Airline notes: Avelo’s San Juan success; American ups luggage fees, Spirit takes on Southwest at BWI


Avelo Airlines is reporting a successful first 100 days for its Wilmington-San Juan, Puerto Rico route.

The airline, which usually does not break out traffic by destination, reported nearly 9,000 customers boarded twice weekly San Juan flights with no cancellations. That’s worth noting since airlines often cancel flights with few passengers. Avelo, which has one of the best reliability records in the airline industry, rarely cancels l flights but may end service in short order if passenger traffic falls below forecasts.

The 9,000 passenger count comes despite a healthy service level to Puerto Rico from Philadelphia International Airport.

Fares have increased since Avelo launched its flights. However, the airline will offer a $115 one-way fare promotion to mark the 100-day milestone. Baggage, extra legroom, and seat assignments are extra.

Avelo CEO Andrew Levy said, “We have been very encouraged with the initial response to our service between San Juan and the Philadelphia and Delaware Valley region. As we kick off our second year at Wilmington Airport, it’s clear more and more travelers are discovering the affordability, convenience, and reliability of flying Avelo to San Juan and the other popular destinations we serve from ILG.”


Avelo moved into the black in the fourth quarter of last year thanks to strong holiday travel out of Wilmington and other destinations. Higher fares also helped.

Avelo is currently offering flights to several Florida destinations and, in the spring, will add Wilmington, NC, and Myrtle Beach, SC, two destinations that showed surprising strength last year.

However, the airline will keep the number of destinations served to nine as it works to build brand awareness in the region. The airline had served as many as 14 cities last year.

American increases baggage fees, makes changes to AAdvantage

While American Airlines made headlines last month for increasing its baggage fees for the first time in five years, it also made changes for AAdvantage, its frequent flyer program.

Other airlines also raised bag fees, citing higher costs from fuel and labor contracts, the exception being Southwest Airlines, which allows two checked bags free of charge.

As the dominant carrier out of Philadelphia International Airport, frequent and occasional Delaware fliers are signed up for AAdvantage.

One big change is that AAdvantage customers earn loyalty points by booking directly with the airline, eligible partner airlines, or selected travel agencies. Other travel agencies appear to be out of luck.

Perks grow for frequent fliers who move into the upper tiers of AAdvantage. Citi American Credit Card holders also get some benefit. One hack, catching an earlier connecting flight at no charge, will only be allowed for those in the upper tiers of AAdvantage.

Information on baggage charges is available here. Further information on AAdvantage charges is available at

“We want to make it more convenient for customers to enjoy the value and magic of travel,” said Vasu Raja, American’s chief commercial Officer. “Not only does booking directly with American provide the best possible experience, it’s also where we offer the best fares and it’s most rewarding for our AAdvantage members.”

AAdvantage members will also continue to earn miles and Loyalty Points through non-airline partners, like the AAdvantage® eShopping, AAdvantage Hotels and AAdvantage Events, and other platforms.

Spirit takes on Southwest

The trend of budget carriers taking on the big guys is continuing at Baltimore-Washington Thurgood Marshall International Airport.

Spirit Airlines is adding nonstops to Boston-Logan, San Diego, New Orleans, and Portland, Oregon, beginning in May. All are destinations for Southwest, which operates a hub-focus city at BWI with a 70% market share.

Earlier, Frontier Airlines expanded its schedule out of Philadelphia to include Pittsburgh, Charlotte, Chicago and Detroit.

See story below:

Coming in May: 4 new routes from Spirit Airlines!

On May 8, we welcome our first service to Portland International Airport since the onset of the pandemic.

Daily service to Boston Logan International Airport will also begin May 8.

Service to both San Diego International Airport and Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport is set to begin May 9.