[Update: Tickets Now On Sale!] United Will Return To JFK!

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Update: United is now selling tickets from JFK to Los Angeles and San Francisco for flights starting on 2/1/21!

They will fly from JFK to Los Angeles at 9am and 7pm and from JFK to San Francisco at 8am and 5:10pm.

They will fly from Los Angeles to JFK at 7:30am and 2:30pm and from San Francisco to JFK at 9:10am and 1:30pm.

Flights start at just $88 in coach and $387 in business class.

United will operate their premium-heavy 767-300ER on the route. These planes were designed for routes like Newark-London, but there is little premium demand on that route currently. The plane has 46 Polaris business class seats, 22 Premium Plus seats, 47 Economy Plus seats, and 52 Economy Minus seats. That’s an incredibly premium heavy plane for this route!

Interestingly, they won’t fly any red-eyes from the west coast to JFK, at least initially. They will add that if demand calls for it, but they’ll also need to find airlines willing to sell their JFK slots for that that of arrival.

United will operate out of JFK’s terminal 7, the same terminal that they used to fly from out of JFK. Terminal 7 is slotted to be closed permanently in the coming years, so clearly this will be a temporary home.

There’s no word yet on whether United will open a lounge in JFK as they used to have.

This comes after United added flights from LaGuardia and other airports to several Florida airports. United is clearly thinking its’ NYC presence needs to be more than just Newark!

Will JFK to London be next?


Originally posted on 9/29:

United pulled out of JFK back in 2015.

At the time the airline was managed by Jeff Smisek, who was brought on by Continental to merge with United and then relentlessly cut costs at the merged airline. He was deeply unpopular among employees, passengers, and shareholders, but it took a federal scandal to take him down.

The JFK flights themselves were money losers and Mr. Smisek argued the airline has no choice but to retreat after sustaining heavy losses from the airport.

In 2006 United ended flights from JFK to Tokyo and London. In 2014 they eliminated service between JFK and Washington D.C. And in 2015 they killed off all JFK service when they ended their transcontinental premium service to Los Angeles and San Francisco.

When United killed off 3 cabin first class on the route, it made it especially hard for them to compete with American, which still offers 3 cabin transcontinental first class.

As I said at the time,

“Of course Smisek’s motto is “Ultimately, we can’t create demand, but we do have a responsibility to react to it.” As in, why proactively improve our first class product to compete when we can just reactively decide that it’s not profitable and eliminate it.

The irony is that Gordon Bethune, one of the most popular airline CEOs of all time, wrote in his excellent book “From Worst to First” exactly how that kind of reactionary thinking is what nearly drove Continental out of business is the early 90s. Or as he put it, “You can make a pizza so cheap, nobody will eat it. You can make an airline so cheap, nobody will fly it.”

Smisek may think that United is unable to create demand. The truth is that they’re quite adept these days at driving away premium demand.”

Indeed, United’s current CEO Scott Kirby was at American at the time. He said that it was his primary goal to push United out of JFK and it was a big win when they were able to do that.

When Mr. Kirby jumped ship to United, he said that he wished he could roll back the clock and undo United’s decision to bail on JFK.

What Mr. Smisek didn’t factor into the calculation was the bigger picture, that they would lose massive corporate contracts from companies with travelers that refused to fly into Newark. So while the routes themselves may have been money losers, they were profitable to the airline as a whole as it allowed them to retain corporate contracts that bailed when they left JFK. Other elite flyers also left due to United abandoning JFK, which hurt the airline’s network as a whole.

Pre-pandemic, buying back slots in JFK was too pricey to justify, but those prices have plummeted and now CNBC reports that United will re-enter JFK in 2021!

That’s something I predicted might happen a few weeks ago.

The JFK news comes after United announced plans to launch its first non-hub flights in years, such as LaGuardia and Boston to Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers, Orlando, and Tampa.

I’d assume that service between JFK to Los Angeles and San Francisco will be on the table.

Will this move make you switch business back to United?

HT: abey, via DDF

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62 Comments On "[Update: Tickets Now On Sale!] United Will Return To JFK!"

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Baruch

Dan, do you think they will fly from JFK to GRU anytime soon/at all?

...

Slightly off topic…does plan b still work? If so how would they determine how much to charge for business saver

Joey

JFK-TLV?

Yandmk

Can I be the first to ask:
Will UA launch JFK to TLV?!

Mitzi

Hope the bring jfk to Las Vegas back too

Br

Will the Israel route switch or be added as well?

Lcm

Finally!

NYafficionado

United is still one of the worst airlines in America, along with United, when it comes to service as well as both of them nickel and dining you to death. They can stay in that stink infested New Jersey for all I care.

Dave

You do realize that United operates hubs and flights across the US and around the globe, don’t you (not just EWR)? If you are worried about nickeling and diming, I’d recommend you steer clear of Spirit, Frontier, Delta, AA, among others.

