United Airlines is set to increase its schedule to London Heathrow from August 2nd when the UK is dropping quarantine requirements for US travelers. The carrier will operate six daily flights across the pond in what it calls a ‘milestone’ of recovery.
The United States may still be reluctant to reopen transatlantic air travel. However, with the news that the UK is scrapping quarantine for vaccinated travelers from the US as well as the EU, United Airlines is betting on enough of an inoculated stream of Americans wanting to visit the UK to ramp up its schedule.
Over 40 weekly flights
When the new quarantine-free regulations come into effect on August 2nd, United will begin operating over 40 weekly nonstop flights to London Heathrow. There will be six flights per day, including a second daily flight from Washington D.C. and increasing services from Houston, Texas, to once per day.
“Today’s announcement is yet another major milestone in recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic with the opening of one of the most important markets from the U.S,” Patrick Quayle, Vice President of International Network and Alliances at United, said in a statement on Wednesday.
“United has demonstrated that we can operate flights between the U.S. and England safely and we are eager to help rebuild these economies by facilitating business and leisure travel,” he continued.
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Dreamliners in daily shuttle
United is already flying daily between Heathrow and Chicago O’hare, Heathrow and Newark, and between Heathrow and San Francisco. Flights are operated with the airline’s 787 Dreamliners, either the -8, the -9, or the -10.
Meanwhile, the new regulations out of London are surely set to increase load factors as nearly 50% of the US population has already been fully vaccinated against COVID. However, the UK is currently in the lead amongst the two with 56.2%.
Both countries have seen a recent surge in cases caused by the prevalence of the more contagious Delta variant, something that has put a pause on US plans to reciprocate the welcome across the pond.
Travel-Ready and self-testing
United allows customers to make use of its ‘Travel-Ready Center’. This provides an online resource and an app where passengers can upload and store vaccination results as well as COVID-19 test results.
Furthermore, the carrier has partnered with medical device company Abbott to provide travelers with CDC-approved rapid antigen test kits. These can be self-administered under the real-time supervision of a telehealth portal, and if it is negative, this will allow the traveler to board the flight back to the US.
The airline is generally optimistic about the near future of transatlantic travel. Counting on pent-up demand as restrictions lift and vaccination rates increase, United recently stated that it is expecting a record year for its European schedule in 2022.