United Airlines Will Resume Additional International Flights In May

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United Airlines is hopeful that it will be able to resume some long-haul direct services in less than a month’s time. The airline has opened up booking for three transatlantic flights to Europe and two additional nonstop flights to South America. This is quite a development considering that at the end of March, the airline temporarily suspended all long-haul international flights.

United Airlines back in service
United Airlines is looking to get some of its international direct flights back on track. Photo: Getty Images

United will resume some international flights in May

It wasn’t all that long ago that we reported that United Airlines was temporarily suspending its long-haul international routes. The motive had been to adhere to developments in government regulations that made travel restrictions even tighter.

At the end of March, it said in a statement:

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“…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.”

At that time, United closed the transatlantic flights that were still operating. This includeed the service between Cape Town in South Africa and Newark in the U.S. In addition, the American carrier made its final flight to Central and South America on 24th March. Its final international long-haul journey over the Pacific was on 25th March.

However, fast forward a few seemingly long weeks and United is already getting itchy feet. It wants its services up and running, but its approach is a cautious one. Nevertheless, United Airlines is gently phasing in routes that are currently suspended. The airline hopes to fly over the Atlantic once again at the beginning of May and will also operate services to two South American cities.

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Where will United be flying to?

At present, United is looking to reinstate three European routes. On the 4th May, United Airlines will begin to fly between its hub Chicago O’Hare (ORD) and London Heathrow (LHR) again. The route is listed on the United website as a red-eye flown by Boeing 787-10 Dreamliner, flight number UA931.

Dreamliner United
A 787 Dreamliner will begin flying passengers between the US and the UK. Photo: Patrick Feller via Wikimedia Commons

Additionally, the air carrier will also restart flights between Newark (EWR) and Amsterdam Schiphol (AMS) on the same day. The 4th of May will also see the return of flights to Frankfurt (FRA) from Washington (IAD). All of the above services will operate daily.

However, United Airlines also sees the benefit of restarting routes to South America. On 5th May, a daily flight will depart Houston (IAH) for Bogota (BOG) in Colombia. On the same day, United will fly to Buenos Aires (EZE) from George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston. This service will only operate three times per week. These services complement existing widebody routes to destinations including Sydney, Tel Aviv, and Sao Paulo.

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Many airlines have cut services throughout April but it was widely accepted that these schedules would change. At this point in time, there is still no concrete evidence as to whether airlines will be able to operate international flights in as little as a month’s time. However, it is possible.

Is this strategy optimistic or naive?

We contacted United Airlines to ascertain whether these long-haul flights would change subject to developments in COVID-19. It told us:

“While COVID-19 continues to severely impact international travel, we are adding back-in four additional routes to create more connectivity between our hubs and key business markets in Europe and South America where we’re seeing some passenger demand.”

We can presuppose that if the situation does not improve, the airline will be forced to shift back the start dates for these services.

United tails parked
Is it too soon to be offering international long-haul flights considering the current state of the industry. Photo: Getty Images

Another question is: how popular will these services be? With the potential for such limited travel at the start of May, it’s difficult to think that these flights will be packed full of passengers. That said, those who are keen to move will likely take advantage of the services that United is offering.

Whether or not this schedule is premature or not, no one can deny that United Airlines has the desire to get its fleet and passengers back in the air. It’s what most airlines are striving for and they are simply playing a waiting game to get back to normal service.

Do you think it’s too early for United to restart these long-haul services? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section. 

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18
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louie horvath

well, if someone doesn’t start service when. will the ” all clear ” be ??? Im sure there are some experts within United that have evaluated data.Lets see.

Jav go

The greed of an airline is limitless…and when talking about airlines united is out of league no other company is as greedy as this one.. they viewing the pandemic situation as a joke.. they already exposed so many people and employees to this virus and seems not to care at all for the public.

Marc

no we need to start the rebuilding,.right on united

Jeff

I’m wondering what United may do with its flights to Central America, specifically when it will resume service to Managua. They cut service but haven’t actually cancelled my May 11 flight to MGA. I wonder if that is just so they don’t have to refund the ticket?

Freddie Diringer

I have a flight booked on May 5th to Zurich. It would be nice if they United would send an email to let people know of the situation.

Jetmech787

United once again boldly leading the way Come fly the friendly sky’s

Winnie

Any idea when United will fly to Indonesia? No repatriation flights came from there so people are still stuck there.

Christian

Some of the flights could have a full or nearly full cargo hold

Rose Wanjau

No its not early we need to fly

Kathy Johnson

I am wanting to have positive thoughts about the airlines starting up for long haul flights….the economy needs to get a start, we just can not sit at a stand still forever…

Robyn Whitmer

Resume

Robyn Whitmer

Resume some flights, just take precautions, mask and gloves

Capt Tom

We were flying from Orlando to Barcelona on United originally via Washington DC and Frankfort then via Newark and Frankfort then from Orlando to Washington DC to Newark to Frankfurt to Barcelona. We finally canceled the tickets. Even if they reinstated a halfway decent connection the cruise that we were going to take on May 3rd has been cancelled. And we obviously don’t need to fly back from Barcelona to Newark to Orlando on the 10th of May. Our family of four won’t be flying to Europe this summer at all, maybe next year.

Jean

As long as they disinfect air conditioning and the whole aircraft. On one airline seat #8 one person caught the virus and did not move from his seat. I am worried because I have a flight with United coming up on May

Ching Hsu

Airline routes need early booking. Can not wait until a few days before the departure dates for open booking. Provided that no penalty fees for change and refund.

Ltg

The CDC is indicating as of today the virus “may” be spread by people with no symptoms. I think they should be able to confirm that fact or not. If it is not true then people with symptons simply need to stay home. We should allow all flights immediately. Countries should open and let’s go back to normal. Obviously we need to monitor conditions and take appropriate actions.

Robyn R White

Yes i feel its too early , once United States has the coronavirus under control then it might can be considered.

Ina

It is about time.