United Airlines slashes capacity by 60%, will fly just 15 long-haul routes
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 has upped its coronavirus crisis capacity cuts to 60% in April, the largest yet from a U.S. carrier.
The Star Alliance carrier’s global network will take the biggest hit with international capacity down 85% and only 15 long-haul routes due to operate during the month, United said Tuesday. Long-haul routes, all of which will operate daily or less frequently, include:
- Houston Intercontinental (IAH) – São Paulo Guarulhos (GRU)
- Newark Liberty (EWR) – Brussels (BRU), Delhi (DEL), Frankfurt (FRA), London Heathrow (LHR), Mumbai (BOM), Tel Aviv (TLV), and Tokyo Narita (NRT)
- San Francisco (SFO) – Melbourne, Australia (MEL), Osaka Kansai (KIX), Singapore (SIN), Sydney (SYD), Tokyo Haneda (HND), and Tokyo Narita
- Washington Dulles (IAD) – London Heathrow
United Airlines is now reducing capacity by 60% (up from 50%) in April, including 85% of international flights.
— Edward Russell (@e_russell) March 18, 2020
Comparatively, American Airlines plans to operate just three long-haul routes through at least May 6. Delta Air Lines will operate five transatlantic routes and has made dramatic reductions elsewhere in its network.
In the U.S. and Canada, United will continue to serve all of its domestic destinations, except Mammoth Lakes, California (MMH), despite a 42% capacity reduction in April. Many cities with service from several of the airline’s hubs will see some routes cut.
In addition, the airline will continue to fly many services to the Caribbean and Mexico.
The cuts unveiled by United are deeper than those outlined by CEO Oscar Munoz and president Scott Kirby in a joint letter to employees on Sunday. In that communication, they anticipated a 50% capacity reduction but with the percent of seats filled hovering between 20% to 30%.
“We’re facing an unprecedented challenge,” they said. “When medical experts say that our health and safety depends on people staying home and practicing social distancing, it’s nearly impossible to run a business whose shared purpose is ‘Connecting people. Uniting the world.'”
In addition, Munoz and Kirby said they expect United’s “deep cuts to extend into the summer travel period.”
U.S. airlines, represented by Airlines for America (A4A), have asked the government for at least $50 billion in aid to get them through the crisis from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Despite this ask, International Air Transport Association (IATA) director general Alexandre de Juniac anticipates that some airlines will be “disappearing” due to the crisis.
United affiliate Trans States Airlines, which operated 43 Embraer ERJ-145s under the United Express banner at the end of 2019, is the first U.S. airline to close its doors during to the crisis. The 38-year old regional carrier will cease operations on April 1, eight months earlier than previously planned.
Featured image by Maxian / Getty Images.
WELCOME OFFER: 60,000 Points
TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,200
CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners
*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.
- Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
- 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
- Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel
- Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on orders over $12 for a minimum of one year on qualifying food purchases with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
- Earn 5X points on Lyft rides through March 2022. That’s 3X points in addition to the 2X points you already earn on travel.