United’s new Airbus A321neo takes its inaugural flight from Houston today, November 30 to Chicago (O’Hare).
The aircraft, the pictured N44501, is sscheduled to depart from Houston (Bush Intercontinental) at 17:30 (5:30 pm CS), operating flight UA321 to Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD).
This is the first new Airbus aircraft to enter United’s fleet since 2002 and features United’s most advanced cabin interior yet – including Panasonic’s new NEXT inflight entertainment system, which offers an up to 13 inch, 4K screen and a customizable passenger experience including curated content options, a more detailed flight timeline, 3D map with destination guides and onboard food and beverage menus.
The new aircraft also offers:
United’s new domestic first-class seat, with wireless charging and more privacy
Larger overhead bins with space for every passenger’s roll aboard bag
High-speed Wi-Fi with streaming capabilities
LED lighting designed to create a modern, calming atmosphere
The A321neo is just the latest addition to United’s fleet as progress continues on the airline’s ambitious United Next growth strategy; United expects to take delivery of about 800 new narrowbody and widebody aircraft between 2023 and the end of 2032, while retrofitting existing narrowbody aircraft with United’s Signature Interior.
Top Copyright Photo: United Airlines Airbus A321-271NX WL D-AXXH (N44501) (msn 11500) XFW (Gerd Beilfuss). Image: 961507.
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United Airlines and the Houston Airport System (HAS) announced today a landmark investment in United’s hub at George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) with United’s Terminal B Transformation Program. This ambitious project is set to redefine the air travel experience and cater to the future needs of an estimated 36 million passengers. The program encompasses the construction of 40 new gates for both domestic and international travel, ensuring a cutting-edge experience for travelers.
Travelers will find new convenience and amenities throughout their airport experience. The Terminal B transformation includes expanding curbside and roadway capacity, along with expanding the ticketing lobby, offering passengers convenience through dynamic signage, intuitive wayfinding systems and a ground-level check-in area. The third floor is expected to house a streamlined security processing area.
Once through security, the New Terminal B North expansion comprises two new passenger concourses, replacing the 1969-era Flight Stations. The Terminal B North Concourse, spanning approximately 765,000 square feet over three levels, will house 22 narrow-body gates. Additionally, a large United ClubSM at the mezzanine level will offer unobstructed views of the airfield, set to become the largest club in the United system.
The Terminal B South Concourse project involves converting 30 gates that currently house smaller, 50-seat regional jets to accommodate larger, two-class regional jets . Unlike in the current terminal, all flights will be boarded via jet bridge.
The concourse design caters to a multitude of travelers and is expected to feature amenities like a sensory room, a multimedia interactive United-branded “park,” and comfort zones for passengers with disabilities that provides a quiet space for those needing to decompress between TSA and boarding processing. The project will also include two major concessions hubs, offering 115,000 square feet of state-of-the-art food and retail space including unique dining and shopping experiences.
The baggage claim hall will be expanded, and a new baggage handling system, equipped with advanced baggage tracking technology, will support increased capacity.
“The expansion of Terminal B underscores the shared commitment between United Airlines and the City of Houston to enhance Bush Airport and Houston’s economy,” said Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner. “This redevelopment program will bring nearly 3,000 new jobs to Houston. The bigger and more modern domestic terminal will amplify Houston’s reputation as a premier destination and cultivate even more opportunities for future economic development. As a global city and a sought-after destination, larger and more efficient aircraft flying to Houston will improve the passenger experience and support our promise to advance sustainable practices.”
United Airlines expects to invest more than $1.9 billion in the Terminal B Transformation Program and the City of Houston expects to fund $624 million in enabling projects required for the program. On Wednesday, November 15, 2023, Houston City Council approved and authorized a Memorandum of Agreement between the City of Houston and United Airlines. The City of Houstonintends to submit, for City Council approval, requests for the appropriation of funds in several tranches over the course of the project.
The enabling project costs assumed by the City of Houston are fully recoverable over time and after the project’s completion through rates and charges payable by airlines and other operators at IAH with whom the City has agreements. The funding to be provided by the Houston Airport System enterprise fund is consistent with federal law as an appropriate use of airport revenues.
“The redevelopment of one of Bush Airport’s oldest terminals is a symbol of the crucial role air service plays in the economic vitality of Houston. Our long-standing partnership with United Airlines has led to this historic growth and revitalization opportunity for Houston Airports,” said Mario Diaz, Aviation Director for the City of Houston. “As we make significant progress on the new international terminal at Bush Airport to meet the growing demand for international travel, United Airlines’ Terminal B transformation will help Houston meet the growing demand for domestic travel. Today’s decision underscores our strategy to gain passengers’ trust by providing safe, clean, world-class facilities with outstanding 5-Star customer service.”
