if there are delays, to get there in one day. Really, at this point, if you're flying AA through MIA and you want to get anywhere north of the Mason Dixon line you're likely to be SOL.

I HATED those crappy little t-props that AA used between STX and SJU, but at least they flew enough routes that you could get to the States in a day.

Over the last year since the opening of the new terminal in MIA, AA has been adding cities enabling customers to connect to more cities than ever before. Currently you if you take the afternoon flight departing STX at 3:35 arriving MIA at 5:40 you can connect via MIA to ATL, BDL, BNA, BOS, BWI, CLE, CLT, CVG, DCA, DEN, DFW, DTW, EWR, GSO, IAH, IND, JFK, LAS, LAX, LGA, MSP, MSY, ORD, PIT, PHL, PHX, RIC, RDU, SFO, and STL. Its the smaller cities like MKE, MCI, TUL, SAT, DBQ etc that are more difficult to reach.

The good news is that as of the last schedule change AA offers a morning departure STX-MIA 3x weekly (Sun, Tue, Fri) that arrives MIA at 11:05AM which will connect to virtually any destination in the network. This seems to be a permanent schedule as I went out as far as the schedule is loaded in the computer and it was not dropped at the end of the high season. There are 10x the connections via MIA than there ever was via SJU.

The ATR42/72 used by American Eagle between STX-SJU is a very reliable and durable airplane. Turbo props like the ATR (American Eagle), De Havilland Dash 8 (LIAT), and Saab 340B (Seaborne), and maybe even twin engine non-turbo props such as the 9 passenger C402's (Cape Air) are really the only option for that type of flying ). I doubt that even JetBlue can make a jet work for that short of a stage length and eventually they will codeshare anything beyond SJU. I guess time will tell.

At this point, AirTran is flying between Ft. Lauderdale and San Juan. This service will be replaced by Southwest Airlines on April 14th. Perhaps Southwest will extend service into the outer islands as time goes on.

SJU is about as far as you will see them go for now. They are focusing their assets on folding the AirTran operation into the Southwest operation. They are not looking to expand the Caribbean network beyond what AirTran already has. Outside the AirTran routes, Hawaii is where they are focusing additions to the route network. But that's a whole nother discussion in itself. I would count on Spirit before Southwest.

N737AA

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Posted : November 20, 2012 9:16 pm
divinggirl
(@divinggirl)
Trusted Member

A few weeks ago a Southwest Airliner flew to STX from PR. They were looking into adding it as a route. Have not heard any more but didn't expect to until after they have started the PR route.

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Posted : November 20, 2012 10:27 pm
Ca. Dreamers
(@ca-dreamers)
Advanced Member

Next question for N737AA.

But first, thanks for your educated input here.

Now the question:

I really don't understand the concept of routing flights and passengers to ports that are not directly related to the trip they are taking. Example: From the west coast, they want to take you northeast then south. These seem to be the cheapest itineraries but would appear to the neophyte, like me, to cost the airlines more to do this type of routing than a more direct route to ones final destination. Just to have full planes? Or Why?

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Posted : November 21, 2012 11:29 am
Iris Tramm
(@Iris_Tramm)
Trusted Member

Over the last year since the opening of the new terminal in MIA, AA has been adding cities enabling customers to connect to more cities than ever before. Currently you if you take the afternoon flight departing STX at 3:35 arriving MIA at 5:40 you can connect via MIA to ATL, BDL, BNA, BOS, BWI, CLE, CLT, CVG, DCA, DEN, DFW, DTW, EWR, GSO, IAH, IND, JFK, LAS, LAX, LGA, MSP, MSY, ORD, PIT, PHL, PHX, RIC, RDU, SFO, and STL. Its the smaller cities like MKE, MCI, TUL, SAT, DBQ etc that are more difficult to reach.

The good news is that as of the last schedule change AA offers a morning departure STX-MIA 3x weekly (Sun, Tue, Fri) that arrives MIA at 11:05AM which will connect to virtually any destination in the network. This seems to be a permanent schedule as I went out as far as the schedule is loaded in the computer and it was not dropped at the end of the high season. There are 10x the connections via MIA than there ever was via SJU.

