United Airlines News

Best New Places to Fly This Summer

Posted May 30, 2014 by SmarterTravel.com

(Photo: Thinkstock/iStock)

The airline industry seems to be doing well for itself, adding a robust number of routes this year. Peruse our listing of new flight service within the U.S., plus exciting new routes in the Caribbean, Europe, Asia, and more.

 

(Photo: Angelo DeSantis via flickr/CC Attribution)

Mid-Atlantic and New England, U.S.

* Hyannis (HYA) and New York City (JFK) seasonally from June 26 through September 9 on JetBlue
* New York City (JFK) and Hyannis (HYA) seasonally from June 26 through September 9 on JetBlue
* New York City (LGA) and Chicago (ORD) beginning June 23 on United/SkyWest
* Philadelphia (PHL) and Grand Rapids (GRR) beginning September 3 on American/US Airways Express
* St. Louis (STL) and Los Angeles (LAX) beginning June 8 on Southwest
* St. Louis (STL) and San Francisco (SFO) beginning September 20 on United/SkyWest
* St. Louis (STL) and San Francisco (SFO) beginning September 30 on Southwest
* Washington, D.C. (DCA) and Chicago (MDW) beginning August 10 on Southwest
* Washington, D.C. (DCA) and Nashville (BNA) beginning August 10 on Southwest
* Washington, D.C. (DCA) and New Orleans (MSY) beginning August 10 on Southwest
* Washington, D.C. (DCA) and Tampa (TPA) beginning September 30 on Southwest

 

(Photo: diongillard via flickr/CC Attribution)

Midwest, U.S.

* Chicago (MDW) and Washington, D.C. (DCA) beginning August 10 on Southwest
* Chicago (ORD) and Atlanta (ATL) beginning June 15 on United/SkyWest
* Chicago (ORD) and Minneapolis (MSP) beginning June 5 on United/SkyWest
* Chicago (ORD) and New York City (LGA) beginning June 23 on United/SkyWest
* Cleveland (CLE) and Indianapolis (IND) beginning June 5 on Delta
* Cleveland (CLE) and Raleigh (RDU) beginning June 5 on Delta
* Grand Rapids (GRR) and Charlotte (CLT) beginning September 3 on American/US Airways Express
* Grand Rapids (GRR) and Philadelphia (PHL) beginning September 3 on American/US Airways Express
* Indianapolis (IND) and Cleveland (CLE) beginning June 5 on Delta
* Minneapolis (MSP) and Chicago (ORD) beginning June 5 on United/SkyWest

 

(Photo: KrzysztofTe Foto Blog via flickr/CC Attribution)

South, U.S.

* Atlanta (ATL) and Chicago (ORD) beginning June 15 on United/SkyWest
* Atlanta (ATL) and Houston (IAH) beginning June 15 on United/Mesa
* Austin (AUS) and Los Angeles (LAX) beginning June 16 on Delta
* Charlotte (CLT) and Grand Rapids (GRR) beginning September 3 on American/US Airways Express
* Houston (IAH) and Atlanta (ATL) beginning June 15 on United/Mesa
* Houston (IAH) and New Orleans (MSY) beginning June 15 on United/Mesa
* Nashville (BNA) and Washington, D.C. (DCA) beginning August 10 on Southwest
* New Orleans (MSY) and Houston (IAH) beginning June 15 on United/Mesa
* New Orleans (MSY) and Washington, D.C. (DCA) beginning August 10 on Southwest
* Raleigh (RDU) and Cleveland (CLE) beginning June 5 on Delta
* Tampa (TPA) and Washington, D.C. (DCA) beginning September 30 on Southwest

 

(Photo: Alaskan Dude via flickr/CC Attribution)

West, U.S.

