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United is adding 3 brand-new transcon routes to Florida

June 15, 2021
3 min read
United is adding 3 brand-new transcon routes to Florida
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United's cross-country route map is growing.

Over the weekend, the Chicago-based carrier filed three new transcon routes, boosting its presence in both California and Florida.

Two of the new routes are from Los Angeles (LAX). United will launch daily year-round flights to Tampa (TPA) starting on Oct. 31, aboard a 150-seat Airbus A320, with 12 first-class recliners and 138 coach seats.

The second LAX route, to Fort Myers (RSW), will run seasonally from Dec. 16 through May 5, 2022. This daily flight will be operated by a 166-seat Boeing 737-800 aircraft, outfitted with 16 first-class recliners and 150 coach seats.

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Fort Myers also will get a second new United transcon route, with a daily seasonal flight to San Francisco (SFO) running during the same timeframe as the new LAX flight.

Fares to Tampa start at $99, while the Fort Myers flights begin at $145. There are a handful of dates with saver award availability in coach starting at 11,100 MileagePlus miles, but business-class availability is far more limited.

Along with the new routes, United also is increasing the frequency of flights between Tampa and SFO. Beginning on Dec. 16, the carrier will add a second daily service in each direction.

While confirming the new routes, a United spokesperson offered a statement that explains the Florida transcon strategy.

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As California’s global airline, United looks forward to offering customers on the west coast more direct service to Florida destinations including Tampa and Fort Myers beginning this fall and winter. Florida continues to be a popular destination for our customers, a trend we expect to continue into the winter months.

As United says, these routes are expected to capture the leisure demand during Florida's peak tourism season. Though United will enjoy a monopoly on the Fort Myers to SFO route, the others will face fierce competition from other U.S. airlines.

The airline will go head-to-head with Alaska's new Fort Myers to Los Angeles route that first launched in November 2020. Department of Transportation data analyzed by Cirium show that nearly 87 travelers flew between the two cities on average each day in 2019, so United will likely need to rely on its connecting network in Los Angeles to make the new Fort Myers flight work.

As for United's new Tampa route, the carrier will face off against American, Alaska and Delta for the 2,158-mile transcon to Los Angeles.

While there's seemingly been endless demand for flights to Florida during the pandemic — in April 2021, domestic flights to Florida were down just 6% compared to the same month in 2019, per Cirium — it remains to be seen if that trend will continue later this year. With increasing vaccinations and rapidly declining COVID-19 case counts, it's possible that business travel could begin to slowly picking up toward the end of the summer. Should that happen, it could crowd out some of the predicted leisure demand if airlines choose to instead return their focus to schedules catering to higher-fare corporate travelers.

Of course, time will tell how United's new routes fare, but the carrier isn't alone in boosting Florida flights.

Last week, American Airlines announced three new routes to Tampa, including flights from Nashville (BNA), Los Angeles (LAX) and Raleigh-Durham (RDU). Additionally, Breeze Airways, America's newest start-up airline, launched in late May with 39 routes, ten of which are from the carrier's Tampa base.

Featured image by (Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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Why We Chose It

It's hard to find a card that competes with the mile-long list of benefits that come with the Amex Business Platinum. While it's certainly not the card for the average consumer, a business owner with tons of expenses -- especially related to travel -- will find this card incredibly valuable. This card is similar to the consumer version that Amex offers, but with more business-oriented perks around statement credits and earning rates that are a better fit for business owners.

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  • Steep annual fee
  • Difficulty meeting $15,000 welcome offer for smaller businesses
  • Limited high-bonus categories outside of travel
  • The Points Guy Exclusive Offer: Earn 150,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $15,000 on eligible purchases with the Business Platinum Card® within the first 3 months of Card Membership.
  • Get 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights and prepaid hotels on amextravel.com, and 1X points for each dollar you spend on eligible purchases.
  • Earn 1.5X points (that’s an extra half point per dollar) on eligible purchases at US construction material & hardware suppliers, electronic goods retailers and software & cloud system providers, and shipping providers, as well as on purchases of $5,000 or more everywhere else, on up to $2 million of these purchases per calendar year.
  • Unlock over $1,000 in annual statement credits on a curation of business purchases, including select purchases made with Dell Technologies, Indeed, Adobe, and U.S. wireless service providers.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit: Get up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year for checked baggage fees, lounge day passes, and more at one selected airline.
  • $189 CLEAR® Credit: Use your Card and get up to $189 back per year on your CLEAR® membership. CLEAR® is available at more than 50 U.S. airports and stadiums.
  • The American Express Global Lounge Collection® can provide an escape at the airport. With more than 1,400 airport lounges across 140 countries and counting, you have more lounge location options than any other credit card on the market as of 9/2021.
  • $695 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.