United Airlines adds new route from Washington Dulles hub, expands schedule in November

Oct 2, 2020

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United Airlines continues to gradually resume flights with its new November schedule, including new service between Washington Dulles and Key West for the winter.

The Chicago-based Star Alliance carrier will fly nearly half of the U.S. domestic schedule it flew a year ago and 38% of its international schedule in November, United said Thursday. Overall, the airline will fly roughly 44% of what it flew in November 2019 — a four-point increase over October.

The uptick in flights comes even after United furloughed more than 13,000 staff on Oct. 1. The airline shrank its workforce to match historically low levels of air travel during the coronavirus pandemic after Congress failed to extend payroll support for airline workers despite bipartisan support.

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United’s domestic additions include the first batch of more than 17 routes to Florida from Boston (BOS), Cleveland (CLE), New York LaGuardia (LGA) and other cities that bypass its hubs. In addition, it will add new service between Dulles (IAD) and Key West (EYW) beginning Nov. 1. The Key West route will operate five-days-a-week on an Embraer E170 jet with 70 seats.

The airline will also add or resume flights to popular outdoor destinations in Florida and Hawaii, as well as to Boise (BOI), Palm Springs (PSP) — a desert destination that is seeing a boom in new air service — and Redmond/Bend, Oregon (RDM).

Internationally, United plans to return to Rio de Janeiro (GIG), Santiago, Chile (SCL) and Taipei (TPE) in November. In addition, it will resume several routes, including between its Denver (DEN) and Houston Bush Intercontinental (IAH) hubs and Frankfurt (FRA).

Related: United Airlines adds 17 routes to Florida, bypassing hubs in pandemic route-map shakeup

And United customers interested in booking flights on three of United’s new international routes can do so beginning Saturday (Oct. 3), when tickets go on sale for the Chicago-New Delhi, Bangalore-San Francisco and Newark-Johannesburg nonstops.

Despite United’s November resumptions, the outlook for airlines remains uncertain. Business travel is non-existent and thee uptick in holiday flyers that airlines saw over the summer has fallen as it normally does after Labor Day.

New data from travel data firm OAG shows bookings for November — including over the busy Thanksgiving holiday — are at around a quarter of where they were a year ago at this time for American Airlines and United. Bookings at Delta Air Lines are only 12% of 2019 levels.

United CEO Scott Kirby has warned that they airline could cut money-losing destinations from its route map without additional relief and if air travel does not continue to return.

Related: More than 30,000 furloughs begin as ‘terrible Thursday’ arrives for airlines

Featured image by by Edward Russell/TPG.

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