United Announces Full-Year and Fourth-Quarter 2014 Profit - United Hub

United Announces Full-Year and Fourth-Quarter 2014 Profit

UAL Reports $1.97 Billion Full-Year Profit Excluding Special Items; $1.13 Billion Profit Including Special Items
January 22, 2015

CHICAGO, Jan. 22, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- United Airlines (UAL) today reported full-year 2014 net income of $1.97 billion, an increase of 89 percent year-over-year, or $5.06 per diluted share, excluding $834 million of special items. Including special items, UAL reported full-year net income of $1.13 billion, or $2.93 per diluted share. UAL reported fourth-quarter 2014 net income of $461 million, an increase of 86 percent year-over-year, or $1.20 per diluted share, excluding $433 million of special items. Including special items, UAL reported fourth-quarter 2014 net income of $28 million, or $0.07 per diluted share.

  • UAL earned a 12.9 percent return on invested capital in 2014.
  • United's consolidated passenger revenue per available seat mile (PRASM) increased 1.6 percent for full-year 2014 compared to full-year 2013.
  • Full-year 2014 consolidated unit costs (CASM), excluding special charges, third-party business expenses, fuel and profit sharing, increased 1.3 percent year-over-year on a consolidated capacity increase of 0.3 percent. Full-year 2014 CASM, including those items, decreased 1.6 percent year-over-year.
  • In 2014, United returned approximately $320 million to shareholders as part of its previously announced $1 billion share buyback program. In addition, throughout the year, United spent $310 million to retire convertible debt that was convertible into approximately 5.8 million shares of UAL common stock.
  • Employees earned $235 million in profit sharing for full-year 2014, which will be distributed on Feb. 13.
  • UAL ended the year with $5.7 billion in unrestricted liquidity.

"Thanks to the good work of the United team, we reported a $2 billion profit for 2014, excluding special items," said Jeff Smisek, UAL's chairman, president and chief executive officer. "We're starting 2015 as a better airline, and we expect to generate far better results. I'm excited about what we will do this year to improve our operations, our product, and our customer service, focusing on growing our core earnings and margins. For the first quarter, we expect our pre-tax margin to be between 5 and 7 percent, excluding special items."

Fourth-Quarter Revenue and Capacity

For the fourth quarter of 2014, total revenue was $9.3 billion, a decrease of 0.2 percent year-over-year. Fourth-quarter consolidated passenger revenue increased 1.3 percent to $8.1 billion, compared to the same period in 2013. Ancillary revenue per passenger in the fourth quarter increased 9.7 percent year-over-year to more than $22 per passenger. Fourth-quarter cargo revenue grew 18.2 percent to $260 million driven by higher volumes year-over-year, as cargo traffic recovered from the prior year's lower bookings. Other revenue in the fourth quarter decreased 14.3 percent year-over-year to $970 million mostly due to the company choosing to discontinue an agreement to sell fuel to a third party. The corresponding expense decline appears in third-party business expense.

Consolidated revenue passenger miles increased 0.1 percent and consolidated available seat miles increased 0.9 percent year-over-year for the fourth quarter, resulting in a fourth-quarter consolidated load factor of 81.7 percent.

Fourth-quarter 2014 consolidated PRASM increased 0.4 percent and consolidated yield increased 1.3 percent compared to the fourth quarter of 2013.

Passenger revenue for the fourth quarter of 2014 and period-to-period comparisons of related statistics for UAL's mainline and regional operations are as follows:

 

Fourth-Quarter Costs

Fourth-quarter consolidated CASM, excluding special charges, third-party business expense, fuel and profit sharing, increased 1.2 percent compared to the fourth quarter of 2013.  Fourth-quarter consolidated CASM including those items decreased 5.3 percent.

Fourth-quarter total operating expenses, excluding special charges, decreased $420 million, or 4.7 percent, year-over-year. Including special charges, total operating expenses decreased $406 million, or 4.5 percent, in the fourth quarter versus the same period in 2013.

Fourth-Quarter Liquidity and Cash Flow

UAL ended the fourth quarter with $5.7 billion in unrestricted liquidity, including $1.35 billion of undrawn commitments under its revolving credit facility. During the fourth quarter, the company had gross capital expenditures of $1 billion, excluding fully reimbursable projects. The company made debt and capital lease principal payments of $534 million in the fourth quarter, including prepayment of $248 million of convertible debt that was convertible into approximately 4.3 million shares of United common stock.

