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United Airlines (UAL) Plans Service Expansion for Thanksgiving

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United Airlines Holdings (UAL - Free Report) is adding more than 1,400 domestic flights to cater to the anticipated increase in demand for Thanksgiving travel. The airline expects the week of Nov 23 to be its busiest since March.

Apart from significantly boosting services, the carrier is keeping track of bookings in real time so that it can meet demand even at the last minute by switching to a larger aircraft.

However, United Airlines is seeing that approximately 50% of its customers are booking for travel less than 30 days prior to departure this year, compared to last year when around 40% customers booked flights less than 30 days before travel.

The airline anticipates bookings to follow a similar pattern in December. Adding more than 140 daily flights and increasing capacity on more than 350 routes, United Airlines expects its December flying schedule to be 48% of 2019 level.

The Chicago, IL-based airline expects its domestic schedule to be 52% of 2019 levels next month. This indicates a 3-point increase from November. Some of the December services include additional flights to popular destinations such as Fort Lauderdale, Fort Meyers, Tampa, Miami and Palm Beach in Florida and Honolulu, Maui, Kona and Lihue in Hawaii.

Moreover, in Hawaii, the carrier will restart service between Los Angeles and Hilo; Chicago, IL and Maui, HI as well as between New York/Newark and Honolulu. Beginning Dec 13, the airline is planning to increase service on 13 Hawaii routes.

Starting Dec 17, the carrier also plans to expand services to popular ski destinations such as Aspen, CO; Jackson Hole, WY; Steamboat Springs, CO; and Vail, CO.

On the international front, United Airlines expects its December flying schedule to be 43% of the 2019 level, implying a 4-point increase from November. The airline will be operating an additional 40 daily international roundtrips compared to November. Moreover, the carrier will increase service between San Francisco, CA and Taipei; Los Angeles and Sydney; and New York/Newark and Brussels, Belgium. It also intends to expand services to India with nonstop service between Chicago, IL and New Delhi. Additionally, it will increase frequency between San Francisco, CA and New Delhi to daily.

Zacks Rank & Key Picks

United Airlines carries a Zacks Rank #4 (Sell).

Some better-ranked stocks in the broader Transportation sector are Landstar System (LSTR - Free Report) , Expeditors International of Washington (EXPD - Free Report) and FedEx (FDX - Free Report) . While FedEx sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), Landstar and Expeditors carry a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

Shares of Landstar, Expeditors and FedEx have gained more than 9%, 11% and 74% so far this year, respectively.

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