United axes transatlantic and transpacific flights

3 Jul 2008 by Mark Caswell

United is responding to the rising cost of aviation fuel by cancelling some key services between the US, Europe and Asia.

In a surprise move the carrier has opted to abandon its London Heathrow to Denver service from October 25. Yet this route, operated daily by B777s, was launched as recently as March 30. Passengers will be offered connections via either Washington DC or Chicago. On the same day United will also discontinue flying from Frankfurt to Los Angeles.

United has decided to spare another newish European route - Rome to Washington Dulles - by operating a smaller and more economical B767 instead of the rostered B777 effective October 25

The transpacific cuts include the key Los Angeles to Hong Kong service which will cease on September 1. On the same day United’s direct San Francisco-Taipei route will be changed to a connecting service via Tokyo Narita. From October 25, United says it will axe its San Francisco to Nagoya service.

In a reactive statement United says, “We are countering record-high fuel prices and a softening US economy by taking aggressive action to reduce our capacity, retire aircraft and eliminate the least profitable markets from our autumn schedule so that we are able to compete effectively in this challenging environment.”

The cuts are not good news for transpacific and transatlantic passengers, nor those who have booked Star RTW tickets, as United provided good links between Asia and the US. Alternatives include other Star Alliance members who serve these routes either directly or indirectly.

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Report by Alex McWhirter

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