Both Denver and Houston are to lose their direct United Airlines flights to London Heathrow this northern summer. As the demand for travel falls, United Airlines continues to scale back its intercontinental services. Also on the chopping block is United’s seasonal service between Newark and Edinburgh.
April suspensions to continue over the northern summer
United’s daily service between Houston (IAH) and London (LHR) finished up in late March. When the suspension first took effect, it was slated only for April. But as April draws to a close, Business Traveller reveals UA5 across to Heathrow and UA4 back to Houston have been removed from United’s 2020 summer timetable.
The same situation applies to United’s daily UA27 out of Denver (DEN) and the return UA26 service from Heathrow. Additionally, United Airlines’ traditional summer seasonal service between Newark and Edinburgh will not be taking flight this year. As Business Traveller notes, Edinburgh has been hit hard by United’s broader transatlantic suspensions. Edinburgh has already temporarily lost its United Airlines’ services to Newark and Washington Dulles.
The decision is not a surprise. Passenger numbers on the wider United Airlines network plunged 97% in the first half of April. The airline had already reduced its network-wide flying by 68%, but with less than 20,000 people a day flying United in early April, the airline moved to reduce further flying by 90% in May.
A United Airlines spokesperson told Simple Flying;
“We continue to adjust our schedule to address the significant decrease in demand resulting from the COVID-19 crisis. Our May schedule is down 90% and this weekend’s schedule change includes the removal of 13 international long-haul markets for the full summer season, and the suspension of seasonal services to Naples, Venice, Porto, Lisbon, Edinburgh, Barcelona, Madrid, and Santiago de Chile. We continue operating nine daily long-haul international routes across the Atlantic, Pacific and Latin regions.”
Usually busy North Atlantic skies now much quieter
Typically, the North Atlantic skies are thick with United Airlines’ Boeings crisscrossing the ocean. In pre-pandemic times, United Airlines has around 240,000 seats each week on transatlantic services. As recently as February, it was scheduling 18 return services a day between multiple US cities and London Heathrow alone. By the end of March, that was down to three return services a day.
Despite what it calls a “fluid” operating environment, United has attempted to keep a degree of intercontinental connectivity. It has proved a difficult task as various nations continue to adjust their border restrictions. In April, the United States further tightened its entry restrictions for non-citizens and residents. This has the effect of also reducing demand for United Airlines’ services into the United States.
United Airlines is continuing to offer flights Newark and Amsterdam, Newark and Frankfurt, Newark and London Heathrow, Newark and Tel Aviv, Houston and Frankfurt, and Chicago and London Heathrow.
United Airlines offerings its passengers some flexibility
Currently, United Airlines customers have until the end of April to make any changes or cancellations without penalty on any flight throughout the remainder of 2020. As we move into May, the airline is expected to push back the cutoff date. The airline advises you can make any changes or cancellations, regardless of ticket type, via the United website or app. If you decide to cancel your flight, United Airlines will issue you with an electronic travel certificate valid for two years, which can be applied against future travel bookings.