Unlocking the World

After 2022's chaos, United Airlines says it's adding trans-Atlantic flights next summer

Gregory WallacePublished 12th October 2022
United Airlines Boeing 767-322(ER) airplane at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol in Amsterdam, Netherlands on May 03, 2022.
(CNN) — United Airlines plans to expand its trans-Atlantic flying next summer and says it is "redoubling" efforts to prevent a repeat of the chaos travelers to Europe experienced this year.
Understaffing produced misery at European airports from London to Amsterdam: Piles of baggage, hours-long lines and passengers who were cooling their heels at the airports and missing flights.
"We're also working very close with the actual airports in Europe to make sure that they can handle our passengers and handle the new flights at the appropriate times -- getting everyone with their baggage on time, every time," United executive Patrick Quayle told reporters.
"We've just kind of redoubled our efforts to make sure that process is smoother," Quayle said.
United's summer 2023 schedule will include three new destinations, four new city pairs and additional frequency on other routes, he said.
The new cities are Dubai in the Middle East; Malaga, Spain; and Stockholm, Sweden.
The airline described its trans-Atlantic schedule as 10% larger compared to 2022, and 30% more than in 2019.

The issue with passenger caps

Travelers queue at Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam on September 12, 2022.
Travelers queue at Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam on September 12, 2022.
Ramon van Flymen/ANP/AFP/Getty Images
Airlines -- not just United -- have been forced to cut their flying in some cases because of limits imposed by airports to reduce the disruption.
London Heathrow this week said it planned to drop its passenger cap this month and "get back to full capacity ... as soon as possible."
United's Quayle said he hopes the caps in Europe are lifted well before United's trans-Atlantic additions start next spring.
"Airlines are being forced to reduce the flying because of passenger caps," he said. "And so I would truly be speculating -- I hope it doesn't last longer than the fall and into the winter season. I hope it's resolved by next spring or next summer, but I don't know."
His hopes might be dashed at one airport -- the troubled Schiphol in Amsterdam.
Long considered one of the most efficient and highly regarded airports in Europe, labor shortages continue to fuel unprecedented chaos there that goes back to the spring.
The beleaguered airport -- the world's third busiest for international passenger numbers in 2021 -- has continued to cut flight capacity, with plans to cap passengers through early 2023.
Further compounding the uncertainty: The Dutch parliament announced recently that it seeks to further limit the airport's yearly maximum number of flight moments from 500,000 to 440,000 to reduce emissions and noise pollution.