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American Airlines Temporarily Suspends New York Flights To Cancun Amid Slowdown

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In an unexpected move that is sure to shock some customers who might have been hoping to jet off to the Caribbean for their fall getaway, American Airlines has placed all New York flights to Cancun on a hiatus for two months in the upcoming season.

Beachgoers In Cancun Hotel Zone, Mexico, Latin America

The measure is only temporary, set to last from September to November, but for the average sun-seeker, it could throw a spanner in the works—this, of course, does not affect those traveling later in winter, during Cancun's high season.

In any case, if you're wondering why American Airlines has made such a drastic decision, impacting one of its most profitable routes, this is what's been going on:

Why Is American Airlines Suspending Its Cancun Flights For Two Months?

People using self-serve check-in kiosks for American Airlines inside Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport

As confirmed by American Airlines, the international flights to Cancun (CUN) will be placed on a hiatus in the fall, more specifically, starting September 4, and ending November 4.

We don't need to get into details about the technical side of it, but for those of you only remotely interested in it, the suspension relates to the airline's plan to adjust its own capacity this year, as the overall growth rate is set to be 5% lower in the second half of the year.

The news has taken some by surprise, particularly faithful American Airlines customers who relied on their daily flights from JFK to Cancun, but other than their slower-than-expected growth, Cancun's moderate performance lately is also partly to blame:

What Could Be Behind The Slight Drop?

aerial view of cancun hotel zone

Cancun is the number one beach destination for Americans going abroad, and come rain, come shine, it's unlikely it will be bumped off the number one spot anytime soon.

A planned city built exclusively to host foreign guests, it prides itself in being home to some of the most luxurious beachfront listings in Mexico, its tourist-friendliness, and providing a high level of hospitality (in sum, Americans are sure to be treated like royalty when vacationing in Cancun).

It is primarily a resort destination, and somewhere U.S. travelers go for basking in the sun, feel the soft, warm sands beneath the feet, and swim in the turquoise waters of the Caribbean, while avoiding all the agitation and anxiety involved with international travel.

woman sitting on a beach in Cancun, Mexico

After all, everything is taken care of in a Cancun resort, and even safety is less of an issue here compared to other parts of Mexico, where security is less tight: you can't take two steps down the Hotel Zone's promenade without spotting police officers or even the National Guard.

That being said, Cancun traffic is slightly down this fall, with Mexico as a whole seeing a 1.6% decrease in international traffic during the upcoming shoulder season.

The biggest issue facing tourists in Cancun right now, and that is certain to continue well into the fall period, is sargassum: with countless beaches being invaded by the foul-smelling algae, one may ponder whether they're the reason why demand has dropped, albeit minimally. Sargassum levels can vary from day to day, but this time of year it is more common.

man walking through airport boarding gate

Of course, sargassum alone doesn't explain the drop, especially when air traffic for Mexico is moderately down overall.

Cancun Is Still Having A Record-Breaking Year

Either way, Cancun is still poised for another record-breaking year, currently capturing nearly half of all foreign arrivals to Mexico, and with American Airlines pending return on November 4, the next high season (starting December) looks in the very least promising.

If you're affected by the Cancun flight suspension, this is what American Airlines had to say: ‘we're making this adjustment now to ensure we're able to re-accommodate customers on affected flights and we apologize for any inconvenience to our customer's travel journeys‘.

American Airlines Plane

It's not all doom and gloom:

Of course, you can still fly to Cancun from New York (JFK) with at least two other airlines, namely Delta and Jet Blue, that will both continue operating as normal.

Other Flights From JFK To Cancun This Fall

Delta offers 1-2 daily flights to Cancun, while Jet Blue is running on a schedule of at least 3 a day, so unless you're keen on accumulating AAdvantage mile perks, Americans' pausing of its Mexican Caribbean-bounded flights won't be exactly a huge inconvenience.

American Traveler Holding Up Two US American Passports As He Uses His Computer, Booking A Plane Or Checking Into A Flight

Jet Blue airfares start from as cheap as $99 one-way this fall on September 4, when their full-service competitor's suspension is planned, while Delta's are an affordable $121.

New Yorker customers of American Airlines who choose to stick to their airline of preference will be able to take connecting flights to Cancun via the following hubs:

  • Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT)
  • Chicago O'Hare International Airport (ORD)
  • Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW)
  • Miami International Airport (MIA)
  • Philadelphia International Airport (PHL)
  • Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX)

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