United to lay off 899 res agents, close offices

United Airlines, citing the soft economy and a reduced flight schedule, said that on Feb. 28 it would furlough 899 reservations employees and close five reservations centers.

The closings will affect administrative, reservations sales and service and management employees in four reservations centers in California: Rockford, Suisun City, Burbank, Moreno Valley and El Segundo, and one in Rockford, Ill. United will continue to operate 12 other reservations offices with 4,500 employees.

In November and December, reservations offices handled calls from customers on security issues and rebooking passengers on new flights following their schedule revision, said Joseph Laughlin, vice president-reservations. “That work is largely completed, and the current lower level of reservations telephone activity prompts today`s announcement.”

United already had reduced its workforce by 19,000 employees, Laughlin said.