United was originally planning to return to JFK on Feb 1.

By Christine Burroni
November 10, 2020
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Credit: AaronP/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images

Two months after United Airlines announced it would be returning to JFK Airport with flights to California, the airline has postponed its start date by a few weeks due to COVID-19.

"Due to new travel restrictions and the continued impact of COVID-19 on customer demand, we are delaying the start of our service between New York's JFK Airport and our hubs in San Francisco and Los Angeles until February 28, 2021," a spokesperson for United confirmed to Travel + Leisure on Wednesday. "Throughout the pandemic, United has been a leader in nimbly reshaping our schedule, and we look forward to offering this convenient service and a best-in-class product from New York City to the West Coast in the coming weeks."

United was originally planning to return to the New York airport on Feb 1.

The Points Guy also reported that United will be increasing its flights from JFK to the west coast from two roundtrip flights per week to five.

"This has been a long time coming and we are really excited to be a part of the JFK service again" United's VP of Network Planning and Scheduling, Ankit Gupta, said on a media call in November. "We haven't been in the airport for the past 5 years and this really reflects our strong commitment to the New York City area."

United's JFK service will operate out of Terminal 7 and flights will be aboard a Boeing 767.

"This is an opportunity for us to attract some new customers and give those customers who prefer JFK and fly out of JFK regularly the opportunity to try somebody different and the opportunity to try somebody new," United's Chief Communications Officer, Josh Earnest, said on the call.

Earnest noted they do not anticipate having to recall employees who were furloughed due to the COVID-19 pandemic as the return to JFK was already incorporated into a prior staffing plan.

The airline has previously added routes to popular destinations in Florida as well as international destinations including New Delhi and Ghana, despite the COVID-19 pandemic severely limiting travel.

Christine Burroni is Travel + Leisure's Digital News Editor. Find her keeping up with just about everything on Twitter or see what she's up to in NYC or on her latest trip on Instagram.