As part of United's $1 billion share buyback program, the company spent approximately $100 million in share repurchases in the fourth quarter. For the year, United returned a total of approximately $320 million to shareholders through share repurchases and open market transactions. In addition, for the year the company spent $310 million to retire convertible debt that was convertible into approximately 5.8 million shares.       

For the 12 months ended Dec. 31, 2014, the company's return on invested capital was 12.9 percent.

"In 2014 we made significant progress towards creating long-term value for our investors while providing a better experience for our customers," said John Rainey, UAL's executive vice president and chief financial officer. "Our solid cost performance in 2014 was driven by executing on our Project Quality efficiency initiatives. As our cost initiatives mature throughout 2015, we anticipate that 2015 consolidated CASM, excluding fuel and third-party business expense, will be approximately flat."

For more information on United's first-quarter 2015 guidance, please visit ir.united.com for the company's investor update.

About United

United Airlines and United Express operate an average of 5,055 flights a day to 373 airports across six continents. In 2014, United and United Express operated nearly two million flights carrying 138 million customers. United is proud to have the world's most comprehensive route network, including U.S. mainland hubs in Chicago, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, New York/Newark, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. United operates nearly 700 mainline aircraft, and this year, the airline anticipates taking delivery of 34 new Boeing aircraft, including the 787-9 and the 737-900ER. United is also welcoming 49 new Embraer 175 aircraft to United Express. The airline is a founding member of Star Alliance, which provides service to 193 countries via 27 member airlines. More than 84,000 United employees reside in every U.S. state and in countries around the world. For more information, visit united.com, follow @United on Twitter or connect on Facebook. The common stock of United's parent, United Continental Holdings, Inc., is traded on the NYSE under the symbol UAL.

Safe Harbor Statement under the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995: Certain statements included in this release are forward-looking and thus reflect our current expectations and beliefs with respect to certain current and future events and financial performance. Such forward-looking statements are and will be subject to many risks and uncertainties relating to our operations and business environment that may cause actual results to differ materially from any future results expressed or implied in such forward-looking statements. Words such as "expects," "will," "plans," "anticipates," "indicates," "believes," "forecast," "guidance," "outlook" and similar expressions are intended to identify forward-looking statements. Additionally, forward-looking statements include statements that do not relate solely to historical facts, such as statements which identify uncertainties or trends, discuss the possible future effects of current known trends or uncertainties or which indicate that the future effects of known trends or uncertainties cannot be predicted, guaranteed or assured. All forward-looking statements in this report are based upon information available to us on the date of this report. We undertake no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future events, changed circumstances or otherwise, except as required by applicable law. Our actual results could differ materially from these forward-looking statements due to numerous factors including, without limitation, the following: our ability to comply with the terms of our various financing arrangements; the costs and availability of financing; our ability to maintain adequate liquidity; our ability to execute our operational plans, including optimizing our revenue; our ability to control our costs, including realizing benefits from our resource optimization efforts, cost reduction initiatives and fleet replacement programs; our ability to utilize our net operating losses; our ability to attract and retain customers; demand for transportation in the markets in which we operate; an outbreak of a disease that affects travel demand or travel behavior; demand for travel and the impact that global economic conditions have on customer travel patterns; excessive taxation and the inability to offset future taxable income; general economic conditions (including interest rates, foreign currency exchange rates, investment or credit market conditions, crude oil prices, costs of aircraft fuel and energy refining capacity in relevant markets); our ability to cost-effectively hedge against increases in the price of aircraft fuel; any potential realized or unrealized gains or losses related to fuel or currency hedging programs; the effects of any hostilities, act of war or terrorist attack; the ability of other air carriers with whom we have alliances or partnerships to provide the services contemplated by the respective arrangements with such carriers; the costs and availability of aviation and other insurance; industry consolidation or changes in airline alliances; competitive pressures on pricing and on demand; our capacity decisions and the capacity decisions of our competitors; U.S. or foreign governmental legislation, regulation and other actions (including open skies agreements and environmental regulations); labor costs; our ability to maintain satisfactory labor relations and the results of the collective bargaining agreement process with our union groups; any disruptions to operations due to any potential actions by our labor groups; weather conditions; the possibility that expected merger synergies will not be realized or will not be realized within the expected time period; and other risks and uncertainties set forth under Item 1A., Risk Factors, of UAL's Annual Report on Form 10-K, as well as other risks and uncertainties set forth from time to time in the reports we file with the SEC.

