Well, it was just a matter of time. When the Department of Homeland Security enacted its electronic ban at the end of last month, there was speculation that airlines most affected by the ban would see their bookings drop off a cliff as passengers booked their travel on airlines that let them use electronic devices while in flight. Yesterday, we got a glimpse of what is likely to happen to the carriers impacted by this ban.
The first carrier to announce a reduction in US-Middle East travel is Emirates, which will cut frequencies on five routes. Per the Wall Street Journal and MarketWatch:
“Over the past three months, we have seen a significant deterioration in the booking profiles on all our U.S. routes, across travel segments,” the airline said. “Emirates has therefore responded as any profit-oriented enterprise would and we will redeploy capacity to serve demand on other routes on our global network.”
This is even after Emirates started a loaner tablet program — hoping to mitigate the impact of ban — which goes to show you people don’t want to borrow, they want to use their own devices!
Currently, Emirates is cutting frequencies on the following routes:
- Dubai – Boston: two daily service reduced to one daily
- Dubai – Ft. Lauderdale: one daily service reduced to five weekly (no Monday and Wednesday US departures)
- Dubai – Los Angeles: two daily service reduced to one daily
- Dubai – Orlando: one daily service reduced to five weekly (no Monday and Wednesday US departures)
- Dubai – Seattle: two daily service reduced to one daily
These cuts will happen in May (Ft. Lauderdale and Orlando), June (Boston and Seattle), and July (Los Angeles). Expect to be re-accommodated (no, not THAT way!) on another Emirates flight. While 25 weekly frequencies doesn’t sound like a lot, it represents a roughly 19% decrease in weekly flights on Emirates from Dubai to the US.*
Other routes, like those to New York City and Newark (via Athens) were not part of this round of cuts, and Emirates is hopeful that these cuts will be reversed in the near term. It’ll be interesting to see if Etihad, Qatar, and Royal Jordanian follow suit.
*this was some back-of-the-napkin math, if I’m off by a wide margin, let me know!
Header image courtesy of Adrian Pingstone via Wikimedia Commons.