United Airlines to enter New York-Washington shuttle fray

Jan 17, 2020

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 the new clocker between New York and Washington this spring, when it launches an hourly shuttle along the busy Northeast Corridor.

The Star Alliance carrier will offer departures on the hour, nearly every hour from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. between Newark Liberty (EWR) and Ronald Reagan Washington National (DCA) airports beginning March 29, United said Friday. The Bombardier CRJ550, a 50-seat regional jet with 10 first-class seats, will operate 10 flights, and the Embraer E175 the remaining three frequencies.

Sarah Murphy, senior vice president of United Express at the airline, said the new hourly schedule is in response to customer demand for more frequent and comfortable flights in the market.

Sign up for the free daily TPG newsletter for more airline news!

United currently operates up to nine flights a day between Newark and Washington National, Cirium schedule data shows. The majority of those flights are operated with Embraer ERJ-145 regional jets, which have 50 seats in an all-economy layout.

The new shuttle means nearly 50% more seats overall between Newark and Washington National but, notably for business travelers and elite frequent fliers, a nearly four-fold jump in first class seats on the route.

(Photo by Scott Mayerowitz/The Points Guy)
The first class cabin on United’s CRJ550. (Photo by Scott Mayerowitz/The Points Guy)

 

In addition, United claims that several closets onboard the CRJ550 eliminate the need for passengers to gate-check bags — a nuisance many travelers dislike.

(Photo by Zach Griff/TPG)
United claims these closets on the CRJ550 eliminate the need for passengers to gate-check bags. (Photo by Zach Griff/TPG)

 

Related: United plans new New York-Washington shuttle amid growth spurt

United’s new Newark-Washington shuttle schedule will not come without tradeoffs. The airline is sourcing the four slot pairs — one slot is needed for every takeoff or landing — necessary for the new flights by ending service between its former Cleveland (CLE) hub and Washington.

The change will leave American Airlines as the only airline flying nonstop between Cleveland and Washington National, Cirium schedules show.

In addition, operational challenges at Newark, particularly during the peak afternoon hours, could impact the reliability of United’s new hourly operation.

United also faces stiff competition in the New York-Washington shuttle market. Amtrak offers its popular Acela service between New York’s Penn Station and Washington Union Station, and American Airlines and Delta Air Lines fly shuttles between New York LaGuardia (LGA) and Washington National airports.

In addition to schedule, American and Delta’s shuttles offer some additional amenities, including dedicated airport check-in areas, and complimentary beer and wine inflight. American even offers rear-door deplaning to speed arrivals.

Related: Why does Washington’s Reagan National Airport have a ‘perimeter’?

United’s new Newark-Washington schedule is not the first shuttle on the route. Continental Airlines, which merged with United in 2010, offered a shuttle on the route in the 1980s and 1990s. And New York Air and People Express both operated their own shuttles before they merged with Continental in 1987.

An ad for Continental Airlines' "Super Shuttle" service between Newark and Washington in 1987. (Image by The Washington Post)
An ad for Continental Airlines’ “Super Shuttle” service between Newark and Washington in 1987. (Image by The Washington Post)

 

United plans to grow system capacity by 4-6% this year, executives have said. In addition to the new shuttle schedule, the carrier plans a number of other additions to its schedule including roughly 50 more departures at its Denver (DEN) hub, four new routes to Tokyo’s close-to-downtown Haneda airport (HND), and at least five new routes from its Washington Dulles (IAD) hub.

Featured image courtesy of Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport.

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Earn 90,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card in the first three months of card membership. Offer ends 11/10/2021.

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.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 Bonus Miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer expires 11/10/2021.
  • 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
Regular APR
15.74%-24.74% Variable
Annual Fee
$250
Balance Transfer Fee
N/A
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.