United’s Adding a Bunch of One-Off Flights for the Super Bowl

Jan 22, 2018

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United Airlines — and to a much lesser extent American and Delta — added a handful of flights specifically for travelers heading to Minneapolis (MSP) for the Super Bowl, including some routes unique to next week, such as nonstops from Boston (BOS), Providence (PVD) and Philadelphia (PHL) to MSP.

United added 16 flights in total, in addition to the 26 daily MSP flights previously scheduled. The majority of new flights will operate to MSP on the Friday and Saturday before the big game, and then back from Minneapolis on Monday, with departures as early as 12:10am. One redeye seems especially unappealing, departing Minneapolis at 3:30 in the morning and arriving in Boston at 7:15… no thanks! The full breakdown is below.

Friday, February 2:

Saturday, February 3:

Monday, February 5:

Now before you get too excited about the 777s added to the schedule, note that you’ll be dealing with United’s domestic wide-body configuration, with 2-4-2 lie-flat seats in first class and a super-dense 3-4-3 arrangement in coach, carrying a whopping 336 passengers.

The good news is that these new flights appear to be a bit less expensive than the airline’s previous options, though you’ll still spend a small fortune to get to and from MSP. The cheapest option from Newark will run you $793 round-trip, for example, while a lie-flat bed will cost a whopping $2,761 round-trip, and even at those prices, there are only four spots left on the Monday flight home.

I haven’t found saver award availability on any of these new flights, so be prepared to use 50,000 miles for an economy round-trip, and 100,000 miles for a round-trip in first class — which actually isn’t a terrible deal considering the nearly $3,000 fares. Unfortunately you won’t do much better by adding a couple days to your trip, either, though cheaper fares or saver availability could always pop up at the last minute.

American Airlines and Delta have boosted capacity to and from Minneapolis as well — both airlines already operated flights to and from Philly, and Delta has a handful of daily Boston departures, but American has added one Boston round-trip as well, giving AA flyers an opportunity to earn some miles and/or play upgrade roulette should they choose to roll the dice on an especially premium-heavy weekend.

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