United Airlines (NASDAQ: UAL) announced Monday it intends to increase flights throughout thanksgiving week as it expects to have its busiest week since March. Amid positive results from trial coronavirus vaccines and the incoming holiday travel season, the airline awaits a rush of last-minute flight bookings.
As a result of the rise in demand, the company has added 1,400 flights to its domestic schedule, an overall 9% increase and is ready to “swap in larger aircraft when needed to accommodate last-minute demand.”
The stock rose Monday following news that Pfizer’s vaccine is allegedly more than 90% effective.
Nevertheless, airline schedules and travel demand are still way down compared to the previous year’s metrics. Throughout the quarter, the Transportation Security Administration accounted for 32 million people within U.S. airports, a sharp fall when considering last year’s 90 million for the same time period.
The airline estimated that about 50% of its customers will book thanksgiving flights less than 30 days before flying.
“While this holiday travel season looks quite different than recent years, we’re continuing to follow the same playbook we have all year long—watching the data and adding more flights, adjusting schedules and leveraging larger aircraft to give customers more ways to reunite with family or reach their destinations,” Ankit Gupta, United Airlines’ vice president of network planning and scheduling, said in a statement on Monday.