Construction and design
The IAH Terminal B Transformation Program, spearheaded by the seasoned Program Management team at AvAirPros and STV, comprises three pivotal components:
The Terminal B arrival and departures hall is designed by Page, a full service design, architecture and engineering firm based in Houston; and Grimshaw Architects, a London-based architectural firm and will be constructed by Clark Construction.
The Terminal B Concourses designed by PGAL, a Houston-based international design firm specializing in architecture, interiors, engineering, and to be built by Manhattan Construction, a Houston-based company.
The Baggage Handling System, will be designed by Siemens’, employing their expertise in design and construction of these highly technical systems.
“At Clark Construction, we pride ourselves on building projects that matter to the communities where we live and work,” said Cara Lanigan, CEO of Clark Construction’s Central Group. “We’re humbled by the opportunity to work alongside United Airlines and the entire IAH Terminal B Transformation Team to enhance the traveler experience while creating job opportunities for the local Houston community.”
“Manhattan Construction Company is extremely proud of the successful and award-winning projects that we have constructed alongside United at IAH over the past 25 years,” says Jason Fuller, Vice President of Manhattan Construction Company. “We look forward to continuing this legacy on the Terminal B Transformation program. This is a milestone project that will provide great economic opportunities for local Houston businesses, as together we build an expanded and innovative concourse complex that will benefit our entire community. Manhattan’s core team for this project are Houstonians who have spent the bulk of their careers constructing aviation projects here at IAH, and we truly appreciate the opportunity to partner with United Airlines, the Houston Airport System, and all of our local trade contractors to deliver this landmark program.”
United Airlines has announced today that it will offer nonstop flights between the United States and the soon-to-open Tulum International Airport (TQO) in Mexico with 22 weekly flights from Newark, Houston (Bush) and Chicago (O’Hare) beginning March 31, 2024*.
On May 23, United will add daily seasonal service from Los Angeles, resulting in up to five daily flights from United’s hubs to Tulum this upcoming summer*. Flights will be available for sale beginning November 18.
This winter, United will be the largest airline between the U.S. and Riviera Maya region and will have the most flying to Cancun in its history. United will offer more than 200 weekly flights from eight U.S. cities to Cancun during the winter peak, including flights on the airline’s Boeing 777 widebody aircraft from Chicago, Denver and Houston. United will also continue to fly between Cozumel and Chicago, Denver and Houston, operating up to 11 weekly flights this winter.
United also is growing its network in the broader Latin America and Caribbean region by 25% this winter, and will remain the largest U.S. airline to Central America. Some additional enhancements in United’s Caribbean and Latin America winter schedule include:
New routes between Denver and San Juan, Puerto Rico, and Denver and Montego Bay, Jamaica
Three daily flights between Newark/New York and Santiago, Dominican Republic and Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
Two daily flights between Newark/New York and Oranjestad, Aruba; Montego Bay, Jamaica; and Nassau, Bahamas
Two daily flights between Washington/Dulles and Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
Daily flights between Chicago/O’Hare and Nassau, Bahamas
Daily flights between Newark/New York and Georgetown, Cayman Islands and Puerto Plato, Dominican Republic
Three weekly flights between Newark/New York and Bonaire
Three daily flights between Houston and San Jose, Costa Rica and San Salvador, El Salvador
Two daily flights between Houston and Belize City, Belize
Daily flights between Denver and Liberia, Costa Rica
Daily flights between Los Angeles and Guatemala City, Guatemala and San Salvador, El Salvador
Daily flights between Newark/New York and Liberia, Costa Rica
Four daily flights between Chicago and Cancun, Mexico
Three daily flights between Houston and Leon/Guanajuato, Mexico
Two daily flights between Denver and Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
Two daily flights between San Francisco and Puerto Vallarta, Mexico and San Jose del Cabo, Mexico
Daily flights between Cleveland and Cancun, Mexico for the peak Christmas and New Years holiday period; 6x weekly flights in March
Ten weekly flights between Houston and Buenos Aires, Argentina
United Airlines announced today it has filed an application with the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) for daily nonstop flights between Houston’s Bush Intercontinental Airport and Tokyo’s Haneda Airport. If approved, United will become the first U.S. carrier to fly nonstop service between Houston and Haneda. This new route will benefit the Houston region’s rapidly growing population, 240+ Japanese-affiliated companies, as well as consumers living in communities across the Southern U.S.