That'd be REALLY nice if they're REALLY bringing the AM MIA flight back. The PM flight, despite what you say, works for northern connections ONLY if there's no delays, which seems to almost never happen.

I haven't flown an AA flight to or from STX from the States in YEARS where there wasn't suck cockup that resulted in a delay which mandated overnighting somewhere I didn't want to be or running like a crazyperson through an airport.

God, I miss those Delta Wednesdays and Saturdays to ATL.

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Posted : November 21, 2012 1:20 pm
Darrin
(@Darrin)
Advanced Member

The Southwest plane that came to STX was just doing a practice run to ensure that if they ever had to divert from SJU, they could land on STX. I would not expect them to add STX anytime soon.

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Posted : November 21, 2012 2:13 pm
stiphy
(@stiphy)
Trusted Member

N737AA, Thanks for your perspective. Do you happen to work for an airline (AA maybe)?

Yes AA. Please be gentle.

LOL, with one or two exceptions that occurred a while back I have had pretty good luck flying AA and appreciate the service they provide, it's not like we have a ton of other people looking to come in here to provide it!

Thanks for the insight, I used to post on Flyertalk a lot where people would play armchair airline CEO all the time, it's always good to have someone who works for an airline pipe in with some real knowledge and data as to what is going on.

Sean

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Posted : November 21, 2012 3:19 pm
jostvandog
(@jostvandog)
Advanced Member

Sadly DL is gone for good and will not be coming back.

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Posted : November 22, 2012 2:56 pm
N737AA
(@N737AA)
Active Member

A few weeks ago a Southwest Airliner flew to STX from PR. They were looking into adding it as a route. Have not heard any more but didn't expect to until after they have started the PR route.

The Southwest plane that came to STX was just doing a practice run to ensure that if they ever had to divert from SJU, they could land on STX. I would not expect them to add STX anytime soon.

Darrin is correct, they were doing what is called a proving run to each of the alternates for San Juan which are STT and STX. This is required by the FAA before they will allow you to start service to an airport you have never operated at before. If they serve STT or STX it would probably be from FLL or MCO as the 737 engines require a long cooling period following a take-off, which takes place during flight or during a long ground time before the next start. This cooling period is longer than the typical turn around times which would errode the utilization of the aircraft. That was one of the reasons Aloha had problems competing with Hawaiian after they bought the new 737s, they didn't allow the engines to cool long enough and it tore the engines up and their engine maintenance costs skyrocketed. Southwest is currently doing proving runs to Hawaii but won't be offering inter-island service much to the dismay of many.

Over the last year since the opening of the new terminal in MIA, AA has been adding cities enabling customers to connect to more cities than ever before. Currently you if you take the afternoon flight departing STX at 3:35 arriving MIA at 5:40 you can connect via MIA to ATL, BDL, BNA, BOS, BWI, CLE, CLT, CVG, DCA, DEN, DFW, DTW, EWR, GSO, IAH, IND, JFK, LAS, LAX, LGA, MSP, MSY, ORD, PIT, PHL, PHX, RIC, RDU, SFO, and STL. Its the smaller cities like MKE, MCI, TUL, SAT, DBQ etc that are more difficult to reach.
The good news is that as of the last schedule change AA offers a morning departure STX-MIA 3x weekly (Sun, Tue, Fri) that arrives MIA at 11:05AM which will connect to virtually any destination in the network. This seems to be a permanent schedule as I went out as far as the schedule is loaded in the computer and it was not dropped at the end of the high season. There are 10x the connections via MIA than there ever was via SJU.

That'd be REALLY nice if they're REALLY bringing the AM MIA flight back. The PM flight, despite what you say, works for northern connections ONLY if there's no delays, which seems to almost never happen.
I haven't flown an AA flight to or from STX from the States in YEARS where there wasn't suck cockup that resulted in a delay which mandated overnighting somewhere I didn't want to be or running like a crazyperson through an airport.

God, I miss those Delta Wednesdays and Saturdays to ATL.

The AM flight currently operates on the days I mentioned. The PM flight lands MIA at 5:40pm and the last bank of flights depart MIA between 8-9pm. There are a few cities that depart before that but only a couple. By and large you can make any of the cities I mention on a typical day, even with most delays as most delays are under 1hr.

Next question for N737AA.

