United’s flights to New York’s JFK airport? Beginning on October 25, they will be no more. Nada. Not a one.
Of course, United has been gradually downsizing its JKF operation for years, bulking up at nearby Newark, where it is by far the most dominant airline.
So when United does pull up stakes completely, the only flights remaining to be rerouted—to Newark, naturally—will be its p.s. (for premium service) transcon flights linking New York to Los Angeles and San Francisco.
United has made significant investments in upgrading Terminal C at Newark, with high-end restaurants and a high-tech iPad-based shopping and ordering system.
The plan calls for United to acquire Newark slots from Delta, and for Delta to take over United’s JFK slots, both transfers subject to government approval.
Winners & Losers
The move is a mixed bag for travelers.
On the upside, for United customers flying to or from Europe, consolidating flights at Newark will make for more seamless connections. But for travelers connecting to United’s Star Alliance partners, the move is a decided negative, as most Star carriers still fly into JFK.
The more insidious downside, however, may be the fact of airport consolidation itself, and the extra pricing power that Delta will have at JFK and United will have at Newark. All talk of seamless travel and convenience aside, the bottom line for consumers is almost certain to be higher prices in these markets.
Reader Reality Check
This article originally appeared on FrequentFlier.com.