United suspends substantial operations to Europe after March 19th

United has been the most aggressive U.S. carrier in scaling back their operations due to the coronavirus outbreak, which the World Health Organization has now declared as a pandemic.  With bookings down 70% for the past month and with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security banning all non-U.S. resident travel to/from Europe, United was quick to respond by suspending many of their European routes after next Thursday, March 19, 2020.  After next Thursday, United is "expected" to only fly the following routes:

  • Fly daily to Zurich, Brussels, Paris, Amsterdam, Machnester and Edinburgh
  • Maintain ‘multiple flights’ to Frankfurt and Munich
  • Operate 18 flights a day to London (the U.K. is not covered by the current travel restriction)
  • Operate 3 flights a day to Dublin (Ireland is not part of the Schengen area and thus not covered by the current restriction)
  • Offer ‘less than daily’ service to Lisbon
That represents a substantial cutback in their service as United flies to pretty much all major European airports.  I would presume that their anticipated "multiple flights" schedule to Frankfurt and Munich would rely largely on their partner Lufthansa's operations, as the two carriers share a joint venture agreement.

Quick thoughts

It's no surprise to see United take the "front lines" in significantly reducing their capacity to Europe based on the coronavirus travel ban.  I would expect American Airlines, Delta, and the European carriers to also follow suit as demand wanes.  Remember that even if your flight isn't canceled, you can still change it without a fee.


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