Update: Just 24 hours later, United Airlines has reinstated six daily long haul international flights.
United Airlines has become the first global US airline to announce plans to cancel all international long haul flights.
United cancels 95% of international flights
As United describes it, the international schedule is being reduced by 95% by April 2020. However, the 5% of international flying remaining is all short haul flying. United explains that these cuts are due to government mandates and restrictions in place that prohibit travel.
The full updated international schedule will be published on Sunday, March 22, 2020. So, what all is changing?
United’s Atlantic service cuts
United is currently drawing down all remaining transatlantic flights, with the final westbound departures to take place on March 25. The exception is the Cape Town to Newark flight, which will operate through March 28, as previously scheduled.
United’s Pacific service cuts
United is reducing remaining transpacific flights starting March 22, with final eastbound departures on March 25. The exception is flights between San Francisco and both Tahiti and Sydney, as those flights will have final returns on March 28.
United will maintain some Guam flights, as well as some Island Hopper service.
United’s Latin America service cuts
United will reduce Mexico operations over the next few days. After March 24, United will only maintain a small number of daytime flights to certain destinations in Mexico. The airline will also be canceling all Central and South America operations, with the last southbound departures taking place on March 24, 2020.
United’s Canada service cuts
United is temporarily suspending all Canada flights as of April 1, 2020.
Of the “big three” US carriers, United Airlines has now become the first to cut all long haul international flying. The airline is maintaining some international flights to Mexico, as well as some short haul flights from Guam and Island Hopper service, but that’s about it.
Technically there are still some places where there aren’t government restrictions in place, though with the pace at which regulations change, at some point it no longer makes sense to chase a moving target. Furthermore, the US has issued a “Level 4” advisory for international travel, advising all Americans to return home ASAP.
As a point of comparison, as of this point Delta has announced an 80% cut in international capacity, while American has announced a 75% cut in international capacity. I would guess we’ll see more cuts soon.
Are you surprised to see United Airlines cut all international long haul flights?