by Michael Lowrey
American Airlines updated its summer schedule over the weekend. There’s one notable addition and one notable subtraction from its Charlotte hub. The step forward is a summer seasonal flight to San Jose, California (SJC). The flight is on an Airbus A319 and leaves Charlotte at 6:10pm and arrives in San Jose at 8:40pm. The return is a red-eye, leaving SJC at 10:45pm and arriving at CLT at 6:40am. Service runs from June 2 to August 15.
This is the first time there’s been a flight from Charlotte to that San Jose. And I say “that” San Jose as American already offers flights from Charlotte to the “other” San Jose, the one in Costa Rica. Oddly though, there has been service from North Carolina to San Jose, CA before, as Midway flew from RDU to SJC back in the day. American also once announced that it would start RDU-SJC but never followed through on that.
The bad news is that summer-seasonal service from Charlotte to Albuquerque, NM (ABQ) apparently won’t be returning this year. It’s fair to say that San Jose is replacing Albuquerque as the dates of service, flight times, and aircraft being used to SJC are basically the same as what was used to ABQ last summer. The main difference is that Albuquerque is closer, so the flight duration was a bit less. That wasn’t necessarily an advantage though, as the flight back from New Mexico left at a more obnoxious time (12:40am) to get to the Queen City at about dawn.
Hoping that CLT-SJC ends up going daily year-round? Don’t hold your breath. US Airways started summer seasonal flights from Charlotte to Portland, OR in 2007 and to Sacramento in 2008. Both are larger markets than San Jose. Neither flight is yet daily year-round. The season for Sacramento has slowly been extended over time to where the flight now operates at some level about eight months of the year. Portland service went year-round two years ago, but it doesn’t operate every day during winter.
Other airline routes that aren’t doing well in general: Canada, on US airlines — lots of cuts — and Europe, with the start dates on many summer-seasonal routes being pushed back a couple of weeks.