United Airlines is extending the suspension of both of its India routes until at least September 1st.
First it was the Pakistani airspace closure. Then it was saber-rattling over Iran. Then the Federal Aviation Administration banned flying in Iranian airspace. Now United is suspending its service between Newark and both New Delhi and Mumbai until September.
In an internal memo to employees obtained by Live and Let’s Fly, United outlined the reasons for its closures and how it would handle displaced passengers:
Given current events in the Middle East and the continued closure of Pakistani airspace, we have decided to suspend our service between EWR and BOM (Mumbai) and DEL (New Delhi) in India, resuming on Sept. 1, 2019 (eastbound). General managers of our India stations have remained in close touch with affected employees as we have made our recent service adjustments and are reaching out to update them on these latest changes. Our Flight Operations and Inflight Services Crew Scheduling teams are contacting all pilots and flight attendants who are scheduled to operate these flights.
We are also contacting our customers to update them and assist those who may need to make other travel arrangements, including rebooking on other airlines or offering full refunds. Additionally, we will remain in close contact with relevant government authorities throughout the suspension in order to provide our customers with the latest updates and most efficient travel experience under these circumstances.
What To Do If Your Flight Was Cancelled
If you booked your ticket with United and your flight was cancelled, expect to receive an auto-rebooking sometime this week, if not already. You’ll likely be rebooked on Lufthansa via Frankfurt. If the new routing does not work for you or if you are not rebooked at all, call United Reservations (+1.800.United1) to discuss your options. If you need to cancel or change the date, this schedule change is significant enough to do so without fee. A difference in fare may apply if your date change is significant.
You may find yourself in a tricker position if you booked award travel on these now-cancelled flights. Although United will do its best to accommodate you, this is often done at the mercy of available award space. I say often rather than always because there is no published rule on award flight cancellations. Some agents may re-book you on revenue flights. Others may tell you that you are out of luck and say your only option is to redeposit your miles.
Whatever the case, you win more with honey than vinegar. Be nice to agents and they will be nice back.
Hopefully the more serious geopolitical tensions in the region will have cooled down by September 1st. In the meantime, United is not taking any chances and suspending its India service for over two months.
Was I lied by the 1K agent over the phone on Sat that ‘no rebooking, no JV partners accomodation. Just full refund or a future travel voucher’ for my UA 83/82 in Aug.
You were lied to. Call again.
I was told the same thing. Maybe you have incorrect information Matthew.
You asked to be booked on Lufthansa and were told no?
Yes, that is correct. We have called in twice so far and have been told both times that they will not rebook us on Lufthansa or any other airline and that a refund/voucher is our only option. Absolutely ridiculous since flight prices for our travel dates have gone up quite a bit.
Nope, many readers have been rebooked. Sad that United is making your push for it.
We were told there is nothing available only option is to take the refund.
This is very upsetting to me.
We plan to visit my family after 3 years and it’s just unreal that nothing can be done
Just curious, were you speaking to an agent in the USA or in the Philippines?
Originally booked LAX-DEL on 7/3, this got cancelled and United re-booked us on EWR-BOM with a connection up to DEL the next day on Air India. After UA’s BOM service was suspended, United re-booked us again, admittedly with some effort, via the Pacific on a United/ANA combo via Narita. Excited to be trying ANA’s biz cabin NRT-DEL! There are a lot of options out there with various Star Alliance carriers if you are willing to be creative with the routing. BTW this is our sixth trip to India within a twelve-month period, so we are well aware of the difficulties and complications that often arise in travel to and in that part of the world.
Just curious, why do you travel to India so much?
My husband is Indian and has family there that we visit, as well as doing business
Hi Matthew, as a data point, I had 2 trips booked on the EWR-BOM flight and neither got rebooked automatically. The 6/26 flight was rebooked on Lufthansa after HUCA. Initially, the agent insisted that they couldn’t put me on Lufthansa as my UA48 flight was not canceled. I am Plat in Premium Plus. They other one in economy for 7/8 was waitlisted after multiple calls. And I finally gave up and booked on AF.
United doesn’t care a damn about these passengers. Countless hrs spent on customer care for rebooking, 3/4 family members rebooked, my 7 yr old left behind. Countless hrs spent again and still no solution for my 7 yr old. Nightmarish experience and still not over
We have the same issue as we are flying 6/26. They have booked us via London but not sure whether flight from London is truly confirmed via Air India
We have the same situation, United is giving us hell lot of problems, my flight is on 7/4, UA48 got canceled my travel agent is trying and saying everyday different options from last 5 days but nothing confirmed yet, they don’t understand how hard and emotional for us to cancel India trip after planning from last 6 months, planned all activities in India and lot of shopping for the trip, really disappointing.
We can’t even book new tickets for family of 4 they are too costly 2000+/ticket, this is really un-acceptable, I will never-ever fly with United again.
I was initially told only refund, but then the agent said, let me try. After 30 minutes on hold, she came back with a re-route through London to DEL EWR to LHR and then Air India to DEL My return is 9/3, so that is still intact…for now.
Called on 06/24. I was told that only like class fares could be changed to. As no availability existed for our fare class, I was told I’d have to wait till 3 days before flight (07/20) in order to be rebooked or take refund. Called right back and got changed into LH via FRA. Both times were Phillipines based. Spent close to 2 hours including hold time.