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United Goes Point-to-Point with Florida Route Additions
In the wake of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, airlines are being forced to adapt to the new level and type of demand that travelers are booking. The demand that has existed since the pandemic began has been mostly leisure travelers seeking an escape after a period of lockdown.
As such United Airlines is expanding its route network over the winter to expand its presence between the midwest and northeast, and Florida. The expansion will have United add 28 daily flights from four Florida cities to cities across the midwest and northeast.
The additions will be added incrementally over the winter and are seasonal, with a scheduled end date of Jan. 10, 2021. The cities gaining service are Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers, Orlando, and Tampa in Florida. In the Midwest, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Cleveland, and Pittsburgh are gaining flights, while Boston and New York’s LaGuardia in the northeast are gaining new routes. The first routes will begin November 6 and are mostly operated by mainline aircraft.
Expansion in the Northeast
Beginning on November 6, United will begin flights between LaGuardia, Boston, and Cleveland to the four cities in Florida. Out of Boston, there will be twice a day flights to Fort Lauderdale and Orlando, and once a day flights to Fort Myers and Tampa. New York’s LaGuardia will see the same level of service to Fort Lauderdale, Orlando, Fort Myers, and Tampa. Cleveland will gain once a day service. Flights will operate on peak days through till December 17 when they become daily.
Daily Expansion in the Midwest and Northeast
Beginning December 17, the schedule will expand to 28 daily flights. All the new service from Boston and LaGuardia will become twice-daily. In Cleveland, Tampa will remain daily, while Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers, and Orlando will also become twice-daily.
The same day, United will begin new daily routes to the midwest from Florida. Indianapolis, Columbus, and Pittsburgh will gain daily service to Fort Myers. Milwaukee will gain daily service to Fort Myers and Tampa.
This Winter expansion represents the airline’s aggressive strategy to respond to the Covid-19 pandemic. In its announcement, the airline stated that the expansion is a direct response to demand from customers on where they want to travel. It also represents the current trend of primarily leisure and vacation travel during the pandemic. The new routes are also an addition of point-to-point flying for United, which traditionally utilizes a hub and spoke model.
United will be directly competing with low-cost carriers on their new routes. In particular, United’s new Northeast flights will directly compete with JetBlue, Spirit, and Southwest. In the midwest, the airline will be competing with Southwest and Spirit. The expansion into point-to-point leisure flying is just another way major airlines are having to adapt to the ongoing pandemic and the shift in travel demand.
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