* Boise (BOI) and Los Angeles (LAX) beginning June 6 on Delta
* Boise (BOI) and Salt Lake City (SLC) beginning June 16 on Alaska
* Las Vegas (LAS) and Salt Lake City (SLC) beginning June 16 on Alaska
* Los Angeles (LAX) and Austin (AUS) beginning June 16 on Delta
* Los Angeles (LAX) and Boise (BOI) beginning June 5 on Delta
* Los Angeles (LAX) and Salt Lake City (SLC) beginning June 11 on Alaska
* Los Angeles (LAX) and St. Louis (STL) beginning June 8 on Southwest
* Portland, OR, (PDX) and Salt Lake City (SLC) beginning June 9 on Alaska
* Salt Lake City (SLC) and Boise (BOI) beginning June 16 on Alaska
* Salt Lake City (SLC) and Las Vegas (LAS) beginning June 16 on Alaska
* Salt Lake City (SLC) and Los Angeles (LAX) beginning June 12 on Alaska
* Salt Lake City (SLC) and Portland, OR, (PDX) beginning June 9 on Alaska
* Salt Lake City (SLC) and San Diego (SAN) beginning June 10 on Alaska
* Salt Lake City (SLC) and San Francisco (SFO) beginning June 19 on Alaska
* Salt Lake City (SLC) and San Jose, CA, (SJC) beginning June 13 on Alaska
* San Diego (SAN) and Salt Lake City (SLC) beginning June 10 on Alaska
* San Francisco (SFO) and Salt Lake City (SLC) beginning June 18 on Alaska
* San Francisco (SFO) and St. Louis (STL) beginning September 20 on United/SkyWest
* San Francisco (SFO) and St. Louis (STL) beginning September 30 on Southwest
* San Jose (SJC) and Salt Lake City (SLC) beginning June 12 on Alaska

 

(Photo: abdallahh via flickr/CC Attribution)

Canada

* Calgary (YYC) and New York City (JFK) seasonally from April 27 through October 25 on WestJet
* Calgary (YYC) and Prince George (YXS) seasonally from April 27 through October 25 on WestJet

 

(Photo: YoLoPey via flickr/CC Attribution)

Caribbean

* Atlanta (ATL) and Aruba (AUA) beginning July 1 on Southwest
* Atlanta (ATL) and Montego Bay (MBJ) beginning July 1 on Southwest
* Atlanta (ATL) and Nassau (NAS) beginning August 10 on Southwest
* Baltimore (BWI) and Aruba (AUA) beginning July 1 on Southwest
* Baltimore (BWI) and Montego Bay (MBJ) beginning July 1 on Southwest
* Baltimore (BWI) and Nassau (NAS) beginning July 1 on Southwest
* Orlando (MCO) and Aruba (AUA) beginning July 1 on Southwest
* Orlando (MCO) and Montego Bay (MBJ) beginning July 1 on Southwest

 

(Photo: Josh Beasly via flickr/CC Attribution)

Europe

* New York City (JFK) and Zurich (ZRH) beginning June 16 on Delta
* Philadelphia (PHL) and Edinburgh (EDI) seasonally from May 23 through September 30 on US Airways

 

(Photo: Joao Carlos Medau via flickr/CC Attribution)

Mexico and Central and South America

* Atlanta (ATL) and Cancun (CUN) beginning August 10 on Southwest
* Baltimore (BWI) and Cancun (CUN) beginning August 10 on Southwest
* Chicago (ORD) and Morelia (MLM) beginning June 7 on Aeromexico
* Los Angeles (LAX) and San Salvador (SAL) beginning July 2 on Delta
* Milwaukee (MKE) and Cancun (CUN) beginning August 10 on Southwest
* Santa Ana (SNA) and Los Cabos (SJD) beginning August 10 on Southwest

 

(Photo: Curimedia | Photography via flickr/CC Attribution)

Asia

* Dallas (DFW) and Hong Kong (HKG) beginning June 11 on American
* Dallas (DFW) and Shanghai (PVG) beginning June 11 on American
* Washington, D.C. (IAD) and Beijing (PEK) beginning June 10 on Air China

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This article was originally published by SmarterTravel under the title New Airfare Routes for Summer 2014.

Follow Patricia Magaña on Google+ or email her at editor@smartertravel.com.

