The airline expects the week of November 23, 2020 to be the busiest period since March as guests travel to visit family and friends for Thanksgiving. The company projects that around 50 percent of customers are booking less than 30 days prior to departure.
Today (November 9, 2020), United Airlines announced that they will add over 1,400 domestic flights to their schedule to meet Thanksgiving travel demand. The airline expects the week of November 23rd to be the busiest week since March 2020 as customers plan visits to friends and family for Thanksgiving. United has noticed a trend that around 50 percent of travelers are booking their Thanksgiving trips less than 30 days prior to departure, compared to 40 percent of late bookings last year. In addition to the added flights, the carrier is also planning to swap in larger aircraft in real-time to meet last-minute demand. In Monday’s announcement, United Airlines’ Vice President of Network Planning and Scheduling, Ankit Gupta, said,
“We know that for many customers, this holiday season may be their first time back on a plane since the start of the pandemic, and we're committed to helping provide flexibility and a safer, clean, travel experience. While this holiday travel season looks quite different than recent years, we're continuing to follow the same playbook we have all year long – watching the data and adding more flights, adjusting schedules and leveraging larger aircraft to give customers more ways to reunite with family or reach their destinations.”
United expects the late booking trend to continue into December as customers plan getaways to warmer weather and ski destinations in the U.S., Caribbean and Mexico. Some of the most popular destinations on offer include cities in Florida, Hawaii, Colorado, Costa Rica, Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. Overall, the airline expects to fly around 48 percent of their schedule compared to December 2019 and is adding over 140 daily flights and increasing capacity on more than 350 routes. Compared to November, this includes a three percent increase in domestic flying in and a four point increase internationally for December.
Domestically, the airline is increasing service to warm weather destinations such as Fort Lauderdale, Fort Meyers, Tampa, Miami, Palm Beach, Honolulu, Maui, Kona and Lihue. United is also resuming service between Los Angeles and Hilo, Chicago and Maui and between New York/Newark and Honolulu for the holiday season and will also increase frequencies on 17 Hawaii routes from December 17, 2020. The carrier will also launch six new routes including service between Fort Meyers, Florida and Columbus, Indianapolis, Milwaukee and Pittsburg as well as between New York/La Guardia and Palm Beach and between Milwaukee and Tampa. For customers looking to hit the slopes, the airline is also increasing service to Aspen, Jackson Hole, Steamboat Springs and Vail with over 580 weekly return flights starting December 17, 2020.
United’s international schedule for December will see increased service to Central America, Mexico and the Caribbean with an increase of 40 daily return flights compared to November and the addition of 36 new and returning routes, including eight new Latin American destinations. Service will also be increased on 84 additional routes to 33 destinations in Latin America including service to Liberia, Cancun, Aruba, Nassau and Punta Cana. From December 10, 2020, the carrier will launch new nonstop Chicago-New Delhi service and will increase frequency on their San Francisco-New Delhi route to daily. United will also increase frequencies between San Francisco and Taipei, Los Angeles and Sydney and New York/Newark and Brussels.
Since the start of the global COVID-19 pandemic, United Airlines has been a leader in U.S. airlines in protecting their guests and team members across their entire journey. United Airlines’ shared purpose is ‘Connecting People. Uniting the World.’ Shares in the company’s parent, United Airlines Holdings, Inc., are publicly traded on the Nasdaq under the symbol ‘UAL’.
Source: United Airlines