-tables attached-

 

 

 

 

2014 - Special items

 

Severance and benefit costs: During the fourth quarter of 2014, the company recorded $141 million of costs related primarily to a voluntary early-out program for its flight attendants. More than 2,500 participants elected a one-time opportunity to voluntarily separate from the company and will receive a severance payment, with a maximum value of $100,000 per participant, based on years of service, with retirement dates from November 30, 2014 through the end of 2015. The company will record additional expense associated with this program through 2015 over the remaining required service periods. In addition to the fourth quarter item, during the year ended December 31, 2014, the company recorded $58 million of severance and benefits primarily related to reductions of management and front-line employees, including from Cleveland airport, as part of its cost savings initiatives. The company is currently evaluating its options regarding its long-term contractual commitments at Cleveland. The capacity reductions at Cleveland may result in further special charges, which could be significant, related to our contractual commitments.

   
 

Integration-related costs: Integration-related costs include compensation costs related to systems integration, training, severance and relocation for employees.

 

 

Impairment of assets: During the fourth quarter of 2014, the company recorded a charge of $16 million ($10 million net of related income tax benefits) related to its annual assessment of impairment of its indefinite-lived intangible assets (primarily international Pacific routes). In addition to the fourth quarter item, during the year ended December 31, 2014, the company recorded $33 million for charges related primarily to impairment of its flight equipment held for disposal associated with its Boeing 737-300 and 737-500 fleets.

   
 

Costs associated with permanently grounding Embraer ERJ 135 aircraft: During the year ended December 31, 2014, the company recorded $66 million for the permanent grounding of 21 of the company's Embraer ERJ 135 regional aircraft under lease through 2018, which includes an accrual for remaining lease payments and an amount for maintenance return conditions. As a result of the current fuel prices, new Embraer 175 regional jet deliveries and impact of pilot shortages at regional carriers, the company decided to permanently ground these 21 Embraer ERJ 135 aircraft. The company continues to operate nine Embraer ERJ 135 aircraft and will assess the possibility of grounding those aircraft when the term of the current capacity purchase contract ends.

   
 

Loss on extinguishment of debt and other special charges, net: On October 10, 2014, United used cash to retire, at par, the entire $248 million principal balance of the 6% Convertible Junior Subordinated Debentures and the 6% Convertible Preferred Securities, Term Income Deferrable Equity Securities (TIDES). The $53 million expense is primarily associated with the write-off of non-cash debt discounts recorded on the TIDES due to purchase accounting during the merger with Continental Airlines in 2010.

   
 

MTM losses from fuel hedges settling in future periods and prior period gains (losses) on fuel contracts settled in the current period: The company utilizes certain derivative instruments that are economic hedges but do not qualify for hedge accounting under U.S. generally accepted accounting principles. The company records changes in the fair value of these economic hedges to Nonoperating income (expense): Miscellaneous, net in the statements of consolidated operations. During the three and twelve months ended December 31, 2014, the company recorded $225 million and $244 million, respectively, in MTM losses on economic hedges that will settle in future periods. For economic hedges that settled in the three and twelve months ended December 31, 2014, the company recorded MTM gains (losses) of ($18) million and $83 million, respectively, in prior periods. The figures above also include an insignificant amount of ineffectiveness on hedges that are designated for hedge accounting.