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Airline Fees: The Ultimate Guide

Posted May 14, 2013 by SmarterTravel.com

Ultimate_guide_to_airline_fees_snapshot

Two dollars for a soda? Ten bucks for an aisle seat? If you're confused about airline fees, we can help.

With our Airline Fees: The Ultimate Guide, you'll find a one-stop reference chart for every major airline fee from every major domestic carrier.

Best of all, you can download the airline fees chart in PDF format at no charge. Because unlike the airlines, we don't make you pay for things that ought to be free.

Click on the image above for a free download of Airline Fees: The Ultimate Guide.


United Breaks Guitars in Chicago, Creates Fame for Musician

Posted July 23, 2009 by Nicki Krawczyk

Blurb_broken_guitar_20080814-vi People deal with frustration in all kinds of ways. I knew a girl in high school who used to cry. I tend to shake my fists, punch inanimate objects and, occasionally, growl. (It’s not pretty but I’m not perfect.) Dave Carroll, facing endless unsatisfactory phone calls and poor customer service, writes songs.

You see, according to Dave, United Airlines breaks guitars. Specifically, United Airlines broke his guitar. The crux of the story is that during a stopover in Chicago while he was on his way to Nebraska, baggage handlers allegedly threw his $3,500 guitar and broke it. (I say “allegedly” although no one really seems to be disputing this point. I just can’t afford a lawsuit.) Attempting to receive some kind of compensation for this, Dave repeatedly made contact with United and was repeatedly told that United was not responsible for the damage.

Cut to Dave, with a new guitar and a new song, “United Breaks Guitars”. Viewed more than 3.6 million times, this catchy little act of vengeance has become an internet sensation and certainly a thorn in the side of United Airlines.

More than this being a story about revenge, though, I think this is a story about creative problem solving. Though Dave may never have received his desired monetary compensation, he’s achieved a level of fame that he would, most likely, have never achieved without this song. And, much as I may be prone to futile seething, this is probably a good lesson for all of us. Channeling our frustration into other outlets than oh, say, punching and growling, might just be the best revenge of all.

(Photo: www.360.kombo.com)

United to Charge Overweight Passengers Double

Posted April 16, 2009 by Nicki Krawczyk

Two seats In a prime example of virtually inviting people to kill the messenger, United Airlines has instructed its employees not to allow overweight passengers (those who cannot sit in one seat with the arm rests down and/or cannot use the safety belt with a single extender) to board unless they purchase an extra seat.

Furthermore, according to United’s newly posted policy, if no extra seats are available, passengers will have to either pay to get upgraded (if there’s room in that section) or wait for the next flight with two available seats.

Now, other airlines already have similar policies; both American and Southwest are on the books as having the right to require purchase of a second ticket. But unlike both of these airlines, if there is an empty seat available on a plane, United won’t switch the affected passenger to a seat next to the empty one so that he or she won’t have to pay double. Perhaps this is to avoid inconveniencing another passenger already seated next to this empty seat? But doesn’t it also inconvenience (and cost) the affected passenger? And wouldn’t there have to be switching anyway, if they’re going to place this passenger next to an empty seat to charge him/her?

Obviously, this is a tricky issue no matter which airline is involved. Does forcing a passenger to pay double penalize them for being overweight? Or do charges like these accommodate (also-paying) customers’ rights to comfort? It will be interesting to see how this plays out. It’s easy to imagine people thinking they’re getting last minute deals and then not actually being able to board the plane for lack of an extra seat. You can’t really plan a 3-day weekend vacation if you don’t know when you’ll get a chance to board. It’s also easy to imagine passengers being very displeased with the front-line employees who have to enforce this policy.

It’s worth pointing out, I think, that seats are already so closely grouped that airlines are actually able to charge more for seats that have more legroom. Could part of the problem be that seats are just too small to accommodate enough people nowadays? I have no answers at all. However, I can tell you that I’ll be watching very closely to see exactly how this plays out.