The flights will connect 64 communities across the Southern U.S. to Haneda and represent roughly 575,000 annual Tokyo bookings or 21% of all U.S. mainland – Tokyo demand. While Houston has only one flight to Haneda (operated by a foreign carrier), New York/Newark has five, Los Angeles has seven, Chicago has three, and Washington, D.C. and Dallas/Fort Worth each have two. This new route will deliver more parity among major markets, while providing needed seats and travel flexibility to business and leisure travelers alike.
United Airlines has announced it will offer more flights to Florida this winter than it has in the airline’s history – growing its schedule by nearly 20% compared to last winter with more flights to popular sun destinations including Miami, Tampa and Orlando and by flying larger planes with more seats.
For the first time in the company’s history, United will fly mainline aircraft and nearly double the amount of seats between Key West International Airport and several United Hub airports including Chicago O’Hare, Washington Dulles, Houston, and Newark/New York.
And for those customers who prefer snow over sand, the airline remains the nation’s largest carrier to popular ski destinations, with direct flights this winter to 11 different winter sports hubs including Jackson Hole, Vail and Big Sky.
According to new search and booking data from United.com, Miami and Orlando are two of the top five most-searched domestic travel destinations this winter. Honolulu, Cancun and Las Vegas round out the top five most-searched destinations from November 1 to March 31.
With demand for travel to Florida this winter up significantly compared to last year, United is flying larger aircraft that give customers more options on how they choose to fly with the airline. Reinforcing the airline’s United Next strategy, customers are able to customize their travel journey more than ever before – whether they’d like to have an elevated experience in United First® or a budget-friendly Basic Economy fare.
United will fly one of its newest planes – the Airbus 321neo – on select routes to Fort Lauderdale, Orlandoand Fort Myers, FL beginning in December, adding more seats to some of Florida’s most popular cities. The company recently announced the purchase of 60 additional Airbus 321neos, with deliveries beginning in 2028.
United’s Largest Florida Expansion
United plans to increase the number of flights it operates between key routes including Chicago-Fort Myers, Denver-Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood, and Chicago O’Hare-Miami. United will fly the Boeing 777 aircraft between Chicago and Orlando, which offers more than double the seats of a narrowbody aircraft.
It’s also never been easier to reach the southernmost point in Florida on United; starting on November 28, the airline will fly Boeing 737-700 aircraft to Key West International Airport (EYW) for the first time in the company’s history. Nonstop routes will include Newark/New York, Washington Dulles, Houston, and Chicago O’Hare.
Northeastern Ohioans will have even more options for a Florida getaway this winter as well; United is expanding its daily service to several Floridadestinations out of Cleveland Hopkins International Airport (CLE):
Increasing frequency of flights from Cleveland from one flight per day to Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers and Orlando to two daily, nonstop flights.
Reintroducing daily nonstop service to Tampa, operating on a Boeing 737-900ER.
U.S. Ski Destinations
As the largest carrier to ski destinations in the United States, United currently serves 11 ski stations with service from all its hubs across the country, making it easy for travelers to connect to their favorite mountains and slopes.
This winter, the company plans to expand its East Coast service to include more nonstop flights from Newark/New York to Jackson Hole, WY; Eagle/Vail, CO; Hayden/Steamboat, CO; Montrose/Telluride, CO; and Bozeman/Big Sky, MT in addition to more flights to Steamboat and Montrose/Telluride.
Top Copyright Photo: United Airlines Airbus A319-132 N877UA (msn 2232) SNA (Michael B. Ing). Image: 961898.
United launched its international winter schedule this year with 50 additional daily flights compared to last winter, and has become the first U.S. carrier to fly direct from the continental U.S. to Manila, Philippines and will be the only carrier to fly between the U.S. and Christchurch, New Zealand, starting this December. United will also be the first U.S. airline to return to Beijing when service from San Francisco resumes on Nov. 9. In total, the airline will fly to more than 110 international destinations and grow its schedule by more than 25% versus last year, the largest winter expansion in its history.