   
 

2013 - Special items

 

Severance and benefit costs: During the fourth quarter of 2013, the company recorded a $91 million severance and benefit special charge. The company offered a voluntary retirement program for its fleet service, passenger service, storekeeper and pilot workgroups. Approximately 1,200 employees volunteered during the fourth quarter and United recorded approximately $64 million of costs for the programs. The company also offered a voluntary leave of absence program that approximately 1,100 flight attendants accepted, which allowed for continued medical coverage during the leave of absence period, resulting in a charge of approximately $12 million. The remaining $15 million of severance and benefit costs is related to involuntary severance programs associated with other workgroups. During the year ended December 31, 2013, the company recorded a $14 million charge associated with a voluntary program offered by United in which flight attendants took an unpaid 13-month leave of absence. The flight attendants received medical benefits and other company benefits while on leave under this program. Approximately 1,300 flight attendants opted to participate in the program.

   
 

Integration-related costs: Integration-related costs included compensation costs related to systems integration and training, branding activities, new uniforms, write-off or acceleration of depreciation on systems and facilities that were no longer used or planned to be used for significantly shorter periods, relocation for employees and severance primarily associated with administrative headcount reductions.

   
 

Impairment of assets: During the year ended December 31, 2013, the company recorded $32 million of charges related primarily to impairment of its flight equipment held for disposal associated with its 737-300 and 737-500 fleets and a $1 million charge associated with a route to Manila to reflect the estimated fair value of this asset as part of its annual impairment test of indefinite-lived intangible assets.

   
 

Labor agreements costs: On September 26, 2013, the company announced that it had reached tentative agreements with respect to joint collective bargaining agreements with the International Association of Machinists for the fleet service, passenger service and storekeeper workgroups. The company recorded a $127 million special charge associated with lump sum cash payments that would be made in conjunction with the ratification of the agreements. The agreements were ratified and the payments were made in the fourth quarter of 2013.

   
 

Losses on sale of assets and other special (gains) losses, net: During the year ended December 31, 2013, the company recorded $18 million associated with the temporary grounding of its Boeing 787 aircraft. The charges were comprised of aircraft depreciation expense and dedicated personnel costs that the company incurred while the aircraft were grounded. The aircraft returned to service in May 2013. During the fourth quarter of 2013, the company recorded approximately $11 million in accruals for future rent associated with the early retirement of four leased 757-200 aircraft, offset by $5 million in gains on the sale of aircraft and a $5 million adjustment in legal reserves. In addition to the fourth quarter items, during the year ended December 31, 2013, the company adjusted its reserves for certain legal matters by $34 million, recorded a $5 million gain related to a contract termination and recorded $2 million in losses on the sale of assets.

   
 

MTM gains from fuel hedges settling in future periods and prior period gains on fuel contracts settled in the current period: During the three and twelve months ended December 31, 2013, the company recorded $59 million and $84 million, respectively, in MTM gains on economic hedges that settled in later periods. For economic hedges that settled in the three and twelve months ended December 31, 2013, the company recorded MTM gains of $9 million and $39 million, respectively, in prior periods. The figures above also include an insignificant amount of ineffectiveness on hedges that are designated for hedge accounting.

     

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No federal income tax expense was recognized related to the company's pretax income for the three months ended December 31, 2014, and 2013 and the year ended December 31, 2014, and 2013 due to the utilization of book net operating loss carry forwards for which no benefit has previously been recognized. The company is required to provide a valuation allowance for its deferred tax assets in excess of deferred tax liabilities because UAL concluded that it is more likely than not that such deferred tax assets will ultimately not be realized.

 

 

 

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SOURCE United Airlines

For further information: United Airlines Worldwide Media Relations, +1-872-825-8640, media.relations@united.com

United Introduces Customer COVID-19 Testing from Houston to Latin American and Caribbean Destinations

United and Advanced Diagnostic Laboratory team up to offer self-collected, mail-in COVID-19 tests to help ensure travelers meet country entry requirements
November 23, 2020

CHICAGO, Nov. 23, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- United announced today it is expanding its customer COVID-19 testing efforts to include flights out of Houston to select destinations in Latin America and the Caribbean. Starting for flights departing on December 7, customers originating from George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) will have the option to take a self-collected, mail-in test that meets local entry requirements for the following destinations, allowing them to reunite with family or start their vacation immediately:

  • Aruba (AUA)
  • Belize City, Belize (BZE)
  • Guatemala City, Guatemala (GUA)
  • Lima, Peru (LIM)
  • Nassau, Bahamas (NAS)
  • Panama City, Panama (PTY)
  • Roatan, Honduras (RTB)
  • San Pedro Sula, Honduras (SAP)
  • San Salvador, El Salvador (SAL)
  • Tegucigalpa, Honduras (TGU)