(As always, we welcome your thoughtful, insightful, and respectful comments.)

(Photo: starling-fitness.com)

United to Disconnect Customer Service Phone Line

Posted February 17, 2009 by Carl Unger

RotaryphoneUnited will be disconnecting its customer service phone line this coming April, and instead will ask passengers to submit complaints and compliments via email and letter. The airline says written comments generally result in happier customers, because written comments tend to be more detailed than verbal ones and this leads to more effective responses from customer service.

I can believe that, but at the same time, is there anything more frustrating than writing a thoughtful email to customer service ... and then waiting, waiting, and waiting some more only to receive a canned response? Well, is there? Oh, what's that you say? Calling customer service and being put on hold for three hours is worse? I guess you have a point there.

My sense is that people will be divided on this. On the one hand, speaking on the phone gives you the satisfaction of actually speaking to a real person, a captive audience that can at least feign interest in your plight and perhaps even accomplish something. But at the same time, sitting around while on hold only adds to the frustration you are calling about in the first place, and this frustration builds and builds until finally you unload on the entirely innocent and likely underpaid service rep on the other end.

On the other hand, emails seem easy to ignore, but at least you can send the thing and get on with your life. And United is right: Sitting at a computer, you have time to craft your message and include details you might otherwise forget while on the phone.

What do you think? Do you prefer to file your complaints or compliments by phone or email? Leave a comment below with your thoughts. Should more airlines follow United's lead? Thanks!

(Photo: Wikihow.com)

United Offers Elite Perks for Average Joes

Posted February 4, 2009 by Carl Unger

CrowdedSecurityLineUnited's Premier Line offering of add-on perks allows regular passengers to enjoy some of the benefits usually reserved for elite-level frequent flyers. For a cool $25, United will let you breeze through security, check-in, and boarding while the rest of the coach-flying hoi polloi wait in line.

While $25 is nothing to shake a stick at, it's not an exorbitant amount of money either, especially if you manage to score cheap airfare for your flight. And if you're the type of person who is always running a little late, or if you simply don't like airports, these perks will give you some peace of mind leading up to your flight.

Premier Line is available at 14 cities overall, including Chicago, Washington (Reagan and Dulles), Boston, New York (LaGuardia and Newark), and Los Angeles. United will sell only a limited number of Premier Line slots per hour in order to keep the express lines moving at actual express speeds.

Of course, elite-level frequent flyers, who log tens of thousands of miles each year to earn their benefits, aren't exactly singing United's praises following this decision. And who can blame them? After all that time spent in planes, at airports, and so on, shouldn't elite-level perks be set aside for elite-level passengers?

United says no. And for average Joes like us, that's the right answer.

(Photo: msnbc.com)

United to Launch In-Flight Internet Service This Year

Posted January 15, 2009 by Zak Patten

Aircell-gogo-logo "Fashionably late." It's a cliche, but when you're attending a party, it's always better to be sure you won't arrive while your host is still showering. United Airlines seems to be banking on similar feelings from its passengers when it comes to in-flight Internet service, which the carrier has just announced it will boot up on "p.s." transcontinental flights between New York and California later this year.

United isn't exactly sending shockwaves through the travel industry by teaming up with Aircell to operate that company's Gogo Wi-Fi service. As we saw back in November, five other U.S. airlines— American, Continental, Delta, JetBlue, and Virgin America—have some level of onboard wireless Internet already, most of it Gogo.

United is only offering wireless on its p.s. flights, which come with more amenities and greater comfort in all classes of service, and it's charging a flat fee of $12.95 for the entire flight. The other airlines mentioned above have similarly restrictive Internet service for about the same price.

If United is simply sticking with the pack, and not getting a head start, what is its value proposition to the us? Well, if you're the type of passenger who wants to kick back in your comfy seat and log on to the Internet, maybe you're also chilled out enough to appreciate the airline's "fashionable" timing.

(Photo: TechCrunch)

'Tis The Season to … Sue An Airline?

