United Is Cutting Flights to These 7 Major Cities, Starting in June


Spring may have only just begun, but many are already busy making their travel plans for the summer. Whether it's getting out of town on a holiday weekend, visiting friends and family that live far away, or simply taking a much-needed vacation, airlines expect plenty of people to take to the skies to embark on seasonal trips. Unfortunately, carriers are still dealing with some lingering issues that have created headaches for travelers in recent months. Many are working proactively to avoid any problems—including altering their schedules. As a result, United Airlines is cutting flights to seven major cities in the coming weeks. Read on to see if the latest changes will affect your summer travel plans.

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Four major airlines have agreed to reduce their schedules to avoid delays this summer.
iStock / thamerpic

Depending on where you live or where you're heading, you may notice fewer booking options in the coming months. Recently, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, JetBlue Airways, and United Airlines all announced that they would be cutting back their scheduled departures for the summer at four major transit hubs, Airline Weekly reported. New York's John F. Kennedy Airport (JFK) and LaGuardia Airport (LGA); New Jersey's Newark Liberty Airport (EWR); and Ronald Reagan National Airport (DCA) in Washington, D.C., will be affected by the changes. Overall, the airlines could reduce their total departures from each airport by as much as 10 percent.

The airlines made the announcement after holding a meeting with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on March 29. The agency hopes to alleviate traffic at the busy airports due to an ongoing shortage of air traffic controllers in the region, warning that it believed it would only have 54 percent of the staffing required to cover the area, Bloomberg reported. The agency anticipates that as much as 45 percent of all flights could experience delays if flight schedules aren't reduced.

The airlines agreed to the changes earlier this month after the FAA agreed to issue special waivers that would prevent them from losing their coveted runway slots at the busy airports, Airline Weekly reported. Under normal circumstances, carriers risk having their slots reassigned if they don't use them at least 80 percent of the time.

Precise details of the changes have slowly emerged, with American Airlines confirming to Best Life in an email that it was "temporarily" reducing flights from LaGuardia to Dallas, Miami, Kansas City, and St. Louis, and from Newark to Chicago. Now, more of the expected schedule alterations have been posted.

United is cutting back flights to seven major cities this summer.
iStock / Boarding1Now

According to data posted to flight scheduling website Cirium, United is cutting back departures in the coming months in a move that will affect several major cities, Simple Flying reports. Notably, the carrier is reducing flights from its Newark hub to Pittsburgh, dropping daily departures from 269 to 207 as of June. Significant reductions between the two cities carry on through August.

The latest schedule posting shows the airline is also cutting flights to other major markets. Boston, Buffalo, Charlotte, Nashville, and Philadelphia will have reduced daily departures beginning in June that continue to drop through the summer. In total, the carrier will drop 659 flights in June, 585 in July, 841 in August, and 131 in September, per Simple Flying.

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United recently confirmed it was cutting back specific departures from major airports.
Sorbis / Shutterstock

These aren't the first details of United's schedule changes that have been released. Earlier this week, the airline confirmed to Best Life that it would cut flights from Newark Liberty International Airport from 438 to 408 daily departures. Specifically, daily flights from the New Jersey hub to Ronald Reagan National Airport and from LaGuardia to Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD) would be pared back beginning May 15.

When reached for comment on the latest schedule changes, a spokesperson for United Airlines reaffirmed that the carrier was "reducing frequencies" at the airport to support the FAA's efforts to cut back on traffic. In addition, the airline said that it planned to make up for the reduced departures by servicing the routes with larger aircraft to avoid short-serving travelers.

"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."

Despite the changes, the airline will not be exiting any markets and will not cut back on any international flights. The carrier also clarified that flights from the four airports to Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Denver, and Miami would not be affected.

The airline also added some international flights for the summer travel season.
Shutterstock / Matheus Obst

While United might be scaling back departures at some airports, it's also beefing up its schedule at others. On April 6, the airline announced that it would increase its international flights by 25 percent this summer. The move will affect 114 global destinations, adding service to Dubai, United Arab Emirates; Malaga, Spain; and Stockholm, Sweden.

The carrier will be adding additional flights from San Francisco to Hong Kong and Rome and expanding service to Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane, Australia. Travelers also now have access to more departures to Rome, Paris, Barcelona, Berlin, Shannon, Edinburgh, and Naples from Newark, Chicago, and Washington Dulles.

"United will give travelers more options than ever before this summer—especially if they want to fly internationally," Patrick Quayle, senior vice president of global network planning and alliances for United Airlines, said in a press release. "With unprecedented demand for travel overseas, we'll have more service to popular cities while also adding new and unique destinations for customers to explore."