The safety of our customers and employees is and always will be our top priority. The dynamic nature of this outbreak requires us to be flexible in how we respond, provide service and protect our customers and employees.
- United together: Read the latest from our CEO, Oscar Munoz
- MileagePlus Premier status extension: We are extending current Premier status levels to January 31, 2022. We are also lowering thresholds for premier qualification by 50% for 2021 status, meaning that travels you already completed this year, as well as travel you take later this year, can help you reach an even higher status tier for next year. Learn more about the steps we're taking, like extending PlusPoints and subscription expiration dates, to thank you for your loyalty.
- Changes to your travel plans: To help with the uncertainty around future travel — be it summer vacations, conferences, events and more — customers now have until April 30 to make changes to, or cancel, any travel they have booked through the end of the year without fees. This is in addition to existing waivers already in place which allow customers to change or cancel plans for travel through May 31. If you decide to cancel your flight, you can retain the value of your ticket to be applied to a new ticket without a fee. These electronic travel certificates are now valid for 24 months from the date they were issued. This includes all currently valid electronic certificates and all new ones issued on or after April 1, 2020. You might not see this policy change reflected everywhere right away – we appreciate your patience as we work to make that happen. See details.
- Resources: It is important to us that everyone gets the assistance they need. If you want to change or cancel and rebook your flight, you can do so on united.com and the United mobile app — a phone call is not required. Get step-by-step instructions.
- Free flights for medical volunteers: We are offering free, round-trip flights to medical personnel to get to the New York City area to assist in the wake of COVID-19, and we'll be doing so for additional regions in the coming days. Our United family is profoundly grateful for the healthcare heroes who are working tirelessly on the frontline of the COVID-19 crisis. See here to learn more or volunteer.
- Repatriation and cargo flights: We have operated more than 68 flights, bringing nearly 9,200 people home. We continue to review more opportunities for flights between the U.S. and other countries to repatriate citizens. We are also utilizing our network capabilities and personnel to get vital shipments, such as mail and supplies for military families and medical supplies to areas that need them most.
How we're taking action from before takeoff to after landing
Booking and changing travel
- Rescheduling a trip: Customers now have until April 30 to make changes to, or cancel, any travel they have booked through the end of the year without fees. This is in addition to existing waivers already in place which allow customers to change or cancel plans for travel through May 31. If you decide to cancel your flight, you can retain the value of your ticket to be applied to a new ticket without a fee. These electronic travel certificates are now valid for 24 months from the date they were issued. This includes all currently valid electronic certificates and all new ones issued on or after April 1, 2020. You might not see this policy change reflected everywhere right away -- we appreciate your patience as we work to make that happen. See waiver details.
- How to change or cancel your flight: If you want to change or cancel and rebook your flight, you can do so on united.com and the United mobile app -- a phone call is not required. View step-by-step instructions.
- Booking a new flight: When you book a flight with us between March 3 and April 30, 2020, you can change it for free over the next 12 months. See terms and conditions.
- International and domestic schedule updates: While our international schedule will be reduced by about 90% in April, we will continue flying six daily operations to and from the following destinations — covering Asia, Australia, Latin America, the Middle East and Europe — in an effort to get customers where they need to be. This remains a fluid situation, but United continues to play a role in connecting people and uniting the world, especially in these challenging times. Learn more about our repatriation efforts and see our international and domestic schedule changes here.
- For more information visit https://www.united.com/ual/en/us/fly/travel/notices.html
At the airport
- As travel demand continues to drop and we reduce our schedule accordingly, we're suspending all PetSafe and military pet transportation until further notice. If you have an upcoming booking for your pet, our PetSafe team will contact you directly to confirm the cancellation. Our team plans to contact customers in the order of originally scheduled departure dates, so there's no need to call to cancel your pet's travel. We'll continue to monitor the situation and provide the latest updates on our PetSafe page.