Posted December 23, 2008 by Carl Unger

Lawsuit_2 The Times of London reports that a man is suing United Airlines for serving him too much wine, which led him to drunkenly quarrel with his wife after they landed—obviously United's fault. Elsewhere, a man is suing British Airways for "hurt feelings" after the airline fired him (and then reinstated him) for stealing 12 small bottles of whisky. He claims he simply forgot to pay for them.

I'm only halfway done with my mail-order law degree, so I can't really tell you if these cases will actually hold water. But the theme here, if you haven't already guessed it, is people suing airlines for absolutely preposterous reasons. The Times has a list of other ridiculous lawsuits, including a woman in Sweden who sued a local airline for freezing the family hamsters, and a man who sued (and lost) after British Airways booted him from a plane because he was, to put it politely, malordorous. The Times also threw together a fake lawsuit, so see if you can pick it out (hint: it's not the hamsters).

What are some of the more ridiculous airline lawsuits you've come across? People suing for emotional distress due to subpar airline food? Severe trauma from a horrible in-flight movie? Leave a comment below and share your favorite!

(Photo: zdistrict.com)

United-FedEx Baggage Shipping Service Saves Money, Hernias

Posted October 29, 2008 by Zak Patten

Fedex One of the biggest hassles for air travelers today is dealing with baggage. It's always been a "drag" to haul a huge broken-wheeled suitcase across a parking lot, but lost luggage remains a problem, and most carriers have instituted fees, even for first-checked bags. That's why United's new partnership with Federal Express is so welcome. Rather than having to schlep your bags to and from the airport at both ends of a trip, FedEx will swing by your home or office, collect your bags, and deliver them to your destination within 24 hours. Prices for this service start at $149 each way.

Back when United began charging for checked bags, BookingBuddy blogger Heather Gilbert took it rather hard, attributing a personal packing crisis to the new policy. As she wrote in February, "I’ve never gone on vacation and actually worn all the clothes I’ve packed. Most of my clothes are simply an insurance policy meant to cover my various whims and 'what-ifs.'" This spring, her fellow blogger Nicki Krawczyk came up with the ingenious solution of wearing all of her clothes onboard: "That’s right: all four sweaters, three shirts, two pairs of jeans and two pairs of khakis. You’ll be warm and rather bulky, but since other people don’t seem to care about encroaching on your seat space, you can pay that back in full."

Perhaps such extreme measures aren't necessary anymore. United's new service isn't cheap, but it's highly competitive with more established luggage-shipping services. According to the Wall Street Journal, United will get your 50-pound suitcase from Santa Monica to Manhattan for $179 one-way, while the same service from Luggage Forward would run you $364, and Luggage Concierge would charge $333.

So maybe it's time to travel light. You can throw your laptop and a few snacks into a carry-on and head on over to the airport. Leave the heavy lifting for the experts.

(Photo: Perfect Flight)

United Will Not Charge for Meals on Transatlantic Flights

Posted September 3, 2008 by Zak Patten

Airunitedb737500 We all know drivers who've headed down the wrong road and gotten lost in a seedy neighborhood, despite their passengers' pleas to turn around. Well, United Airlines is no different than those drivers. (OK, it's much bigger and not at all human, but bear with me.) United took a wrong turn by choosing to begin charging for meals in coach class on transatlantic flights and in business class on domestic itineraries. But, to its credit, when passengers spoke up, the airline pulled a u-ey and rescinded its earlier decision to can free meals.

Obviously, United wanted to cut costs and pull in revenue with its plan to start hawking food onboard, and the proposed $6 snack boxes and $9 salads would have brought in a certain amount of income. But along with the cash there would have been bitterness, and the airline's management was wise enough to read the writing in the sky. After months of watching new fees spread from one airline to another faster than you can say first-checked-baggage charge, it's heartening that United has decided to take heed of customer feedback.

Sometimes you don't need a GPS, or Google, or even a good old-fashioned paper map. Sometimes getting back on the right road is as simple as just listening to those sitting in your seats.

(Photo: United)


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