What to expect when it comes to the winter travel season
As the temperature drops, the holidays are over, and the winter season is officially underway, air travel sometimes takes on a new dimension. Whether you're a frequent flyer or an occasional traveler, knowing how to prepare for your trip and what to do at the airport before your flight can improve your overall travel experience. Below are some helpful tips to prepare for the winter travel season.
Preparing for weather
The first step in not letting the weather hinder your travel plans is to understand that weather changes constantly and can impact air travel at your departure city, your destination or anywhere in between. Flights could be delayed or canceled during heavy winter months, especially in cities frequently impacted by winter weather conditions like Chicago, Denver, and in the Northeast. When weather impacts our operations, we often issue travel waivers to help you make changes to your existing plans. Having an alternative plan will help you to be prepared with options if disruptions occur.
Flight delays and cancellations
Keeping up-to-date with current flight information on the day of travel is important. Be sure to have your reservation saved in the United app, which gives up-to-date information on your flight status. We encourage you to provide your phone number or email during flight check-in, so we can let you know if there are any changes to your trip. In the rare occasion that your flight is cancelled, knowing your options is an important step to getting your travel plans back on track.
While at the airport
Plan to give yourself a little extra time by arriving early at the airport. During peak travel times lines tend to be longer. By arriving early you'll be able to check bags, navigate TSA and grab snacks or coffee well before your departure time. Checking in online or on the United app prior to your arrival will save time as well. Before arriving at the airport, hop online to locate your gate along with eateries and amenities. Our new interactive airport maps, which can be accessed through the United app, will help you navigate every step of the way.
What to pack during winter travel
Packing during winter trips can be challenging, mostly because bulky coats and clothing can occupy most of your baggage space. Consider using space-saving techniques like vacuum-sealed bags to increase baggage space. Then, instead of wearing your biggest coat to the airport, wear multiple layers that can be removed if it gets too warm on the plane and there is limited space to store your coat. Finally, don't forget to pack essential items in your carry-on in case you experience a delay.
Winter travel is manageable. By preparing ahead of time and knowing some tricks, you can arrive to the airport confident and ready to navigate weather delays. A little extra time and effort this winter travel season can go a long way. Safe travels.
Calling all AvGeeks and travelers! Here's a fun way to take your next video call….from a United Polaris seat, the cockpit or cruising altitude. We're introducing United-themed backgrounds for use on Zoom, a video conferencing tool that many people are using to stay connected.
So for your next meeting or catch up with friends and family, download the app to either your computer or mobile device to get started. If you've already downloaded Zoom you can skip ahead to updating your background image (see instructions below).
- Start here by downloading your favorite United image to your computer or mobile device. Just click "download" in the bottom left corner of the image.
- Next go to your Zoom app (you'll need to download the app to access backgrounds) and click on the arrow to the right of your video camera icon in the bottom of the screen.
- From here select, "choose virtual background" to upload your uniquely United photo.
When and where possible, we are working to repatriate travelers who are stranded abroad in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis. Our teams are working closely with government officials here in the U.S. as well as in other countries where flying has been restricted to gain the necessary approvals to operate service. In regions where government actions have barred international flying, we have coordinated with the the U.S. State Department and local government officials to re-instate some flights. Additionally, we have been operating several extra flights to countries in Central America and South America as we continue to play a role in connecting people and uniting the world.
We have operated more than 56 repatriation flights from Panama City, Guatemala City, Quito, Lima, San Pedro Sula, Tegucigalpa and Roatan, bringing nearly 8,000 people home. We will continue working with government officials to operate extra flights to Houston from Quito, San Pedro Sula, Tegucigalpa and from Lima to Washington Dulles and beginning April 5, we will begin operating multiple charter flights between Delhi and San Francisco. We continue to review more opportunities for flights between the United States and other countries to bring citizens home.
Video provided by the U.S. Embassy Ecuador of Americans returning home on United.
Additionally, our Customer Solutions and Recovery team is working with customers in the following markets to rebook them on flights back to the United States as capacity allows, either on our aircraft or on one of our airline partners' planes:
- Quito, Ecuador
- Managua, Nicaragua
- Roatan, Honduras
- San Pedro Sula, Honduras
- Seoul, South Korea
- Melbourne, Australia
We also recently reinstated several international flights back into our schedule to support customers and essential businesses which depend on these routes. As a result, we will be the only airline to offer service between Newark/New York and London, San Francisco and Sydney, as well as Houston and São Paulo, Brazil.
In the midst of mobilizing our cargo operations, our teams at New York/Newark (EWR) and Jacksonville (JAX) stepped in to assist Roche Diagnostics with transporting a vital component for an instrument being used for COVID-19 testing.
The component was stuck at EWR en route to the Mayo Clinic in Florida after another airline's flights were cancelled. A Roche employee contacted us asking for help and, within a few hours, our teams had the piece loaded onto a Jacksonville-bound aircraft, with arrangements in place to deliver it to the Mayo Clinic.
The item we shipped will allow the Mayo Clinic in Florida to process hundreds of COVID-19 tests per day. Mayo Clinic Laboratories has been on the front lines of increasing testing capacity to expedite caring for patients at this critical time and working to ease the burden being felt at test processing laboratories in a growing number of areas.
Together, we are facing an unprecedented challenge. United Together, we rise to meet that challenge.