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United Airlines Bets Big On The Travel Rebound

This summer has seen a substantial numbers of travelers returning to the air. Although Covid remains an uncertain part of the travel equation, United Airlines is increasing flights at a rapid pace in an effort to meet demand. The airline is adding 150 flights this winter to favorite warm weather destinations across the U.S., Mexico, the Caribbean and Central America—that is a 30 percent increase compared to pre-Covid travel. New routes to Belize, Costa Rica, Mexico, and the Bahamas are all on the schedule. The airline is also adding 74 flights to college and professional football game locales this Fall. And for those who want to venture even farther afield, United has started direct service to Johannesburg and Accra; Service to Cape Town starts in December.

United is purchasing new planes to both up capacity and boost fuel efficiency. In 2023 alone, United’s fleet will, on average, add about one new narrow-body aircraft every three days. By 2025, United plans to upgrade 100% of its plans to increase both comfort and sustainability. These new and improved planes should help transform the customer experience by creating a new signature interior with larger overhead bins, seatback entertainment in every seat and the industry’s fastest available WiFi.

United’s International Business and First-Class service offers a host of perks, including lie-flat seats, luxurious blankets, memory-foam pillows and extra-large HD screens. All flyers will be able to access over 2,800 movies, TV shows, podcasts and games.

Regardless of where you are sitting, customers can enjoy several Covid-friendly perks. United recently announced that its entire crew will be vaccinated, helping all flyers to feel (and be) safer. One of my favorite responses to Covid is United’s testing partnership. Earlier this summer, United and Abbott announced a collaboration to use Abbott’s BinaxNOW™ COVID-19 Home-Test to greatly simplify international travel. Travelers no longer need to find a testing facility in a foreign country; they can self-administer a rapid antigen test and upload a verified, negative test result to their United App. And for those who were not happy with a small bottle of water and a disinfecting wipe, United is the first and currently only U.S. airline to offer economy customers the option to pre-order snacks and beverages on select routes.

I recently flew internationally on United and loved the service. The crew were unusually cheerful, flights were on time, mask mandates were enforced, and the entertainment options kept me and my family happily entertained. Travel has to make a comeback. United is betting that it can attract eager passengers by increasing routes, creating more comfortable and eco-friendly planes and adding creative solutions to make flying, both domestically and internationally, as pleasant as possible.

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