Now merged with Continental, United announced on Thursday that it would add a total of 19 new routes from seven of its eight mainland hubs in 2011.
Here’s the list:
Chicago O’Hare: No new routes.
Denver: Amarillo, Texas; Dallas Love Field; Lubbock, Texas.
Houston Bush Intercontinental: Bakersfield, Calif.; Cedar Rapids, Iowa; Grand Junction, Colo.; Hobbs, N.M.; Montreal; Palm Springs, Calif.; and Reno.
Los Angeles: Austin.
Newark Liberty: Des Moines.
San Francisco: New Orleans.
Washington Dulles: Louisville, Ky.; Minneapolis/St. Paul; Salt Lake City; Tulsa; and Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands (subject to government approval).
A few routes stand out. First, I’m pleased to see United will be starting service to the Cayman Islands from Washington Dulles. Ever since I saw The Firm I’ve wanted to visit, but US Airways’ fares are always too high. With UA at least there will be upgrades and Economy Plus.
Surprisingly, UA has proposed service from Denver to Dallas Love. The Wright Amendment is still in effect until 2014 so it is likely that the route will be served by a CRJ. The Wright Amendment restricts flights from Dallas Love to intra-Texas destinations and to a handful of neighboring states, but doesn’t apply to aircraft that seat less than 56 passengers.
Finally, the Houston to Bakersfiled, CA route puzzles me a bit. I can only speculate this will be on a regional jet, but 3.5 hours is quite a long time to sit on CO Express. I’ve been to Meadows Field before (it’s about two hours from my house in CA) and I’ve never seen any mainline traffic there. If I recall correctly, however, Continental served BFL many years ago. I wish they would have chosen Burbank instead.
Overall, the new routes look good. More options are always appreciated.
There is one more new route I’d like to see: Washington to Havana. But I’ll save that discussion for another post…