United Will No Longer Fly to These 2 Major Cities, Starting Sept. 6
The carrier is also cutting back flights in two major cities in the coming months.
After two years of dealing with diminished passenger counts and travel restrictions brought on by the pandemic, airlines have managed to bounce back into a new set of problems. Major pilot and staffing shortages have brought on waves of delays and cancellations at airports that have left passengers stranded, putting a choke on the busy summer holiday travel season. Some major carriers have attempted to get ahead of the problem by reshuffling their routes and schedules to ensure they're not stretched too thin. The latest to do so is United Airlines, which just announced it will no longer fly to two cities in a few months. Read on to see which destinations have been cut from the carrier's route map.
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Major airlines have reconfigured their schedules and routes to help reduce cancelations and delays.
While the recent rebound in travel bookings to pre-pandemic levels might seem like a welcome relief to airlines, the sudden surge of flyers is also coming at a time when it's becoming difficult to find enough available pilots to cover flights. The busy 4th of July holiday travel weekend alone just saw 464 flights canceled and 6,660 delayed in the U.S. on Friday, 5,893 delayed and 655 canceled on Saturday, and more than 930 delays and 200 cancellations on Sunday, according to data from FlightAware, per NBC News. But airlines have recently become proactive on the matter by changing their service routes and trimming back departures—and in some cases, pulling out of cities entirely.
Last month, American Airlines announced that it would no longer be flying to Islip, New York (ISP); Ithaca, New York (ITH); and Toledo, Ohio (TOL), as of Sept. 7, travel news outlet The Points Guy reported. It also pared back connecting flights from Charlotte, North Carolina (CLT), to Alexandria, Louisiana (AEX), and service from Chicago, Illinois (ORD) to both Ontario, California (ONT), and Saint Lucia (UVF), among other connecting flights the carrier dropped. A spokesperson from American cited "the regional pilot shortage affecting the airline industry" as the reason behind the cuts.
And in a memo sent on May 25 obtained by The Points Guy, Delta said that an ongoing staffing shortage was affecting its ability to recover from widespread travel interruptions caused by air traffic control delays and severe weather over the busy Memorial Day holiday weekend. The next day, an official announcement from the airline stated that it would also be cutting around 100 daily flights from its schedule from July 1 through Aug. 7 to "build additional resilience in our system and improve operational reliability for our customers and employees." Now, United is making a major service change of its own.
United confirmed it will no longer fly to two cities by the end of the summer.
On July 5, United Airlines confirmed that it would soon no longer be flying to Flagstaff, Arizona (FLG) and Texarkana, Arkansas (TXK), The Points Guy reports. The carrier will cease service from Houston, Texas (IAH) to Texarkana on Sept. 6 and from Denver, Colorado (DEN) to Flagstaff on Oct. 30.
"We've made the difficult decision to suspend service to two cities this fall—Flagstaff and Texarkana—and have already started working with customers on alternate plans," a company spokesperson told The Points Guy in a statement.
The change will end the airline's brief stint of serving Texarkana after it launched the route five months ago, leaving the smaller airport with fewer flight options. "It's very unfortunate to see United leave TXK," Paul Mehrlich, Texarkana Airport executive director, said in a statement, per Simple Flying. "However, we will continue to strengthen our partnership with American Airlines and aggressively look for ways to create opportunities to add more destinations and possible carriers. We realize this was a business decision, and we appreciate United's willingness to give us a chance during a difficult time."
The airline is also ending an important connecting flight between two major cities.
United Airlines' decision to stop flying to these two cities isn't the only significant change it's making to its schedule. The carrier will also be stopping service between Los Angeles (LAX) and San Diego (SAN) as of Oct. 30, according to The Points Guy. It will mark the first time in over 40 years that the airline hasn't operated the route, mainly used to connect passengers to longer-haul domestic and international flights in L.A., Simple Flying reports.
However, United is not exiting San Diego entirely with the schedule change. The carrier will still service the city from many of its hubs, including San Francisco (SFO), Chicago (ORD), Houston, Washington/Dulles (IAD), Newark (EWR), and Denver, The Points Guy reports.
United may have recently helped solve its pilot shortage problems.
While the airline may still be contending with staffing shortages, United did recently make significant progress towards hopefully ending some of its ongoing woes. On June 25, they became the first major U.S. carrier to reach a pay agreement with its pilots that many at the company believe will help boost employee retention and hiring, Simple Flying reports. According to the terms of the deal, pilots with the airline will receive three pay raises totaling more than 14.5 percent over 18 months, as well as improved overtime pay and an updated retirement plan. United also said it would be adding a new eight-week maternity leave benefit and changing its roster scheduling to help cut back on pilot fatigue.