United cuts 12 more routes as demand shrinks, pilot shortage looms

  • United is cutting routes originating from Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago and other cities.
  • The airline’s West Coast hubs will see most of the cuts.
  • United ranks as the fourth largest airline in the US based on available seats.

United Airlines is cutting service from some of its biggest hubs as the nation’s fourth-largest carrier continues to aggressively shed small cities amid a nationwide pilot shortage.

The Chicago-based carrier is suspending 12 routes originating from Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Houston and Newark, Points Guy first reported and the airline later confirmed to Insider.

Here are all the routes cut in the latest tweak:

  • San Francisco to Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport
  • San Francisco to St. Louis Lambert
  • San Francisco to Will Rogers World Airport in Oklahoma City
  • San Francisco Regional Airport to Dane County in Wisconsin
  • Los Angeles to Colorado Springs Airport in Colorado
  • Los Angeles to Dane County Regional Airport in Wisconsin
  • Los Angeles to Eugene Airport in Oregon
  • Los Angeles to Rogue Valley International-Medford Airport in Oregon
  • Chicago O’Hare International Airport to Santa Barbara Airport in California
  • Chicago O’Hare International Airport to Eugene Airport in Oregon
  • Houston George Bush Intercontinental Airport to Edmonton International Airport, Canada
  • Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey to Arkansas Northwest Airport in Bentonville, Arkansas

United regularly adjusts its schedule for a variety of reasons, including demand and the broader need of its network, the airline said.

As carriers continue to recover from the pandemic slowdown, United ranks as the fourth-largest airline in the United States based on available seats, according to data from the International Air Transport Organization.

United has been cutting routes for more than a year now and grounding regional jets due to a lack of enough pilots. A combination of low passenger demand, staff shortages and high operating costs forced United, American and Delta to abandon smaller markets.

US airlines have no civic responsibility to serve small cities, Atmosphere Research Group president and travel analyst Henry Harteveldt told Insider.

“Airlines will look for markets that they think will give them an advantage, but if a city is not profitable, they will cut it,” Harteveldt said.

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