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A United 767-300 departing from Washington Dulles (Photo: AirlineGeeks | Craig Fischer)

United Poised to Make JFK Return in 2021

Just over a month after United Airlines was first rumored to be returning to New York City’s John F. Kennedy International Airport, the carrier has officially confirmed its intentions. The Chicago-based airline will connect JFK with two cities on the U.S. West Coast starting in February 2021.

The airline last served New York City via JFK in October of 2015, before consolidating operations to New York’s LaGuardia Airport and its hub at Newark Liberty International Airport. Flights will operate out of JFK’s Terminal 7, notably used by Alaska Airlines and British Airways, among other competitors and alliance members. 

“I have been waiting a long time to say this — United Airlines is back at JFK,” United CEO Scott Kirby said in a press release. “Come early next year, we will be serving all three major New York City area airports with a best-in-class product to provide our customers unmatched transcontinental service from New York City and the west coast.”

United will connect JFK with two of its West Coast hubs at Los Angeles International Airport and San Francisco International Airport. Flights will operate twice daily in both directions starting on Feb. 1, 2021. 

Flight schedules are as follows:

Flight Origin Departure Time Destination Arrival Time
UA 521 New York – JFK 8:00 a.m. San Francisco 11:37 a.m.
UA 523 New York – JFK 5:10 p.m. San Francisco 8:47 p.m.
UA 520 San Francisco 9:10 a.m. New York – JFK 5:40 p.m.
UA 522 San Francisco 1:30 p.m. New York – JFK 10:00 p.m.
UA 515 New York – JFK 9:00 a.m. Los Angeles 12:29 p.m.
UA 517 New York – JFK 7:00 p.m. Los Angeles 10:29 p.m.
UA 514 Los Angeles 7:30 a.m. New York – JFK 3:50 p.m.
UA 516 Los Angeles 2:30 p.m. New York – JFK 10:50 p.m.

All flights will be operated by the airline’s Boeing 767-300ER aircraft with 167 seats in a premium heavy configuration. The newly retrofitted aircraft feature 52 Economy seats, 47 Economy Plus seats, 22 Premium Plus seats and 46 Business class seats. Each business class seat features direct aisle access and seats can convert into fully flatbeds. 

The use of flatbed premium cabins not only gives the airline a similar product to competitors such as American Airlines and Delta Air Lines on the route, but it also creates a standard product for United in comparison to the airline’s similar routes. The carrier’s flights from Newark to Los Angeles and San Francisco feature premium flatbed products as well. As a result, the similar product will give travelers more choices as to how to get to the West Coast without sacrificing the quality of the experience.

United’s resumption of service comes at a time where airlines have been rethinking their traditional network strategies due to COVID-19. The carrier recently announced an increase of holiday time flying to leisure destinations that are seeing stronger demand than typical business destinations. The increased flying includes new flights to Florida and other warm-weather destinations.

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