But first, thanks for your educated input here.

Now the question:

I really don't understand the concept of routing flights and passengers to ports that are not directly related to the trip they are taking. Example: From the west coast, they want to take you northeast then south. These seem to be the cheapest itineraries but would appear to the neophyte, like me, to cost the airlines more to do this type of routing than a more direct route to ones final destination. Just to have full planes? Or Why?

Obviously all flights (for the most part) flow over an airlines hub. Sometimes these hubs are not in the same direction as the final destination and sometimes are backtrack routes. I don't really know why flight queries are displayed like this, but I too have noticed it is more common to see the most direct routing to be further down in the que and usually at a higher cost. I am sure that the revenue management folks do this specifically to increase the revenue generated. Give you a cheaper flight if you don't mind going abit out of your way and charge you more for a more direct or non-stop routing. I guess it falls under the supply and demand rule. Pricing is a very complicated subject and I have no idea how they figure all that stuff out. I work in operations so don't understand the marketing side.

N737AA, Thanks for your perspective. Do you happen to work for an airline (AA maybe)?

Yes AA. Please be gentle.

LOL, with one or two exceptions that occurred a while back I have had pretty good luck flying AA and appreciate the service they provide, it's not like we have a ton of other people looking to come in here to provide it!

Thanks for the insight, I used to post on Flyertalk a lot where people would play armchair airline CEO all the time, it's always good to have someone who works for an airline pipe in with some real knowledge and data as to what is going on.

Sean

My goal is always to provide insight into what really goes on, but I know that perception is reality, and when we (AA) do a bad job it will be very hard for me to change someone's perception after a bad experience. I have found that most people are quick to share a bad experience in forums like this (and trip advisor, flyertalk etc), but rarely do people share the good stories. I find this to be the rule when it comes to air travel. I don't see to many posts about an airline cutting folks a break because they didn't allow enough time to get to the airport and through security and missed their flight because of it. Technically they could say, well the flight you paid for is gone and you need to buy another ticket for the next flight. But, they normally just put you on the standby list for the next flight. This happens everyday but very rarely do people light up a forum about it.

N737AA

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Posted : November 22, 2012 3:23 pm
Iris Tramm
(@Iris_Tramm)
Trusted Member

The AM flight currently operates on the days I mentioned. The PM flight lands MIA at 5:40pm and the last bank of flights depart MIA between 8-9pm. There are a few cities that depart before that but only a couple. By and large you can make any of the cities I mention on a typical day, even with most delays as most delays are under 1hr.

Not my experience in the slightest. But, as they say, YMMV.

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Posted : November 22, 2012 4:57 pm
AirDan
(@AirDan)
Advanced Member

Keep in mind that you will not be losing the option to connect in SJU from STX, it just won't be on Eagle. Seaborne will be adding service on the Saab 340 beginning in January. Schedules are not nailed down yet but there will be at least the current frequency (4x daily) with double the seats of the current Twin Otter fleet. The first departure will probably stay at 0615 which allows you to make any of the early departures from SJU.

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Posted : November 23, 2012 2:43 am
gonetropo
(@gonetropo)
Advanced Member

Curious, Anyone know if Seaborne will transfer baggage seamlessly to another airline in SJU, like AA?
How about baggage costs? We are Platinum and don't pay for any bags on American which is the benefit for flying AA for us. .

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Topic starter Posted : November 23, 2012 1:38 pm
AirDan
(@AirDan)
Advanced Member

Curious, Anyone know if Seaborne will transfer baggage seamlessly to another airline in SJU, like AA?
How about baggage costs? We are Platinum and don't pay for any bags on American which is the benefit for flying AA for us. .

Seaborne is working on interline baggage transfers in SJU. Not in place quite yet but will be coming. As far as fees I'm not really sure but I know we allow first bag free on all but the cheapest fare categories. I expect this policy will continue on interline tickets as well..

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Posted : November 23, 2012 3:39 pm
N737AA
(@N737AA)
Active Member

Seaborne has a huge opportunity right now IF they can nail down some codeshares with the majors in SJU. The beauty of the 340 is it can get into some of those places the ATR cannot. I know there is a surplus of 340's in the industry.

N737AA

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Posted : November 23, 2012 5:18 pm
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