▶ Watch Video: Up, up and away: Travel industry prepares for post-pandemic surge

United Airlines is preparing to fly its largest flight schedule since before the pandemic started to accommodate the nation’s growing demand for summer travel, the airline announced Friday. In June, United will restart 16 flight routes, add more than 480 daily U.S flights and add nine completely new routes to more than 240 total destinations.

“June is historically the beginning of the peak summer travel season,” vice president of domestic planning and scheduling at United Ankit Gupta said in the statement. “Ramping up to over 3,500 total daily flights across the system this June underscores the continued demand for leisure travel and our responsiveness to meeting that demand.” 

This summer in comparison to its 2019 schedule, United will fly 67% of its domestic schedule and 60% of its overall network schedule. 

The airline’s increased summer network plan comes following guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released in April that fully vaccinated people can travel within the U.S. at a low risk of catching COVID-19. The guidelines state that fully-vaccinated travelers do not need to be tested before or after their travels unless required to do so by their destination, and said that they do not need to self-quarantine. Travelers are still recommended to follow safety guidelines from the CDC, like wearing face masks and social distancing, regardless of their vaccination status.

And as of Friday, 222 million COVID-19 vaccinations have been administered in the United States, the CDC reported

Since March 11, 2021, more than 1 million people have consistently traveled by plane every single day, including some of the highest days of travel for passengers since before the pandemic began, according to the Transportation Security Administration.

Just last month, United Airlines reported that nearly 5,000 bookings were made within 48 hours of announcing new summer flights in the Midwest. 

But as more domestic flights are planned for the summer, the US State Department said that it will increase its “Do Not Travel” guidance to 80% of countries worldwide due to the “unprecedented risks” amid the pandemic. The Department has already labeled 34 countries at the highest risk for travel advisories. 

United Airlines said that it will continue to require all passengers over aged 2 to wear face masks during flights, disinfect high-touch areas and promote social distancing in accordance with their CleanPlus program partnered with Clorox and Cleveland Clinic.

“United is committed to putting health and safety at the forefront of every customer’s journey, with the goal of delivering an industry-leading standard of cleanliness,” a press release from the airline stated.