    United Introduces Customer COVID-19 Testing from Houston to Latin American and Caribbean Destinations

    United and Advanced Diagnostic Laboratory team up to offer self-collected, mail-in COVID-19 tests to help ensure travelers meet country entry requirements
    November 23, 2020

    CHICAGO, Nov. 23, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- United announced today it is expanding its customer COVID-19 testing efforts to include flights out of Houston to select destinations in Latin America and the Caribbean. Starting for flights departing on December 7, customers originating from George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) will have the option to take a self-collected, mail-in test that meets local entry requirements for the following destinations, allowing them to reunite with family or start their vacation immediately:

    • Aruba (AUA)
    • Belize City, Belize (BZE)
    • Guatemala City, Guatemala (GUA)
    • Lima, Peru (LIM)
    • Nassau, Bahamas (NAS)
    • Panama City, Panama (PTY)
    • Roatan, Honduras (RTB)
    • San Pedro Sula, Honduras (SAP)
    • San Salvador, El Salvador (SAL)
    • Tegucigalpa, Honduras (TGU)

    "Widespread testing is key to unlocking international borders and safely reopening global travel. This is particularly important for our customers in Houston, who rely on United to keep them connected with their family and friends in Latin America and the Caribbean," said Toby Enqvist, chief customer officer for United. "We'll continue to lead the way on testing – United was the first to announce a customer COVID-19 testing program and the first to offer free tests on flights across the Atlantic – and we'll look at new, innovative ways to make the travel experience even safer."

    The self-collected, mail-in COVID-19 test is $119. The test will be administered by Advanced Diagnostic Laboratory (ADL) and processed at their COVID-19 testing laboratory in San Antonio, Texas. United will reach out to customers 14 days ahead of their flights to provide instructions on ordering a test and the testing process. United encourages customers to research the local requirements for further questions specific to their destination. Customers are advised to take the tests 72 hours before departure and should expect to receive results via email within 24-48 hours of mailing in their test.

    "As the energy capital of the world and most diverse city in the United States, Houston plays an influential role in linking global economies," said Sylvester Turner, City of Houston mayor. "As we fight against a second wave of the coronavirus, the private and public sectors, with guidance from public health experts, must work collaboratively and judiciously to reopen the global economy. Although a vaccine would be the ultimate solution, United's expansion of its customer testing program is a step in the right direction. I commend United for their leadership and forward-thinking."

    ADL's self-collection kit includes a plastic tube, a nasal swab and instructions on how to properly collect a specimen. ADL's telehealth system will be available to support customers traveling to countries that require a health care professional to supervise the COVID-19 test. United has worked closely with officials in each country to ensure that any customer – both visitors and nationals returning home – who tests negative will be able to enter the country.

    "Accurate and reliable testing is not only critical to reducing the spread of COVID-19, but essential in helping get this virus under control," said Stan Crawford, chief operations officer for ADL. "We are invested in United's commitment to ensuring customers not only meet their destination's entry requirements but that, when they do travel, they do so in a way that is safer."

    Click here for b-roll and visual assets of ADL's self-collection kit and testing 

    In addition to adding another key element to its layered approach to safety, United has also seen a positive impact on travel demand and significant increases in customer load factors and revenue when testing options are available. For example, after United announced its COVID-19 test for customers traveling from San Francisco to Hawaii and allowing them to avoid a 14-day quarantine, the airline saw a nearly 95% increase in passengers compared to the prior two-week period. Last week, United launched the world's first free transatlantic COVID-19 testing pilot between Newark Liberty International Airport and London Heathrow Airport. Through this pilot program, all crew members and customers over the age of two on select flights will be required to take a rapid COVID-19 test and provide a negative result in order to take the flight, ensuring that everyone on board over the age of two has tested negative before departure.

