United: Travel demand is coming back
While travel demand remains a fraction of what it was at the end of 2019, customers are slowly returning to flying with a preference for leisure destinations, trips to reunite with friends and family, and getaways to places that encourage social distancing, according to United Airlines.
United today announced it is tripling the size of its August schedule compared to its June 2020 schedule, adding nearly 25,000 domestic and international flights compared to July 2020, and plans to fly 40 percent of its overall schedule in August, as compared to August 2019.
According to TSA, more than 600,000 passengers passed through airport security checkpoints on Monday, June 29, the first time since March 19 that those numbers exceeded 25 percent of pre-Covid levels.
United has overhauled its cleaning and safety procedures under United CleanPlus and is giving customers more flexibility when booking by extending its waiver of change fees and award redeposit fees for reservations through July 31.
United plans to add more than 350 daily flights from its U.S. hubs in August, including doubling the number of flights from New York/Newark compared to July. This increase includes more flights to mountain and national park destinations like Aspen, Colorado; Bangor, Maine; Bozeman, Montana; and Jackson Hole, Wyoming.
Internationally, United’s August schedule will include a return to Tahiti and additional flights to Hawaii, the Caribbean and Mexico. Across the Atlantic, United will add more flights and options to Brussels, Frankfurt, London, Munich, Paris and Zurich.
“We’re taking the same data-driven, realistic approach to growing our schedule as we did in drawing it down at the start of the pandemic,” said Ankit Gupta, United’s vice president of Domestic Network Planning. “Demand is coming back slowly and we’re building in enough capacity to stay ahead of the number of people traveling. And we’re adding in flights to places we know customers want to travel to, like outdoor recreation destinations where social distancing is easier but doing so in a way that’s flexible and allows us to adjust should that demand change.”
Domestically, United plans to fly 48 percent of its 2019 schedule in August compared to 2019 levels, up from 30 percent in July. Travelers in search of more socially distant vacation options like beach, mountain and national park destinations will see more opportunities for leisure travel in United’s August schedule. Highlights include:
Adding more than 600 daily flights to more than 200 airports across the United States, including the resumption of 50 routes from July to August.
Expanding flights at 147 airports across the United States.
Increasing connectivity in United’s mid-continental hubs, including Chicago, Denver and Houston.
Doubling the number of flights from New York/Newark
Returning around 90 aircraft back into service, including adding more CRJ-550 service between New York/Newark and St. Louis; Indianapolis; Richmond, Virginia; Cincinnati; Norfolk, Virginia; and Columbus, Ohio.
Increasing service between Hawaii and its hubs in Chicago, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles and San Francisco
Resuming service to more Hawaiian destinations, including Lihue from San Francisco and Hilo from Los Angeles.
“United’s international schedule continues to be guided by customer demand as we add back capacity in regions with relative strength,” said Patrick Quayle, United’s vice president of International Network and Alliances. “For August, we’ve seen increasing demand for leisure travel and have added options to places like Cancun and reinstated service to Tahiti. Additionally, we are further building out service to partner hubs like Frankfurt and Zurich, where customers can connect on to a wide array of destinations.”
Internationally, United is scheduled to fly 25 percent of its schedule in August, up from 16% in July. Across the Atlantic, United plans to offer customers more opportunities to get to Europe and beyond, with more flying from Chicago, New York/Newark and San Francisco. Highlights include:
Resuming service between Chicago and Brussels and Frankfurt.
Resuming service between New York/Newark and Brussels, Munich and Zurich.
Resuming service between San Francisco and London.
Upon government approval, United will restart daily service between Delhi and San Francisco and New York/Newark.
Across the Pacific in August, United is scheduled to restart three-times-weekly service connecting the mainland United States and Tahiti. In July, United made several changes to its Asia Pacific schedule. Highlights of United’s service include:
Starting new service, five times weekly, between Chicago and Tokyo’s Haneda Airport. United will continue operating daily service to Tokyo Narita from New York/Newark and San Francisco.
Resuming service between Hong Kong and San Francisco five days a week, with service continuing to Singapore.
Resuming service to Seoul, South Korea three days a week.
Resuming service to Shanghai from San Francisco two days a week.
Throughout Latin America and the Caribbean, United is expanding across each region with a total of 35 new routes for August. Highlights of United’s schedule include:
Resuming service between Houston and Lima.
Resuming service between New York/Newark and Sao Paulo.
Resuming service between Mexico City and Chicago, New York/Newark and San Francisco.
Adding more ways to get to Cancun from Chicago, Denver, Los Angeles, New York/Newark and San Francisco.
Resuming service to San Salvador and Guatemala City from Houston, New York/Newark, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C.
Increasing the number of flights between Houston and Mexico City, Cancun, Guadalajara and Leon in Mexico; Panama City, Panama.
Increasing the number of flights between New York/Newark and Punta Cana, Santiago and Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic.
United has teamed up with Clorox and Cleveland Clinic to redefine cleaning and health safety procedures from check-in to landing and has implemented more than a dozen new policies, protocols and innovations designed with the safety of customers and employees in mind, including:
Requiring all travelers – including crew members – to wear face coverings and potentially revoking travel privileges for customers who do not follow these requirements
Using state-of-the-art high-efficiency filters on United aircraft to circulate air and remove up to 99.97 percent of airborne particles.
Using electrostatic spraying on all mainline aircraft before departure for enhanced cabin sanitation.
Adding a step to the check-in process, based on a recommendation from the Cleveland Clinic, requiring customers to acknowledge they do not have symptoms for Covid 19 and agree to follow our policies, including wearing a mask on board.
Offering customers a touchless baggage check-in experience at more than 200 airports across the United States.