United Airlines Boeing 787-8 Dream)Liner reg. N30913 taking off from Milan Malpensa Airport (MXP). Photo: Alberto Cucini - @ac_avphoto

MIAMI – United Airlines (UA) expects Thanksgiving week to be its busiest since March as customers travel to visit friends and family for the holiday.

This year, UA is anticipating approximately 50% of UA customers flying for Thanksgiving are booking travel less than 30 days prior to departure compared to last year when around 40% of them booked less than 30 days before the holiday.

To help customers this holiday season, UA is adding more than 1,400 domestic flights during the week of Thanksgiving and is monitoring bookings in real-time to swap in larger aircraft when needed to accommodate last-minute demand.

PHOTO: Luca Flores

December Domestic Schedule Highlights


In December, UA intends to fly 52% of its domestic schedule compared to December 2019, which is a 3-point increase compared to November 2020.

The airline is adding more departures to provide customers with more options to get to their destination this holiday season.

With these changes, UA expects to operate more than 200 additional departures on peak days during the holiday period. Highlights of UA’s December schedule include:

  • Additional service to popular warm-weather destinations in Florida and Hawaii, including Fort Lauderdale, Fort Meyers, Tampa, Miami, and Palm Beach in Florida and Honolulu, Maui, Kona, and Lihue in Hawaii.
  • In Hawaii, UA will reintroduce service between Los Angeles and Hilo, Chicago, and Maui, as well as between New York/Newark and Honolulu for the holiday period. UA will also increase service on 13 Hawaii routes beginning December 17.
  • UA will also begin six new routes between Fort Myers, Florida, and Columbus, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, and Pittsburgh, between New York/LaGuardia and Palm Beach, and between Milwaukee and Tampa beginning December 17.

United Airlines will also increase service to popular ski destinations, including Aspen, Jackson Hole, Steamboat Springs, and Vail, with over 580 weekly roundtrips beginning December 17.

United Airlines. Photo Luca Flores

December International Schedule Highlights


In December, UA intends to fly 43% of its international schedule compared to December 2019, which is a 4-point increase compared to November 2020.

The airline is seeing an increase in demand to beach destinations internationally as well, specifically to Central America, Mexico and the Caribbean. December international schedule highlights include:

  • Operating 40 additional daily international roundtrips compared to November.
  • Launching 36 new and returning routes including eight new destinations in Latin America.
  • Increasing service on 84 additional routes to 33 destinations in Latin America including Liberia, Cancun, Aruba, Nassau and Punta Cana.
  • Growing service to India, with new nonstop service between Chicago and New Delhi starting December 10 and increasing service between San Francisco and New Delhi to daily.
  • Increasing service between San Francisco and Taipei; Los Angeles and Sydney; and New York/Newark and Brussels, Belgium.
United Boeing 787-9 in Evo Blue Livery. Photo: Tyler Lorenz

Statement from United Airlines


Ankit Gupta, UA’s vice president of Network Planning and Scheduling, said, “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.”

“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.”


Featured image: United Airlines Boeing 787-8 Dream)Liner reg. N30913 taking off from Milan Malpensa Airport (MXP). Photo: Alberto Cucini – @ac_avphoto