    A safer travel experience: United CleanPlusSM

    Since the start of the pandemic, United has been a leader in enacting new policies and innovations designed to keep employees and passengers safer when traveling. It was the first U.S. airline to mandate masks for flight attendants, quickly following with all customers and employees. United was also among the first U.S. carriers to announce it wouldn't permit customers who refused to comply with the airline's mandatory mask policy to fly with them while the face mask policy is in place. United was also the first U.S. airline to roll out touchless check-in for customers with bags, and the first to require passengers take an online health assessment before traveling. United is applying Zoono Microbe Shield, an EPA-registered antimicrobial coating that forms a long-lasting bond with surfaces and inhibits the growth of microbes, to its entire mainline and express fleet before the end of the year. 

    The latest research, including a recent study conducted by the U.S. Department of Defense, shows COVID-19 exposure risk on board United aircraft is almost zero due to the airline's advanced air filtration systems, mandated mask policy and diligent cleaning protocols.

    For more details on all the ways United is helping keep customers safe during their journey, please visit united.com/cleanplus.

    About United

    United's shared purpose is "Connecting People. Uniting the World." For more information, visit united.com, follow @United on Twitter and Instagram or connect on Facebook. The common stock of United's parent, United Airlines Holdings, Inc., is traded on the Nasdaq under the symbol "UAL".

    About Advanced Diagnostic Laboratory

    Advanced Diagnostic Laboratory (ADL) is a leader in scientific testing standards for the COVID-19 virus, both in the U.S. and internationally. Located in San Antonio, Texas, ADL has over 80 years of combined experience in clinical diagnostic testing procedures and works globally with local communities to provide safe and healthy lifestyles. For more information, call ADL at 1.800.834.3522 or visit our website at ADLHealth.com.

     

    SOURCE United Airlines

    For further information: United Airlines Worldwide Media Relations, +1-872-825-8640, media.relations@united.com

    First United Airlines Flight Offering Free Transatlantic COVID-19 Testing Takes Off

    First of its kind, testing program guarantees customers over two years old and crew test negative before departure
    November 16, 2020

    NEWARK, N.J., Nov. 16, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, United customers traveling on flight 14 from Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) to London Heathrow (LHR) were the first to experience the airline's free transatlantic COVID-19 testing pilot program. The airline provided rapid tests to every passenger over 2 years old and all crew members on board, free of charge, guaranteeing everyone* on the flight tested negative prior to departure.

    United Airlines to Present at the 2020 Bernstein Operational Decisions Conference

    November 13, 2020

    CHICAGO, Nov. 13, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- United Airlines' Mike Leskinen, Vice President of Corporate Development and Investor Relations will present at the Bernstein Operational Decisions Conference on Tuesday, November 17th. The presentation will begin at 12:30 p.m. CT / 1:30 p.m. ET.

    The live webcast will be available on the investor relations section of United's website at ir.united.com. The company will archive the video webcast on the website within 24 hours of the presentation, and the webcast will be available for a limited time.

    About United

    United's shared purpose is "Connecting People. Uniting the World." For more information, visit united.com, follow @United on Twitter and Instagram or connect on Facebook. The common stock of United's parent, United Airlines Holdings, Inc., is traded on the Nasdaq under the symbol "UAL".

    SOURCE United Airlines

    For further information: United Airlines Worldwide Media Relations, +1-872-825-8640, media.relations@united.com

    United Airlines Makes it Easier to Earn MileagePlus Premier Status for 2022

    Airline reduces qualifying thresholds and offers first-ever promotions to accelerate earning status
    November 12, 2020

    CHICAGO, Nov. 12, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- United Airlines today announced changes to its MileagePlus® Premier® program that will make it easier to earn status in 2021 for the 2022 program year. United is reducing Premier Qualifying Points (PQP) and Premier Qualifying Flights (PQF) thresholds next year and introducing first-of-its-kind promotions that help members earn status more quickly. Early next year, United will deposit 25% of the PQP-only requirements in Premier members' accounts based on their 2021 Premier status level. United will also give members bonus PQP for their first three trips flown in 2021 through Mar. 31, helping their flights go further toward reaching status.

