United Airlines is leveraging an interesting segment of the market to drive its capacity as we head into fall. The airline is laying on 74 flights between college towns and professional football markets from September through November, and will fly three times more direct flights to college towns than it did in 2019.
United Airlines is laying on a swathe of new services this autumn in a bid to capture fan traffic traveling for key football games. In total, the airline will add 74 flights, including 52 new point-to-point routes, to get team supporters to their games more easily.
Ankit Gupta, vice president of domestic network planning at United, commented,
“Nothing brings people together like the opportunity to cheer on the teams they love. This upcoming season, United is adding even more direct flights to college and professional football games than we’ve ever added before so our customers can reunite with the teams, tailgates and touchdowns they may have missed last season.”
Passengers will be able to enjoy United’s revamped customer experience onboard, including the option to pre-order snacks and drinks via its app. Change fees are eliminated, so passengers need not worry if they are unable to travel last minute.
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The additional flights
United’s new flights target both professional and college football. For college football fans, these flights will add 58 new services, including 44 point-to-point flights for 21 of the biggest away games of the season.
In September, United will add flights from Austin, Texas, to Bentonville, Arizona, in support of the match between the University of Texas and the University of Arkansas. There will also be a new flight from Lincoln, Nebraska, to Lansing, Michigan, to watch the University of Nebraska play Michigan State University.
October will see the most additional college football flights, with new services from State College, Pennsylvania to Cedar Rapids in Iowa, Birmingham, Alabama to College Station, Texas and Syracuse, New York to Greenville/Spartanburg, South Carolina. As well as this, new routes from Los Angeles to South Bend, Indiana and Raleigh, North Carolina to South Bend, Indiana, complete the October additions.
Finally, in November, the airline will fly fans from Baton Rouge, Louisiana to Birmingham, Indiana, and from South Bend, Indiana to San Francisco for the remaining matches.
For fans of professional football, there are flights on the table here too. In total, United will add 16 new direct flights for four key games in the early season. These will be:
- September 12: Green Bay to New Orleans for opening weekend’s big game
- September 26: Green Bay to San Francisco for the 49ers at Levi’s Stadium
- October 3: Tampa to Boston to see the GOAT in action
- October 10: Buffalo to Kansas City to watch the biggest revenge match of the season
These new point-to-point routes are yet more evidence of United flexing its schedules to point capacity where it sees the most demand. The airline has been endlessly creative in the way it is rebuilding its network, and it’s paying off in the capacity United is able to fly right now. The airline says it will operate 88% of its 2019 capacity, and with international still a very tricky market, much of that will be domestic flying.