United Airlines Amid COVID-19

Katherine Portillo, Photographer

As the coronavirus pandemic increases we see certain services begin to decrease, especially Airline companies with no one wanting to fly anywhere during this time. As United Airlines is one of the biggest airlines in the US, it is also the biggest non-asian carrier in Asia, where the epidemic first began, this virus has struck this specific airline the hardest out of US carriers.


Before the virus began, United was having over 4,000 daily departures. Now, because of COVID-19, this airline is having less than half of this amount. Maureen Portillo, Account Manager for United Airlines talked about the statistics in the decrease for departures.


“Last week our Schedule reductions went down 60% on all domestic flights and 85% decrease on all international flights for the month of April,” Portillo Stated. “This is awful for us, we are so behind in flights that we are even offering our pilots a month off of work due to this epidemic”


Because over half of United’s flights have been canceled, the airline is offering a no penalty flight change, meaning that if you have purchased a ticket and for whatever reason, the flight is not able to happen, the owner of the ticket will be able to make any changes to their ticket, whether it be the destination or date. 


Same concept goes for someone buying a ticket right now. Ticket sales have plummeted drastically, and because of this there are discounts up to 40% off the original offer. Even with these offers, hardly anyone is wanting to buy a ticket due to COVID-19. Junior, Michelle Flores, talked about how this pandemic affected her family’s travel plans.


“I was supposed to travel to New York on United but because of the virus our flight was postponed to an unknown date,” Flores stated. “I was really upset at first but then I began to read about how truly serious this pandemic was getting and decided it was probably for the best.” 


Another big problem United may be facing is the possibility of a forced lay-off among their employees. Due to the company making an unexpectedly low amount of money, workers are not being paid their earned salary. If they need to lay-off, it would only be for as long as the epidemic continues, Brian Roth, Regional Sales Director spoke on the topic.


“If United doesn’t get Government assistance by March 31, the company will have to lay-off up to 60% of our workforce and employees, we are already asking if anyone wants to take up to a 6 month no pay vacation,” Roth stated. “All of our jobs are in potential jeopardy because of coronavirus, I really hope it doesn’t come down to the lay-off.”


The Corona Virus has set up many obstacles for United airlines and will keep doing so until tamed. People all over the world will continue to watch how COVID-19 increases and affects their everyday life.