    United Airlines Now Using New Clorox® Electrostatic Sprayers to Disinfect Airport Terminals

    Clorox® Total 360® System sprays solution that is EPA-approved to kill SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19;
    November 11, 2020

    CHICAGO, Nov. 11, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- As part of the United CleanPlus commitment to enhancing safety for travelers both onboard and at the airport, United Airlines is now using the Clorox® Total 360® System to disinfect terminals at 35 of the airline's busiest airports. This electrostatic spraying system is similar to the electrostatic spraying technology used onboard aircraft and will be used to spray surfaces in ticketing lobbies, terminals, gate rooms, employee spaces and United Club locations. The disinfecting solution is EPA-approved to kill SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. Through its United CleanPlus program, United has been working closely with Clorox and the Cleveland Clinic since early May to consult on all its cleaning and disinfection protocols. The airline currently uses Clorox Disinfection Wipes on all mainline aircraft and in United Club locations.

    We are Back! United Announces Return to New York's JFK Airport

    Airline to offer new transcontinental service from JFK to the west coast starting February 1
    November 10, 2020

    CHICAGO, Nov. 10, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- United Airlines announced today that it will be returning service to New York City's John F. Kennedy Airport (JFK) on February 1, 2021 with nonstop service to the west coast. The airline's entry back into JFK after five years reflects not only its strong commitment to the New York City area, but a continuation of aggressively and strategically managing the impact of COVID-19 by increasing service to and from the places where customers want to fly. The new United service will operate out of Terminal 7.

    Responding to Thanksgiving Travel Demand, United Adds Over 1,400 Domestic Flights to Schedule

    United seeing more customers booking Thanksgiving travel closer to departure this year
    November 09, 2020

    CHICAGO, Nov. 9, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- United Airlines expects the week of November 23 will be its busiest since March as customers travel to visit friends and family for the Thanksgiving holiday. This year, United is anticipating approximately 50% of United customers flying for Thanksgiving are booking travel less than 30 days prior to departure compared to last year when around 40% of Thanksgiving travelers booked less than 30 days before departure. To help customers reconnect with loved ones this holiday season, United 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.

    United Airlines Launches World's First Free Transatlantic COVID-19 Testing Pilot

    Free testing guarantees all customers over 2 years old and crew on board have tested negative before departure
    October 29, 2020

    NEWARK, N.J., Oct. 29, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- United Airlines today announced the world's first free transatlantic COVID-19 testing pilot program for customers. From November 16 through December 11, the airline will offer rapid tests to every passenger over 2 years old and crew members on board select flights from Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) to London Heathrow (LHR), free of charge. Anyone who does not wish to be tested will be placed on another flight, guaranteeing everyone on board other than children under two will have tested negative before departure.

    United Airlines Redesigns Mobile App to be More Accessible for People with Visual Disabilities

    United increased color contrast, added more space between graphics and reorganized page flows to result in better integration with screen reader technologies;
    October 28, 2020

    CHICAGO, Oct. 28, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- United Airlines today launches a redesigned version of its mobile app, with new enhancements intended to make travel easier for people with visual disabilities. Throughout its award-winning app, the carrier has increased color contrast, added more space between graphics and reordered how information is displayed and announced to better integrate with the screen reader technologies like VoiceOver and TalkBack that are built into most handheld devices and read aloud on-screen messages and notifications. By restructuring the way the information is organized on the app, screen readers are better able to convert text to audio in the proper, logical sequence, allowing customers to better understand and navigate the app. According to the National Aging and Disability Transportation Center, more than 25 million Americans have self-reported travel-limiting disability. The improved accessibility of the app is just one of the ways United is continuing its commitment to accessibility and inclusion of customers with disabilities.

    United Airlines Announces Eight New Routes and Increases Flights to 19 Destinations in the Caribbean, Central America and Mexico for Winter Sun-Seekers

    Starting Oct. 17, United will begin selling tickets for new flights from Denver, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Washington D.C. and Cleveland
    October 16, 2020

    CHICAGO, Oct. 16, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- United Airlines today announced a significant expansion of its winter international schedule, introducing eight new routes and adding flights to 19 destinations in Mexico, the Caribbean and Latin America. Starting in December, United will begin new nonstop service between Los Angeles and San Jose, Costa Rica and San Pedro Sula, Honduras; between Denver and Belize City, Belize and San Jose, Costa Rica; between Washington D.C. and Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, and returning service between Cleveland and Cancun, Mexico. In January, United will begin new nonstop service between Liberia, Costa Rica and both Los Angeles and San Francisco. The new flights are subject to government approval.

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