Facing an aircraft shortage as it awaits the return of its fleet of Boeing 777-200 jets with Pratt & Whitney engines, United Airlines has trimmed its June schedule, suspending a number of routes.
United Airlines Suspends Summer Longhaul Routes, Blaming 777 Aircraft Delay
52 777-200 jets remain grounded and that is forcing United to make last-minute changes to its summer schedules. The aircraft were grounded as a precautionary measure in February 2021 after a fan blade incident onboard a Denver – Honolulu flight. These planes were scheduled to be re-introduced into the schedule in May 2022, but have again be delayed. A source tells Live and Let’s Fly that the planes are structurally ready to fly, but are experiencing oil servicing equipment issues.
In a rather last-minute move, United Airlines is suspending the following flights during the month of June:
- Newark (EWR) ⇄
- Honolulu (HNL)
- Maui (OGG)
- Tokyo (NRT)
- San Francisco (SFO) ⇄
- United is suspending its afternoon service on UA58/59, but will still operate its evening UA926/927 service
- Washington Dulles (IAD) ⇄
- Dublin (DUB)
- Geneva (GVA)
- Honolulu (HNL)
- São Paulo (GRU)
Furthermore, Ethan Klapper noted that United is dropping its Newark – Stockholm (ARN) service altogether. That seasonal route, which last ran in 2019, was scheduled to run from late May to October.
Passengers booked on these flights will be re-accomodated on other routes or be eligible for a refund if they no longer wish to travel on a one-stop itinerary. Practically, airfare has continued to rise and trying to find cheaper or comparable accommodation on other carriers at this late in the game will be difficult.
United did not provide much details via a statement or on background, simply offering its boilerplate schedule change verbiage:
“United makes regular adjustments to our schedule in response to factors including resources such as available aircraft. We look forward to bringing back this flying soon.”
Tip: if your United schedule is impacted, you can make lemonade out of lemons by looking up a suitable alternate routing on United or a joint-venture partner like Air Canada, Lufthansa, or SWISS, regardless of price, and proposing it to the agent when you call to rebook. Check the United app as well, which may offer a number of suitable rebooking options.
United is making last-minute schedule adjustments as it continues to await the return of its 777 subfleet featuring Pratt & Whitney engines. Several routes are impacted, including destinations in Europe, Asia, South America, and Hawaii. Check your itineraries and if you have been hit with a schedule change, research your options before reaching out to United for rebooking.
image: United Airlines
This move by United has completely screwed me. I had a flight booked from Newark to Kuala Lumpur for early June booked – bought it for $650 back in January, had a confirmed plus point upgrade for the EWR-NRT leg, yet now I’m completely out of luck. SUPER annoying. My 1k status doesn’t mean a thing to them.
This should not be an issue rebooking EWR-SFO/LAX-NRT and preserving the upgrade. Keep pushing. Try Twitter.
Hope that’s true. From my experience they usually only rebook into the same class of service that was originally purchased. No?
No. I just had a LAX-ORD flight cancelled (LAX-ORD-PIT) and they rebooked me from LAX-EWR-PIT and kept my upgrade intact even though there was no PZ space.
I had that issue last year, I was scheduled on a flight from Denver to London last summer and was upgraded, and when that flight got taken off the schedule they automatically rebooked me on a Newark to London flight keeping my upgrade, but I didn’t want to connect in Newark so I called and they let me switch to any other London flight even if there wasn’t PZ.
Just call them I’m sure they will let you switch to a LAX or SFO flight, and you should get to keep your upgrade on the EWR-LAX flight as well in addition to the NRT one.
@ pm above …. yes, United completely decided to leave those planes grounded on purpose and screw you royaly. Are you serious?? You clearly have no concept of the process it takes for having 52 airplanes certified by the FAA. Trust me, no one at the airline is happy about this move.
By the same token, all of us pilots and flight crews are screwed with less flight schedules for the beginning of the busy summer season. It’s a disappointment to everyone.
Same here. I had three seats in Biz-first for SFO to IAD non-stop using a 777-300ER. Now we have to connect thru Orlando and we arrive into IAD much later in the evening.
You were flying nonstop from SFO-IAD and they rebooked you on a connecting flight in Orlando? That seems like a strange rerouting option.
I guess the 777 originally scheduled had 60 first class seats and the 737 that replaced it only had 20 or so so you were an unlucky one that got booted off the flight? You should ask them for compensation.
