United repatriation flights bring 4,500 Americans home amid coronavirus outbreak

Mar 29, 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.

Though now’s not the time to travel, some international travelers were left stranded by immediate border closings and government travel restrictions while already out of the country on vacation or business. Due to these restrictions, flight schedules have been changing daily, meaning that there’s no guarantee that a return flight will operate as planned.

As such, this has caused many American citizens and nationals to be stranded abroad. Understandably, most are scrambling to get home.

Fortunately, U.S. airlines are trying to get these folks back stateside with a number of repatriation flights. In cases where countries have blocked international flights or closed airports, the airlines, along with the U.S. State Department, are working on one-off flights to bring nationals back to the country.

In the past week, United has led the charge with its 30 repatriation flights to cities across Central and South America. So far, UA has brought over 4,500 Americans home, and it’s still planning more flights in coordination with government officials.

(Photo courtesy United Airlines)
(Photo courtesy of United Airlines)

To date, the airline has operated repatriation flights from the following cities to hubs in Houston (IAH):

  • Lima, Peru
  • Panama City, Panama
  • Quito, Ecuador
  • Roatan, Honduras
  • San Pedro Sula, Honduras
  • Tegucigalpa, Honduras

United also operated a few charters between Lima and Washington D.C. (IAD) over the course of the last two weeks (with more scheduled for the next few days). Flyers on this route were even treated to one of the airline’s newly reconfigured Boeing 777-200s with brand-new Polaris pods, a Premium Plus cabin and a refreshed coach experience.

In addition to these repatriation flights, United has also reinstated some of its long-haul international flying in order to accommodate those who need to get back to their home country.

United isn’t the only airline operating repatriation flights. American and Delta are also doing their part to bring citizens back home. AA’s flown multiple flights to Brazil, Guatemala, Honduras and Peru.

While American and United are focused on cities closer to home, Delta’s operated long-haul repatriation flights from Italy, the Philippines and South Korea.

(Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

Though airlines across the world are taking a financial hit due to the coronavirus, they remain an essential component to the transportation industry. Even though demand has plummeted for scheduled service, airlines have taken it upon themselves to bring their country’s citizens back home. Through countless repatriation flights, the major U.S. carriers are helping reunite families and bring people back together again.

Featured photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy

Editor’s note: This post was updated on Monday, March 30, to reflect additional repatriation flights.

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Earn 90,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer ends 8/3/2022.

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 after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer ends 8/3/2022.
  • 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 up to 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 in the U.S., 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 $80 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 PreCheck® after you apply through any Authorized Enrollment Provider. If approved for Global Entry, at no additional charge, you will receive access to TSA PreCheck.
  • 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
17.24%-26.24% Variable
Annual Fee
Balance Transfer Fee
Recommended Credit
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.