September is typically the slowest month of the year, where the influx of tourist traveling to Aruba goes down. However this year’s flow of tourists seems to be steady and beating expectation. There are no reports of announced flight cancellations this year.
The major airlines flying to Aruba are American Airlines (from New York and Miami), US Airways (from Charlotte and Philadelphia), JetBlue (from New York), Delta (from Atlanta) and KLM (from Amsterdam).
None of these airlines are giving incentives to fly to Aruba, unlike last year, which leads to the conclusion that the seats are filled according to target. When seats are empty, airlines scramble to fill ’em up by slashing prices. I went around the major airlines’ websites to see what they have to offer to Aruba and couldn’t find any specials or offers for this month.
American Airlines offers the option when booking online to pick a seat, thus the seating charts are accessible. This tool is very useful to get an indication of the occupancy on the flight in question.
I took a screen shot yesterday of the seating charts from today’s morning flight from Miami to Aruba (the one on the left) and, as a comparison, today’s morning flight from Miami to Barbados. I choose Barbados to compare because American Airlines maintains a similar itinerary and aircraft type as to Aruba. Click on the pictures to enlarge. When a seat is marked with an X it’s obviously unavailable. If I counted correctly Aruba has only 4 unsold seats while Barbados has 29 unsold seats.
One other thing I noticed is that American switched the aircraft type from a Boeing 757 to a larger Boeing 767 on their Sunday flight from New York.
The country manager of American Airlines here in Aruba has been crying for months of unfair competition from JetBlue Airways on the New York flights and gave warnings that American might stop flying to Aruba altogether is something isn’t done soon. Obviously this is done to put pressure on local officials.
Apparently Aruba airport give a onetime incentive to JetBlue as a new airline to Aruba and American feels this is unfair because they have been loyal to Aruba for decades without incentives.
It is true, American Airlines have been very loyal and flying to Aruba for a long time, however they forget to tell you that they maintain the fares high and make a lot of money with little competition from New York. Until JetBlue started flying that is.
What I find very strange now is that a flight from New York to Aruba vice versa from September 23 to September 29 for example costs with American total $464.80 ($378 air fare + $86.80 taxes) and with JetBlue total $464.70 ($378 air fare + $86.70 taxes). The difference is a grand total 10 cents. Seems like price fixing to me, isn’t that illegal?