United Airlines has issued another response to the latest wave of government crackdowns by suspending its long-haul flights. The airline will complete the majority of its final transatlantic and transpacific flights by the end of the month. Amidst these changes, United Airlines is keen to help repatriate US citizens as the COVID-19 pandemic drags on.
The end of transatlantic routes
United Airlines has said that it will conclude transatlantic flights by the end of March and the majority of transpacific flights will not run after 28th March. The news comes as United Airlines adopts a strategy that it says will “aggressively manage” the effects of COVID-19. As more and more borders around the world are closed to international travelers, United’s long-haul international network has been left without any demand.
Flights across the Atlantic will terminate before March is out. United says that the last flights westbound across the Atlantic will take place on 25th March- just four days from now. However, one service across the Atlantic will continue to operate for slightly longer. Passengers will be able to make the most of flights between Cape Town (South Africa) and its east coast hub in Newark (New Jersey) until 28th March.
The final flight back to the US will leave Cape Town on 28th March. United says that full changes to its schedule will be visible on Sunday 22nd March however its website currently shows that a red-eye flight is due to operate between CPT and EWR via Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner. The service will leave Cape Town at 20:00 local time and arrive in Newark New York at 05:55 local time the following day.
The Pacific, Latin America, and Canada also get cut
However, it’s not just transatlantic flights that have been affected by new travel bans and United’s revised strategy. As of 22nd March, services over the Pacific will decrease with the final flight on 25th March. This is with the exception of the service between San Francisco and Tahiti and San Francisco and Sydney. Both of these services will return for the final time to San Fransisco on 28th March.
Despite these changes, however, United does hope that it will still be able to offer flights to Guam but it has not shared a timeframe for how long this will continue.
Furthermore, United Airlines has said that the final flight between Central and South America will take place on 24th March. Flights to Canada will also temporarily cease on 1st April.
What happens now?
Whilst these changes are drastic, United has said that it has no intention of stopping domestic operations if it can avoid it. In a statement released yesterday, the airline said:
“While we don’t plan to suspend service to any single U.S. city now — with the exception of Mammoth Lakes, CA — we are closely monitoring demand as well as changes in state and local curfews and government restrictions across the U.S. and will adjust its schedule accordingly throughout the month.”
Despite this, there will undoubtedly be many passengers affected by international cancelations. In response, passengers must not panic. For any travelers due to fly between now and the end of May, tickets can be rebooked at no extra cost. Passengers disrupted by schedule changes of six hours or more will receive a travel credit to use within a 12 month period. If the credit has not been redeemed, a cash refund will be provided after 12 months.
More information can be found on United’s website.
Will you be affected by these changes? Let us know in the comments.