Big network boost pushes United closer to pre-COVID schedule

May 18, 2021
Photo: United Airlines

Strong summer demand is expected to propel United Airlines to a new high in July as it adds 400 daily flights and operates 80 percent of its pre-pandemic schedule.

A 214 percent surge in summer bookings compared to 2020 will see United operate its biggest monthly schedule since pre-COVID times with a 17 percent increase in its domestic network compared to June.

The schedule will increase service to re-opened European destinations as well as new routes to Bozeman, Montana; Orange County, California; Raleigh, North Carolina; and Yellowstone/Cody, Wyoming.

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The airline is also adjusting its flight times at its hubs at Chicago O’Hare International Airport and Washington Dulles International Airport to provide more convenient options for customers.

In Chicago, the airline will add two new banks for a total of nine flight banks and more than 480 daily departures across the globe. In Washington D.C, United is adding a third bank to its operation and will operate more than 220 daily departures.

“This July we’re taking a big step toward flying at pre-pandemic levels for our domestic network,” said Ankit Gupta, vice president of domestic network planning and scheduling at United.

“By adjusting our bank structures at two key hub airports, we’re able to offer our customers easy connections to destinations across the U.S. so they can start their vacations at times convenient for them.”

New international options include additional flights from New York/Newark to Dubrovnik, Croatia and a larger aircraft to Athens, Greece.

Also coming is a second flight from Washington, DC, to Frankfurt in Germany to complement a new service to Athens, Greece, starting in July.

“As we start to see a strong desire from our customers to travel internationally to re-opened countries, we are excited to move up service and add a fourth weekly flight to Dubrovnik, Croatia,” said Patrick Quayle, vice president of international network and alliances at United.

“And with the additional seats we’re adding to Athens, Greece, we continue to make creative adjustments to match our service with customer trends.”

The airline is helping customers traveling internationally with a mobile app and website which provide a comprehensive list of entry requirements for destinations around the world.

It says it remains the only US carrier that makes it easy for customers to search, book and upload COVID-19 tests and vaccination records through its own digital platforms.

The airline has also set up an easy way for international travelers to bring a CDC-approved test with them, self-administer while abroad, and return home through a collaboration with global healthcare company Abbott.

The system allows passengers to depart with the BinaxNOW Home Test in their carry-on bag and administer the test via the eMed digital health platform while overseas, avoiding the need to find a testing center abroad