To meet the growing demand for international travel, United strategically expanded its network with new and increased flying to key markets this winter, including:
New service to Manila, Philippines and soon Christchurch, New Zealand
New flights to Auckland, Brisbane, Hong Kong, Tokyo/Narita, San Juan and Montego Bay
Daily service to Beijing and Shanghai
Extended service to Athens, Barcelona, Rome and Paris
Historic Expansion in Asia-Pacific
This year, United saw an unprecedented surge in Asia-Pacific travel demand and continues to rebuild its network across the Pacific to serve this sustained strength in the market. The airline’s transpacific network is 94% larger this winter than last winter, with a historic expansion in the South Pacific, the rebuilding of its China network and the addition of 15 daily non-stop flights across the Pacific region. This will make United’s Asia-Pacific network larger than pre-COVID for the first time.
United is in the midst of the largest South Pacific expansion in aviation history, adding over 40% more flights between the U.S. and Australia/New Zealand for the winter season, compared to last year. This winter, United will operate 66 flights between the U.S. and Australia/New Zealand per week.
Key highlights include:
First and Only Non-Stop Flight between U.S-Christchurch: Starting December 8, United will be the only airline to offer direct flights between the U.S. and New Zealand’s South Island, with the first direct San Francisco-Christchurch service.
New Los Angeles-Auckland Service: On October 28, United launched its new Los Angeles-Auckland service, building on its position as the largest U.S. airline to serve Auckland.
New Los Angeles-Brisbane Service: On November 29, United will become the largest carrier between the U.S. and Brisbane with its new service from Los Angeles.
United also continues to rebuild its network in mainland China. On October 1, the airline increased its service to Shanghai with a daily flight from San Francisco, and will resume its daily San Francisco-Beijing flights on November 9.
Across the Pacific, United’s network this winter is 61% larger than all other U.S. airlines combined*, with the airline adding service to key markets, including:
First and Only Transpacific Service to the Philippines: On October 29, United became the only U.S. airline to fly direct to the Philippines from the continental U.S. with its new San Francisco-Manila flight.
New Los Angeles-Hong Kong Service: United is the only U.S. airline to fly direct to Hong Kong, and on October 28, introduced a new daily flight from Los Angeles. In total this winter, United has three daily flights to the city from Los Angeles and San Francisco.
Los Angeles-Tokyo/Narita Service: On October 28, United resumed daily, direct service between Los Angeles and Tokyo/Narita. With its existing service between Los Angeles-Tokyo/Haneda, United will now connect Los Angeles to both of Tokyo’s international airports.
More Opportunities for Transatlantic Travel
With transatlantic demand remaining at a historic high, United is extending some of its most popular seasonal routes to give customers more time to explore. This winter, United customers can take advantage of the following additional nonstop flights:
Newark – Athens, Greece: extended through November 28
Washington-Dulles – Barcelona, Spain: extended through December 13
Washington-Dulles – Rome, Italy: extended through January 8
Second daily Newark – Paris, France: extended through January 8
In total, United will fly to 25 destinations across the Atlantic this winter, more than all other U.S. carriers combined, and will be the only U.S. carrier to offer year-round, non-stop service to Dubai, Geneva, Edinburgh, Berlin and Amman.
Continued Growth in Latin America & Caribbean
For customers looking for warm-weather getaways, United has expanded its network in Latin America and the Caribbean by 30% this winter compared to last year. As part of its historic expansion out of Denver, the airline introduced two new Caribbean routes from the hub: Denver–San Juan, Puerto Rico launched on October 29 and Denver-Montego Bay, Jamaica launches on November 4.
United continues to add service from its hubs in Chicago, New York/Newark, and Washington-Dulles to destinations across the Caribbean, including Aruba, Bonaire, Grand Cayman Islands and The Bahamas.
The airline has also grown its network in Mexico by nearly 15%, compared to last winter and is now the largest carrier to the Riviera Maya region. During the winter peak, United will offer more than 200 weekly flights to Cancun from eight U.S. cities, the most in its history, including daily flights from Cleveland as well as service on its Boeing 777 widebody aircraft from Chicago, Denver and Houston. United also is increasing service from San Francisco to top Mexico beach destinations, with up to two daily flights to Puerto Vallarta and San Jose del Cabo.
United remains the largest carrier to Central America and continues to grow. The airline is increasing service this winter to some of the most popular destinations in the region, including San Jose and Liberia, Costa Rica; San Salvador, El Salvador; Belize City, Belize and Guatemala City, Guatemala.
*Excluding mainland China
Top Copyright Photo: United Airlines Boeing 787-10 Dreamliner N12020 (msn 66989) LAX (Michael B. Ing). Image: 961848.