Odd: Is United Not Reducing Planned Service Out Of JFK After All?

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Late last week we got news that United Airlines was pushing back its planned return to New York JFK for a second time, and connections within the airline told Zach Griff that United would be scaling back its planned frequencies on its new transcontinental routes. Well, the schedules are now showing the new launch dates for United’s JFK services but, strangely, the frequencies remain unaltered.

This weekend was meant to be when United would update its reservations system to show that it would no longer be launching its JFK – Los Angeles and JFK – San Francisco services until 28 March and we were expecting to see both routes to only offer 5 flights per week instead of the originally planned 14 flights each.

Right now, if you head on over to United.com and check for flights between JFK and LA or San Francisco, you’ll find that your first non-stop option doesn’t appear until 28 March (as we were told to expect)…

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…but if you dig down to check your flight options things are not as expected.

Both routes are currently showing just a single flight on March 28th and 29th

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…both routes are showing no non-stop flights at all on March 30th or 31sta screenshot of a website a screenshot of a website

…and from 1 April onwards, both routes are showing the double-daily service that we were expecting all along.

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What’s Going On?

Right now, I have no idea. What we’re seeing could be the result of any number of things:

  • United may not have fully updated its systems over the weekend
  • The original information provided was incorrect
  • United has had a change of heart

A change of heart seems to be the most unlikely answer as that would have been an incredibly late decision to take given that United was telling people about the delay to its new routes just a few days ago.

It’s possible that the systems haven’t been updated fully yet (Presidents Day may have something to do with that ) and that we’ll see some of the currently bookable flights withdrawn in the coming days but, with only a little over 5 weeks to 1 April (when the double-daily services are supposedly available), why would United not make sure that all the changes to these routes (date changes and frequency changes) were pushed through at the same time?

It’s also possible that the original information we were working from was incorrect as there was no formal announcement and we were relying on information passed on from “sources” within the airline. Sources aren’t always 100% reliable and maybe this was evidence of that?

Whatever is behind what is visible in the booking system right now, it looks like we’re going to have to wait a few more days or possibly until after United’s next schedule update (which is usually performed on a weekend) before we know if United will be keeping the double-daily services between JFK and the west coast or if the frequency cuts are still o their way.

Bottom Line

United’s booking systems are now showing that the airline’s new routes between JFK and LA/San Francisco will not launch until 28 March as was suggested last week. The booking system is, however, still showing that both new routes will offer a double-daily service from 1 April and that’s something that we were not expecting.


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