United Airlines bets on Hawaii, Mexico beaches in October schedule
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
United Airlines is hoping that holidaygoers will not stop traveling after Labor Day as they traditionally do, piling on more flights to places like Cancun and Hawaii in its October schedule.
The Chicago-based Star Alliance carrier will fly about 40% of what it flew last year in October — 46% of its domestic schedule and 33% of international — United said Friday. This is up from roughly 34% of 2019 in September but still well below pre-coronavirus pandemic levels.
Hawaii and Mexican resort towns like Cancun (CUN) and Puerto Vallarta (PVR) will all see more flights return. Beaches and other outdoor activities that travelers have sough since the pandemic began feature prominently in all of these destinations.
United’s added flying comes as airlines brace themselves for what some analysts are calling the “autumn of discontent.” Leisure flyers traditionally stay home after Labor Day when business travel returns however, because of the pandemic, most corporate flyers remain grounded.
A recent analysis by The Air Current found that business travel sentiment has only recovered to about 30% of 2019 levels, whereas leisure sentiment is at about 50% levels. That potentially leaves a lot of seats that would normally be filled by businesspeople jetting to meetings and conventions empty this fall.
“People talk about a V-shaped recovery — the airline industry has never seen a V-shaped recovery,” trade group Airlines for America (A4A) president and CEO Nicholas Calio said on Sept. 3. “We believe, if things go well, it will be 2024 before demand is where it was.”
United is adding domestic flights to all the places industry watchers would suspect in October. Suspended nonstop flights between its Denver (DEN) and Washington Dulles (IAD) hubs to points in Florida will return. In addition, flights between Los Angeles (LAX) and Eugene (EUG), Medford (MFR) and Redmond/Bend (RDM) in Oregon will come back — conveniently the month that Alaska Airlines inaugurates the Eugene and Medford routes.
In July, American Airlines confirmed that it was permanently ending flights between LAX and the three Oregon cities owing to COVID-19.
Alaska is not the only airline mounting a competitive challenge this fall. Southwest Airlines will add Miami (MIA), Palm Springs (PSP) and Steamboat Springs, Colorado (HDN) to its map this fall — United is among the dominant carriers in both Palm Springs and Steamboat. At the same time, JetBlue Airways has added flights at United’s Newark Liberty (EWR) hub and will open a new base at LAX in October.
Internationally, United hopes to return to cities including Buenos Aires (EZE) and Lima (LIM) pending a relaxation in local country arrival restrictions. The carrier also plans to resume its nonstop between Washington and Tel Aviv (TLV).
All of the schedule additions are conditional and, as occurred in August, could be rolled back if flyers do not return.
United will load details of its October schedule over the coming weekend.
Featured image by Gary Hershorn/Getty Images.
Welcome to The Points Guy!
Earn 50,000 bonus miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new card in the first three months of card membership. Plus, earn up to $100 back in statement credits for eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants in the first three months of card membership.
With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.
- Earn 50,000 Bonus Miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.
- Plus, earn up to $100 back in statement credits for eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants with your card within the first 3 months of membership.
- Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
- Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
- Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
- Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
- Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
- Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
- Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
- Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
- No Foreign Transaction Fees.
- $250 Annual Fee.
- Terms Apply.
- See Rates & Fees