After a suspension throughout much of 2019, United has reversed course and is restoring service between Philadelphia and Washington Dulles.
Back in January, United cut this longstanding route, telling me:
Service between Washington Dulles and Philadelphia was primarily operated with regional jets and as you have seen with our East Coast schedule adjustments, our focus is providing more mainline service between our hubs and a city like Philadelphia, for example. Because of the short distance the route generated very few local passengers and the majority of the connecting traffic was duplicative of some of the other flights we operate and did not meet our financial expectations.
Instead, it beefed up service to Chicago, Denver, and Houston while maintaining service to San Francisco.
But now United is bringing back, and not just a 1-2 frequencies, but four flights per day.
The route will still be served by regional jets and still likely have very little local traffic when Amtrak, in this case, is so much more convenient. But that was never the issue: the key is connecting traffic.
The new schedule closely resembles the old schedule. Tickets are available for purchase now and the flights will start on May 8, 2020. All flights will be operated utilizing an Embraer RJ 145 regional jet by Commutair on behalf of United Express.
- Philadelphia – Washington
- UA4966 6:15AM- 7:15AM
- UA4911 10:15AM-11:15AM
- UA4963 2:50PM – 3:50PM
- UA5015 8:05PM – 9:05PM
- Washington – Philadelphia
- UA4880 8:33AM – 9:38AM
- UA 4889 12:55PM -2:00PM
- UA4959 5:4oPM – 6:45PM
- UA5016 10:15PM – 11:20PM
It is nice to see this route return and it has Scott Kirby written all over it, who has been aggressive in challenging competitors on key domestic markets.
This route really is not about local traffic between the two airports. Instead, it is about connecting traffic along the East Coast, particularly the Southeast. It did not make much sense to connect in Houston or Chicago for a trip from Philadelphia to Florida. With the Washington Dulles connection back, United stands to pick up a lot more East Coast travelers in Philadelphia.