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United Airlines is offering stir-crazy Americans seven new routes to escape their homes and hit the beach this during the upcoming coronavirus pandemic winter.
The Chicago-based Star Alliance carrier will connect Belize City (BZE), Liberia (LIR) and San Jose (SJO) in Costa Rica, San Pedro Sula (SAP) in Honduras, and Santo Domingo (SDQ) in the Dominican Republic to four more of its U.S. hubs beginning in December, United said Friday. In addition, it will resume two suspended routes to Cancun (CUN) and Mazatlan (MZT).
Tickets for all of the new routes except for select routes to Costa Rica go on sale on Oct. 17. Flights to Liberia and San Jose from Los Angeles (LAX) and San Francisco (SFO) can be booked starting Oct. 21.
The route additions come even as United plans to hold flying steady from the end of year into 2021. COVID related travel restrictions and public fear of the virus have driven air travel to historic lows. On Oct. 15, United CEO Scott Kirby said flying levels are not expected to return to “normal” for at least four years.
“Our new and increased service offers travelers more opportunities to find warm-weather getaways and visit friends and family over the winter season,” said Patrick Quayle, vice president of international network and alliances at United, in a statement.
United will also add more flights on 21 routes to seven Mexican beach destinations, as well as three routes to Guatemala City, Guatemala (GUA) and San Salvador, El Salvador (SAL).
The new routes target the one area of travel that appears to be doing well: holiday flying. Through the summer, Americans have shown a willingness to get on a plane to either escape to an outdoor-oriented destination where they can socially distance or to visit friends or relatives.
The new Caribbean and Latin American routes do both. United will offer beachgoers more options to Mexico’s beaches or for sons and daughters, nieces and nephews to visit relatives in Central America.
United’s new routes also come amid new competition. JetBlue Airways will begin service between its new Los Angeles (LAX) base and both Liberia and San Jose on Dec. 18, with United planning to open both routes beginning a day later.
New flights between Denver (DEN) and Belize City come following Southwest Airlines’ continued service suspension to the Latin American country.
And flights like United’s planned service between LAX and San Pedro Sula harkens back to its once strong Latin American network from the airport after it acquired Pan Am’s South America assets in 1991.
Details of United’s new and restarted Latin American routes are below.
Featured image by Zach Griff/The Points Guy.
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