No turkey here: United’s performance shines over Thanksgiving week

Since airlines always are getting blamed for travel failures at airports — even when it’s not their fault — we thought we’d give credit where credit is due: United Airlines did great over the Thanksgiving holiday.

Consider — during the week of Nov. 17 to Nov. 26:

  • Three of every four flights at Newark Liberty International Airport were on time (75.4%) — which was 6 points higher than the previous best Thanksgiving;
  • Only three outbound flights were canceled for the entire nine-day period — the fewest flights ever canceled during a Thanksgiving holiday travel period;
  • More than 900,000 inbound/outbound customers went through EWR over the Thanksgiving holiday travel period — a 5% increase from 2022.

“Our EWR team achieved its ‘best ever’ Thanksgiving for reliability,” United spokesperson Anthony Fleet said.

It didn’t happen by accident, either.

United uses what it calls “ConnectionSaver” technology, Fleet explained.

ConnectionSaver identifies flights the airline could briefly hold for late-arriving connecting passengers with relatively little risk of further disruption.

The tool considers many factors, including gate-to-gate travel times, crew duty limits, current gate use situation and connecting baggage, among other things, to accurately gauge the impact of a gate hold.

“We’ll hold flights for connecting customers within a certain time frame,” Fleet said. “The flight would have otherwise departed on time, but it’s more valuable to wait for connecting passengers to ensure they make it to their final destination.”

On that, all passengers would agree.