United just added a brand-new pin to its route map

Jan 26, 2021

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Despite it only being January, United is gearing up for what’ll hopefully be a much better and safer holiday season.

The Chicago-based carrier filed plans during the past weekend for two brand-new routes to Barbados, marking the first time the carrier has flown to the Caribbean nation under the United callsign.

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The new routes from the carrier’s two Northeast hubs of Newark (EWR) and Washington/Dulles (IAD) will begin on Dec. 5, according to Cirium schedules and confirmed by the carrier. The flights will be operated by a 166-seat Boeing 737-800, sporting 16 business-class recliners and 150 economy seats.

For now, United plans to fly one weekly roundtrip on each route every Sunday. Should the routes prove successful, it’s likely that the carrier would increase frequency.

The new flights are already on sale on United.com, with introductory one-way fares from $323 in coach and $558 in business. Award availability is sparse, but it will likely improve if — and when — the carrier loads cheaper paid fares.

Though Barbados is a new pin for United’s route map, Cirium schedules show that Continental Airlines last flew to the island in January 2006. United and Continental merged four years later in October 2010.

Bridgetown, Barbados at sunset (Photo by Alan Copson/Getty Images)

Adding island and other “sun-and-fun” destinations has proven to be a popular strategy for United and its competitors during the pandemic. United recently boosted flights to Florida from its Denver hub, following other recent expansions to the Sunshine State from its other hub airports.

American and JetBlue have also boosted Florida flights, and the latter even launched new Caribbean flights to Nassau, Turks and Caicos, Punta Cana, and others during the pandemic.

United will face stiff competition from JetBlue when it launches Barbados flights. The New York-based carrier is scheduled to fly 105 flights from the Northeast to the Caribbean nation in December 2021: 97 from New York-JFK, four from Boston (BOS) and four from Newark (EWR).

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American Airlines is the only other U.S. carrier flying to Barbados, with a total of 98 non-stop flights from its Charlotte and Miami hubs scheduled for December 2021.

As such, with once-weekly flights, United is just dipping its toes into the new market, though it will become the only U.S. carrier to fly to Barbados from the Washington, D.C., area.

On July 12, 2020, Barbados officially reopened its borders to international travel with a mandatory COVID-19 PCR test taken no earlier than three days prior to departure.

United’s new Barbados schedule is as follow, subject to local government approval:

  • United Flight 388 Newark (EWR) — Bridgetown (BGI) 8:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.
  • United Flight 389 Bridgetown (BGI) — Newark (EWR) 3:30 p.m. – 7:45 p.m.
  • United Flight 390 Washington/Dulles (IAD) — Bridgetown (BGI) 8:15 a.m. – 2:05 p.m.
  • United Flight 391 Bridgetown (BGI) — Washington/Dulles (IAD) 3:05 p.m. – 7:15 p.m.

Featured photo courtesy of United

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