For the month of April, it looks like United Airlines will be operating a mere six daily international services due to the downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. These flights will launch from three United Airlines hubs: New York Newark, Houston, and San Francisco.
“While travel demand and government restrictions continue to impact our schedule, we know some people around the globe are displaced and still need to get home.” – United Airlines website
The six daily flights
With a schedule reduction of 90% for international services, United is operating much more simply than its normal routine. According to the airline’s website, these are the six flights that will operate daily for the month of April:
- San Francisco to Tokyo Narita (UA837/838)
- San Francisco to Sydney (UA863/870)
- Houston to Sao Paulo (UA62/63)
- New York Newark to Frankfurt (UA960/961)
- New York Newark to London (UA16/17)
- New York Newark to Tel Aviv (UA90/91)
“We will continue flying six daily operations to and from the following destinations — covering Asia, Australia, Latin America, the Middle East and Europe — in an effort to get customers where they need to be. This remains a fluid situation, but United continues to play a role in connecting people and uniting the world, especially in these challenging times.” – United Airlines
We reached out to United to inquire about the type of aircraft being flown on these routes. However, we did not receive a response at the time of publication. So far, it appears to be a fairly diverse mix of Boeing 787-9s and -10s as well as 777-300s.
Only three American airports
As you can see, these flights operate out of just three United hub airports. Missing from the list are United hubs like Chicago O’Hare, Dulles International in Washington D.C., and Denver International Airport. Americans coming home, then, will have to rely more heavily on United’s domestic operations to get them closer to their final destinations.
The main benefit of having international services fly to/from just three of the airline’s airports is resource consolidation. This means that screening and inbound passenger processing resources can be focused on just those three US destinations.
Speaking of US domestic connections, United Airlines is also making changes to its domestic schedule. The airline says it won’t suspend service to any single U.S. city for the time being, with the exception of Mammoth Lakes and Stockton, CA. However, it says it is closely monitoring demand as well as changes in state and local curfews and government restrictions across the country.
Despite nearly all domestic services remaining, many have seen reductions in frequency. “The changes will result in a 52% overall domestic reduction from a previous 42%, and our overall capacity will now be down 68% overall,” the airline says.
United’s main purpose in keeping these six routes operating in April is to get stranded passengers home. As travel restrictions have gone up all over the world, these flights will almost exclusively be taking foreigners out of the United States, while bringing only American citizens and permanent residents back.
The airline has made it clear that everything is subject to change as the situation continues to develop.