United has announced 26 new seasonal summer routes connecting Midwest cities that are not part of its hub network with popular vacation destinations.
Most of the point-to-point routes will be operated on twin-cabin, 50-seat, Bombardier CRJ-550 aircraft. United unveiled the CRJ-550 in 2019 as the only 50-seat jet to feature a true first-class cabin, with the goal of enticing business travel from small markets. But with the Covid-19 pandemic disproportionately impacting business traffic, the airline is putting the regional jet to broader use.
The 26 routes include origins in Cleveland, Cincinnati, Columbus, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, St. Louis and Pittsburgh. Destinations include Charleston, Hilton Head and Myrtle Beach in South Carolina; Pensacola, Fla.; Portland, Maine; and Savannah, Ga. Routes will be flown between twice and four-times weekly and commence on May 27.
Introduction of the seasonal point-to-point routes is an expansion of a strategy United has adopted during the pandemic as it seeks out demand wherever it can, even if that means diverging from its normal connecting hub network.
United also said Thursday that it will fly more to Latin America and the Caribbean in May than it did in May 2019.
In total, United plans to operate 52% of its overall schedule this May compared with May 2019.