Airline Anticipating Heavy Travel For This Holiday Period
About half of this travel is being booked now, as the airline is seeing last-minute travel plans are being made now rather than in advance, as is usually the case this time of the year. To be ready, United is being flexible in its planing to be sure it has enough seats to handle the situation.
United is expecting approximately 50% of its customers flying for Thanksgiving are booking travel less than 30 days prior to departure compared to last year when around 40% of Thanksgiving travelers booked less than 30 days before departure. In addition to the added flights, the airline is monitoring bookings in case it needs to bring in larger aircraft when needed to accommodate last-minute demand.
“We know that for many customers, this holiday season may be their first time back on a plane since the start of the pandemic, and we’re committed to helping provide flexibility and a safer, clean, travel experience,” said Ankit Gupta, United’s vice president of Network Planning and Scheduling.
“While this holiday travel season looks quite different than recent years, we’re continuing to follow the same playbook we have all year long – watching the data and adding more flights, adjusting schedules and leveraging larger aircraft to give customers more ways to reunite with family or reach their destinations.”
Looking beyond Thanksgiving, United is anticipating the travel trend to continue in December and is adjusting accordingly.
In December, the airline expects to see a similar travel pattern with customers booking holiday vacations closer to departure opting for warmer weather and ski destinations in the United States, the Caribbean and Mexico.
Popular destinations include cities in Florida, Hawaii, Colorado, Montana, Costa Rica, Mexico, Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. United expects to fly 48% of its overall schedule in December compared to 2019, adding more than 140 daily flights and increasing capacity on more than 350 routes.