United Just Announced Where Else It's Cutting Flights, Starting May 15
The airline recently said it would be reducing its schedule at some major airports.
Making travel arrangements can feel like an overwhelming process, especially if you're at the whims of a major airline. Whether you're looking to find airfare within your budget or are just hoping to get someplace as quickly as possible, scheduling issues can arise that can lead to a potentially stressful situation. Even travelers who are loyal to specific carriers can sometimes be let down by policy changes or availability shifts that make it harder to book the trip they're hoping for. And now, United Airlines has announced where else it will be cutting flights after a recent string of schedule changes. Read on to see if your local airport could be affected.
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The "big three" airlines all recently confirmed they would be reducing their schedule at some major airports this summer.
We've all been caught in the unfortunate position when unexpected changes derail our travel plans. But recently, the "big three" U.S. airlines—United, American, and Delta—announced along with JetBlue Airways that they would reduce their scheduled departures from three airports in the New York City area during the summer. The carriers all confirmed to Best Life that New York's John F. Kennedy Airport (JFK), LaGuardia Airport (LGA), and New Jersey's Newark Liberty Airport (EWR) would be affected.
The carriers decided to cut back their number of daily flights from the major market after a meeting with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on March 29 held to discuss the ongoing shortage of air traffic controllers. The agency previously raised the alarm that it was too short-staffed to handle the heavy flight load of the busy summer travel season, warning it expected only to have 54 percent of the workers needed to cover the New York City area, Bloomberg reported. Without a reduction in traffic, the FAA anticipates that as much as 45 percent of all flights in the region would suffer delays.
To help get ahead of the problem, the agency agreed to issue waivers to the airlines in a special agreement that would allow them to keep their runway slots at each airport, Airline Weekly reported. The FAA normally penalizes carriers by reassigning the slots if they're not used at least 80 percent of the time, Airline Weekly reported. Overall, the move could affect up to 10 percent of each airline's total departures from each airport.
"This summer is going to be really hard again," JetBlue CEO Robin Hayes said in New York on March 29, per Bloomberg. "We need to reduce flying and make sure we can operate what we've got."
Now, United has announced some of the cities that will be affected by its schedule changes.
While the carriers haven't released complete information on their schedule changes, they are beginning to provide details on which routes will be affected. This includes United Airlines, which confirmed that it would be cutting flights from Newark Liberty International Airport from 438 down to 408 daily departures, Reuters reports.
The carrier specified that its route from the New Jersey hub would reduce daily flights to Ronald Reagan National Airport (DCA) in Washington, D.C., from 18 to 10. In addition, the carrier will also be cutting back its flights from LaGuardia Airport to Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD) from nine to six daily departures.
The changes are expected to go into effect when the FAA's waiver period begins on May 15 and run through at least Sept. 15. The carrier could also drop more flights from the schedule starting in June, Reuters reports.
The airline says it will try to make up for the dropped flights with a few other changes.
In an email to Best Life, a United Airlines spokesperson confirmed the listed schedule changes. But the carrier clarified that while there will be fewer departures, it planned to make up for the decreased frequency by swapping in larger aircrafts on the routes to help minimize any interruptions.
"Even taking into account the small reductions, United will fly 5 percent more seats out of these airports than we did in summer 2019," a spokesperson for the airline wrote. "These small reductions will affect less than 2 percent of our customers at these airports—most of whom will still reach their destinations within two hours of their planned arrival time."
Overall, the expected changes will only affect 20 out of 150 destinations served out of the East Coast airports—and none will affect the New York City area's most popular travel destinations of Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Denver, and Miami. The airline also says that it will not be exiting any markets due to the changes and that no international flights will be affected.
The airline recently announced other schedule changes—including dropping all flights to two cities.
The latest changes aren't the only schedule alterations the airline has in store for this summer. United also recently confirmed that it would no longer fly to Erie, Pennsylvania (ERI), and Springfield, Illinois (SPI), The Points Guy first reported.
"United made the difficult decision to suspend service between Chicago O'Hare and Erie, Pennsylvania and Springfield, Illinois starting June 2," a spokesperson for the airline confirmed to Best Life in an email at the time. "We're proactively reaching out to impacted customers to discuss their options."
The route map changes were the latest additions to the growing list of smaller regional airports axed by the airline in recent years. The carrier has now pulled out of 38 U.S. cities since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, The Points Guy reported. Some dropped destinations include Abilene, Texas; Destin-Fort Walton Beach, Florida; Evansville, Indiana; Lansing, Michigan; Pueblo, Colorado; Stockton, California; and Tallahassee, Florida, among others.