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United Buys Into VFR Strategy by Adding Florida Flights

United Buys Into VFR Strategy by Adding Florida Flights
Joe Cortez

As other airlines increase their leisure travel footprint, United Airlines will do the same by adding flights throughout the Midwest and Northeast to Florida. Seven northern cities will get direct routes to four key Florida Markets by the end of the year, including Orlando and Fort Lauderdale.

With corporate travel grounded for the foreseen future, United Airlines is adding more leisure flights from the Midwest into Florida. In a press release, the Chicago-based carrier announced the launch of new direct routes from seven cities into four Florida key markets.

Cleveland, Columbus, Indianapolis and Pittsburgh to Get New Flights

The new routes will offer direct service from underserved airports direct to four Florida cities: Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers, Orlando and Tampa. Leaders at the airline say the new routes reflect customer demand for more travel options.

“”The addition of these new flights represents United’s largest expansion of point-to-point, non-hub flying and reflects our data driven approach to add capacity where customers are telling us they want to go,” Ankit Gupta, vice president of domestic network planning for United, said in the press release. “We look forward to offering customers in the Midwest and Northeast more options to fly nonstop to Florida this winter.”

The routes will be broken into two phases. The first will be a seasonal run from Nov. 6, 2020 through Jan. 10, 2021, offering direct service to all four Florida cities from Boston Logan International Airport (BOS), Cleveland Hopkins International Airport (CLE), and LaGuardia International Airport (LGA) in New York.

The second phase will introduce permanent routes between all seven Midwest and Northeast cities to Florida. Boston, Cleveland and New York will get new service to all four cities, while Milwaukee Mitchell Airport (MKE) will get service to two cities: Tampa and Fort Myers. Columbus John Glenn International Airport (CMH), Indianapolis International Airport (IND) and Pittsburgh International Airport (PIT) will only receive service to Fort Myers.

Image courtesy: United Airlines

New Service Compliments Larger “Visiting Friends and Relatives” Strategy

With corporate travel not expected to recover for at least three to five years, United’s strategy adds on to the larger “VFR” strategy: Visiting friends and relatives. In July 2020, JetBlue announced a massive route expansion across the country to support leisure travel, while consolidating their operations at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). In turn, Alaska Airlines boosted their west coast service, adding 12 new nonstop routes out of Los Angeles.

View Comments (7)


  1. chavala

    August 12, 2020 at 4:53 pm

    Just don’t get caught. Easy.

  2. c1ue

    August 13, 2020 at 7:50 am

    I wonder if the headline was deliberately trolling the IFR/vFR pilot navigation thing?

  3. snidely

    August 13, 2020 at 9:34 am

    I wish Alaska would offer more service out of OAK. Unless we want to pay the HIGH fare$ on WN to So. Ca. airposts, have to go across Bay to SFO.

  4. glob99

    August 13, 2020 at 10:57 am

    Sounds like a good strategy to spread the virus. ;)

  5. makfan

    August 13, 2020 at 11:00 am

    When it comes to aviation, VFR will always mean “visual flight rules.”

  6. BC Shelby

    August 13, 2020 at 11:51 am

    …the permanent Florida routes from MKE is a surprise as most of their service to that city has been express connector flights to ORD and I feared they’d actually pull out altogether due to COVID’s effect on air travel

  7. cmd320

    August 14, 2020 at 8:41 am

    Hopefully conditions aren’t IFR on the days they want to fly…

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