- TSA is now allowing passengers to bring liquid hand sanitizer up to 12 oz in carry-on bags until further notice. You should expect that these containers — larger than the standard of 3.4 oz of liquids — will need to be screened separately, which will add some time to checkpoint screening.
- In accordance with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendation to practice social distancing, we are giving customers the opportunity to do so on our aircraft when flights permit. Our customer service representatives will proactively reseat customers prior to door closure when loads and time permit.
- The coronavirus outbreak continues to have a significant impact on travel demand. As a result, we've temporarily suspended operations at our United Polaris® lounges. For the most up-to-date information, visit our lounge locations page.
- We ensure regular disinfection of common surfaces inside our airport terminals.
- We're providing hand sanitizer for use in our crew and break rooms, lounges and gates.
- For passengers requiring a wheelchair, our cleaning and sanitizing specifications include wiping down all touch-points including push bar, brake handle, armrests, seat cushion and foot bar with wipes after every use. At the end of each day, we also spray a sanitizing disinfectant (in addition to the wipes) on all surfaces.
Prepping the aircraft before you board
All aircraft are cleaned at a variety of touchpoints throughout the day.
- The cleaning procedure for flights includes a thorough wipe down of all touch-points (lavatories, galleys, tray tables, window shades and armrests).
- United uses an effective, high-grade disinfectant and multi-purpose cleaner.
- We will begin utilizing electrostatic sprayers as an extra step in the cleaning process to disinfect widebody aircraft arriving from international destinations starting at EWR and rolling out to other hub airport locations. The sprayers will be utilized with an EPA approved disinfectant.
That aircraft is taken out of service and sent through a full decontamination process that includes our standard cleaning procedures plus washing ceilings and overhead bins and scrubbing the interior.
While you are in flight
- Our customers will be encouraged to scan their own boarding pass when boarding, and our gate agents will offer assistance when needed.
- Most United aircraft are equipped with state-of-the-art circulation systems, similar to those found in hospitals, which use a high-efficiency (HEPA) filter to circulate the air and removes up to 99.7% of airborne particles.
- To limit person-to-person contamination, we have instituted the following procedures on board:
- We have stopped refilling used cups and glasses in all cabins and now only make refills in new cups or glasses.
- Customers may now see flight attendants wearing gloves during food and beverage service and pick-up in all cabins.
- Flight attendants will now hand all beverages directly to the customer, instead of allowing the customer to take their own from the tray.
- Customers may be asked to recycle or throw away their garbage directly into our Eco-Skies and white garbage bags or trash carts.
- We're temporarily adjusting our inflight service as of March 29 and will be moving to primarily pre-packaged foods and sealed beverages. Preorder meals and food for purchase will not be available. We're also unable to offer special meals except for Kosher meals on flights to and from Tel Aviv.
- All tableware, dishes, cutlery, carts and glassware are washed and sanitized.
- We've added supplies for our crews on segments flown to Alert Level 2 zones* and upward: gloves, masks, alcohol-based hand sanitizer, Sani-Com wipes, foaming hand soap, and disinfectant wipes as supply becomes available.
- *Alert Level 2 zones, as defined by the CDC, can be found here.
- We clean and prep the aircraft again using the methods described above for the next set of passengers.
What can you do?
According to the CDC and the National Safety Council, and the WHO:
- Wash your hands often – and thoroughly - with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
- Alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol content is a good secondary option
- Cover your nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing
- Avoid touching your nose, mouth and eyes with unwashed hands
- Use gloves and masks as needed
- Get a flu shot if you haven't already
- If you're sick – stay home
Our 24/7 contact with experts informs our response
- Our teams are in daily contact with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO), federal agencies and other global health organizations to share the most up-to-the-minute information.
- United has a team of in-house professionals who review and test cleaning products and a corporate medical team who are working around the clock.
- United also partners with International SOS/MedAire, an organization that gives all employees ready access to a doctor for advice and assistance when they are on business outside their home country.