For the first time in more than five years, United Airlines has touched down at New York’s JFK Airport. The airline flew in a Boeing 767-300ER today, as it readies for commencement of services later this month. The airline is anticipating launching services to Los Angeles and San Francisco on March 28th.
United touches down at JFK
For avgeeks and spotters at New York’s JFK Airport, today was a momentous occasion. The familiar blue and white livery of United Airlines graced the runway for the first time since October 25th, 2015, as the airline prepares for a return to service at the airport.
The Boeing 767-300ER took off from Houston, Texas at 05:30 CDT, flying for almost three hours before touching down at JFK at 07:12. The aircraft used for the flight was N670UA, a 21-year-old aircraft.
Tower to UA3345: “Good to have you back”
— shaq / vaccinated (@shaqish_) March 16, 2021
While it’s exciting to see United back in JFK, it’s not the start of services just yet. The airline had originally intended to return to JFK from February 1st. However, the uncertainty of the COVID situation had seen it push back the launch to March 28th. That date is still the anticipated commencement window for the services.
Today’s arrival is something of a test flight, as the airline makes preparations to begin service. It will serve as some familiarization training for both cabin and flight crew, many of whom will be flying into JFK for the first time. It will also be a good dry run for ground crew to familiarize themselves with the United 767 ahead of entry into service.
What can we expect from United’s transcontinental 767 services?
United’s plan is to position its ‘high J’ 767s at JFK to operate four daily transcontinental rotations. These will see the airline flying out of JFK at 08:00 and 17:10 for San Francisco, as well as at 09:00 and 19:00 for Los Angeles. Return flights will operate at 09:10 and 13:30 from San Francisco and at 07:30 and 14:30 from Los Angeles.
Speaking about the flights at the time of the announcement, CEO Scott Kirby stated,
“I have been waiting a long time to say this – United Airlines is back at JFK. Come early next year, we will be serving all three major New York City area airports with a best-in-class product to provide our customers unmatched transcontinental service from New York City and the west coast.”
Operating out of Terminal 7, United’s 767-300ERs will have a premium heavy layout, with 46 lie-flat Polaris seats, all with direct aisle access. As well as this, there are 22 Premium Plus seats onboard, and 47 extra-legroom economy seats. Standard economy will have just 52 seats.
It’s clear the airline is going for comfort here, and is setting itself up well to compete with other airlines. JFK to the west coast is one of the most competitive markets in the US, with all the major legacy airlines competing for their share, alongside newcomers such as JetBlue and Alaska. In terms of premium product, United’s is competitive with (or superior to) most of these other options.
Are you excited to see United back at JFK? Let us know in the comments.