United Will Allow Travelers to Rebook Off Crowded Flights

Business Travel News 5/14/2020

AAA World Article

Next week, United Airlines will begin allowing passengers on full or nearly full flights to rebook or claim a travel credit if they prefer not to sit on a crowded plane.

With current low load factors—about 85 percent of United's flights are running at less than 50 percent capacity—most passengers on flights currently are able to sit with no one in adjacent seats, and United has adjusted its seat selection systems to avoid seating customers next to one another when possible, according to the carrier. However, as capacity reductions have left United flying only one flight per day to some destinations, a few flights are running closer to full capacity.

As such, United next week through June 30 will contact travelers booked on fuller flights about 24 hours prior to departure and give them the option to change their plans. Travelers also will be able to change plans at the gate so long as more than 70 percent of passengers have checked in.

United's move follows passenger photos widely shared on social media last weekend showing a full flight.

United will add capacity on routes should they regularly run with higher load factors, according to the carrier.

The carrier also announced this week that is has begun providing sanitizing wipes onboard for travelers who want them. Additionally, it is piloting new touchless kiosks for baggage tag printing in Boston, Dallas-Fort Worth, Orlando and Chicago O'Hare airports.

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