Interesting that these are the routes they’re choosing to cut. Perhaps Hawaii demand is falling? I am heading there in a couple weeks and things don’t seem as crazy as they did a few months back.
I am very surprised to see EWR-HNL get cut. Maui would make sense but HNL seems strange.
I’ve been watching UA TATL flights in June for PZ space, and I see a lot of less-than-half-full flights with no PZ and business class prices going up to the $7K range. So I am guessing that reducing capacity will work out for them.
I wonder where they are allocating these aircraft. I mean, these routes have been flying already during the issues with the 777-200. IAD-GVA for example has been a 767-300. So, is it because they need that plane on another route?
Starting in June, the transcon routes pretty much move to exclusively widebody. For example, right now there are 8 daily flights between LAX and EWR, and only 3 are operated by wide bodies. In June, 7 of the 8 flights are operated by wide bodies, so this is where they are putting a lot of these planes, and they need that 767 that was going to Geneva to replace a 777 route.
The 10pm IAD to FRA flight was scheduled to be operated on a 777 but got switched to a 767 so that’s am example of where it could have gone.
What is taking the FAA so long to issue the final AD (airworthiness directive) for the Pratt and Whitney 777s? Although the FAA issued a draft AD back in March and was supposed to have issued a final AD in April they still haven’t done so. Without the final AD from the FAA United can’t return any of their Pratt and Whitney aircraft to service.
United originally thought they would have their Pratt and Whitney 777s back in service in Q1 of 2022 after all the FAA did sign off on Boeing and Pratt and Whitney’s fix back in early February, which gave United hope that a final AD would be coming shortly but so far all the FAA has published is the draft AD.
absolutely.. FAA is majorly to blame. Many here love the easy way out and bash United…. yet if it was DL, it would be a different argument. lol
Wow, this is very unfortunate. I am surprised to see routes like Newark to Honolulu suspended. I would ha be though they would have just taken away frequencies on international routes that have multiple daily frequencies.
Matthew – a few people commented on one of your Friday posts that United is resorting the full Polaris catering service on June 1, can you confirm tuis?
Don’t forget that 261/2004 will apply to the European routes.
Not if the change was made with adequate notice.
Notice only comes into play for compensation- the duty of care element remains regardless. I have twice gotten hitels reimbursed as a result of cancellations of this sort made well before two weeks from departure. The best(?) was KL who cancelled my 19;00 MAN-AMS departure and put me on the previous flight which meant I would be losing most of the working day. They agreed to put me on an overnight connection with AF but reneged on their promise to reimburse me for the hotel at CDG, so they ended up covering both that and the court fees (they didn’t even attempt to defend the case, just paid up when the court papers landed on their desk).
They also cut one of the SFO-FRA-SFO flights: with less than 4 weeks notice. Now I have to fly BUR-SFO-IAD-FRA. And FRA-IAH-LAX back. An extra 5 hours going and an extra 3 hours back. And I lost the great seats I had reserved last Sept 2021. And…I can’t get back to BUR (near me) to avoid the especially God-awful LAX currently under construction at every angle. And the extra hour to get home from LAX…nice. But at least I only had to wait 2 and 1/2 hours online on their messaging app to get through to an agent to refund my Priority Boarding I had purchased for a flight no longer on my itinerary, since UA did not do so automatically. I can’t wait to see what else UA has in store for me…
I mentioned the SFO-FRA cut. Too bad timing for DEN-FRA flight does not work with 1X daily FRA service going east.
Is FRA your final destination? Just take the nonstop LAX LHR and then connect on to FRA.
I use the LAX LHR nonstop as the gateway to Europe for all my LAX clients.
I’m booked R/T LAX to Rome through EWR, flight out on May 28. I booked in February and chose a 10:15am flight out of LA that had a 777 Polaris cabin. In April they switched the equipment to a domestic 777 with those awful “barracks” seats in first (facing backwards and forwards) which I am thinking is one of the returning planes. Now this flight is not showing up anywhere on their schedule, and when I call they just tell me it’s sold out. None of the other nonstops on this route are sold out – but that one is? Every day? Ethan Klapper’s article says they will have some aircraft return on May 26, but they have been saying this every month since February. I think I am in for a nightmare on the 28th. My first class ticket is only changeable with a re-price, which is now about $4000 higher than when I booked. I feel like I can see a storm coming and can’t even take cover 🙂