United’s return to New York-JFK has been delayed a second time
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.
The pandemic has just delayed another new airline route — for the second time.
In November, United officially announced that after a five-year hiatus, it would return to New York’s busiest airport with new flights between JFK and both Los Angeles (LAX) and San Francisco (SFO) beginning Feb. 1. That date later got pushed to Feb. 28 due to low demand.
And now, United is delaying its hotly anticipated service relaunch again, this time to March 28, roughly two months later than first planned.
Want more airline-specific news? Sign up for TPG’s free new biweekly Aviation newsletter!
In a statement to TPG, the Chicago-based carrier said that:
Due to the continued impact of COVID-19 on our industry, we are delaying the start of our service between New York’s JFK Airport and our hubs in San Francisco and Los Angeles until March 28, 2021. Throughout the pandemic, United has been a leader in nimbly reshaping our schedule to match customer demand, and we look forward to offering this convenient service and a best-in-class product from New York City to the west coast.
The delayed schedule will be visible to flyers over the weekend when the carrier formally files an updated timetable.
United’s second postponement has led some to wonder how committed the carrier is to launching JFK flights during a pandemic that’s dealt a devastating blow to the industry. But United says it’s still a go, albeit with a trimmed schedule at first.
The original plan was for two daily flights on both the JFK-Los Angeles and JFK-San Francisco routes, but that’s been slashed to five-weekly frequencies on each leg.
“This has been a long time coming and we’re really excited to be part of the JFK story again,” United vice president of domestic network planning Ankit Gupta told media back in November.
United will fly the premium-heavy “high J” Boeing 767-300 on the route, which sports a whopping 46 Polaris seats instead of the standard 30, as well as 22 Premium Plus premium economy recliners, 43 extra-legroom Economy Plus seats and 56 coach seats.
United will use Terminal 7 at JFK, which is shared with Alaska Airlines, British Airways and others. It remains to be seen if the carrier will arrange lounge access for its premium passengers.
United is planning to fly roughly 43% fewer flights in March 2021 compared to March 2019, according to Cirium schedules. This represents a three-point increase compared to February 2021, but is still down significantly from historic pre-pandemic highs.
Flyers looking to score a seat on the inaugural JFK flight to SFO can snag a seat for $99 in coach, $299 in Premium Plus and $540 in biz. Award seats are available for 8,000 miles in economy and climb to 50,000 miles in biz.
In January, the Department of Transportation approved the Northeast-focused alliance for two of United’s largest JFK competitors — American Airlines and JetBlue — which together operate a host of daily JFK to Los Angeles and San Francisco flights.
When touting the benefits of the new tie-up back in July, the two carriers promoted their combined premium transcon schedule as one of the most robust in the business. Plus, with JetBlue’s new Mint Suite and Studio products coming later this year, deep-pocketed flyers will have a host of top-notch transcon business-class options.
Photo courtesy of United Airlines
Welcome to The Points Guy!
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.
- 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