Yechiel Z

100% it will make me rethink using United.

I’m a loyal Delta customer and have no reason to move. But until now, if I ever needed to move it wouldn’t be United simply due to their lack of Kennedy flights.

Now you never know

U K

It will certainly make me consider UAL now, as EWR is just a right pita.

Which terminal ?

Wonder which terminal they will use?

Delta has their own 2.
American & JetBlue each have their own.

Where do they fit in ?

Shmooger

T4 is probably their best option

ad120

I’d say T1 to connect with *A but I don’t think there are any domestic flights from there.

RME

As a lifetime Gold Premier and an almost monthly JFK-LAX flier (preCovid), I was disappointed when United left JFK and I then became a Silver Medallion on Delta and then a Mosaic on Jetblue. I would love for United to come back so I don’t have to work for my Status.

Eli

Sweet. Will we be able to fly over the Verrazano again? 😉

Yitz

Dan you are too good:
“I can actually see United getting back into JFK-LAX, especially if slot prices drop due to the pandemic.”

From 9/10:
https://www.dansdeals.com/points-travel/airlines/united/el-al-idles-united-launches-chicago-tel-aviv-service-airlines-smell-blood-skies/#comment-1491983

Shaul

I thihk the main goal would be to service those *A partners without robust EWR presence.

Additionally, it would be to service those contracts who would want UA for international service but also to fly into JFK.

As an aside, it is almost always quicker to go EWR-midtown than JFK-Midtown, so I’m skeptical why these contracts wpul specifically want JFK.

Brodes18

There is a large swath of people in LI or Westchester that will not go to EWR. Probably for them.

YYZOGG

That’s an amazing route when connecting from asia/ Hawaii. I miss the P.S. flight especially when trying to get to the five towns on friday a afternoon! Newark is to far.

I wonder if the same 60 y/o flight attendants and GA’s come back to JFK now they would be 65 + . Back then, they would recognize many of their passengers in J. Many commuters.

YYZOGG

Also hope this means AC makes a come back to JFK!!

JOBURG

I wish they would make their new JNB route from jfk rather

ari

Maybe its a good time to abandon the LGA 1500 mile rule

Dave

So unless you are flying JFK to LA, Chicago, or Houston— this is just another terminal to drive past

Jew

I used to fly lax-jfk all the time on UA until they moved out.
Now I’m a loyal JetBlue mosaic fan (with a few mint flights too)
I would consider UA if there’s good mileage options. (For J)

Izz

I know unlikely…

I would love to see a shuttle operation for JFK to EWR.

Flights would be cheap on fuel and connect to their main hub. They can promote it even as a sightseeing flight over NYC 🙂

Maybe maybe..

NY

Any chance we can see Southwest in JFK ?

Shmooger

Depends which direction you look 🙂

Steve

UA has pretty premium heavy service to LHR. Any chance they do an all J flight from JFK now that BA canceled theirs? Maybe a reconfigured 752

Ramat eshkol

I assume this will drive down pricing
And make our trips down to Miami in the winter more affordable
41st St leitzing, shein whutttt

Isaac

I am a delta Platinum member and was using few times the United Route to TLV and Europa due to Delta not having service these days and I can say United remind me ELAL in terms of service. They need to work hard to compete with Delta.

Abey

It’s great to see legacy carriers ease up on the strictly hub model. Take for example ny to south Florida ua has countless frequency why not move some to jfk to serve more customers? DL has been doing that for a while and fares always seem to be high on those routes which means it’s working well.
There are countless others where have a flight every hour, can move some to jfk or other alternate airports to serve more customers especially where pax will pay a premium (PBI sky high fares, PSP, I’m sure there are others)
The mantra continues:DL leads UA follows AA licks the dust

Bee

Dan,

Just dreaming here !!

Considering NYC-TLV is United most profitable route followed by Delhi India how sweet would it be if United were to transfer a 787-8 or 9 to JFK fly to TLV around 8pm arrive TLV early morning beat all rush hour traffic and then on the westbound flight they would turn it around JFK to LAX and then the LAX inbound flight turn around to TLV again this would put Delta and their miserable aircraft out of the playing field and boy would we United TLV customers love it

Best will be that Delta will have to counter by bringing in their A350 on the TLV route and its win win for everyone

Of course before ElAl even gets to spread their wings again and bingo they have a guranteed winner

Ben

How about YUL-JFK

Doug Arthur

Will Delta ever start a EWR-TLV non-stop route?

Eli

What happened to EWR-FLL?
Why do they keep cancelling all the good flights??? (late flights out, early flights back)

Ariel

Where do you see those prices?!

Artem

Finally what a dumb move to give up JFK 5 years ago

Izz

Not seeing any dates for under $468 on Matrix. Where are you seeing the lower J fare from JFK?

Bibi is such a putz

If only upon entering New York we wouldn’t have to deal with SS Officer Cuomo wasn’t deciding who goes left and who goes right…

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