United Airlines announced a number of new routes this morning as well as increased frequency to some popular international destinations. The new routes and frequency will cover their hubs in Chicago, Denver, Newark and San Francisco. Let’s dig in.
United will launch new service to the following routes:
- Newark to Curacao: This lightly served Caribbean will be operated on Saturdays only with a 737-700 starting December 7, 2019.
- Newark to Nice, France: This route to the south of France will be seasonal. Starting May 2, 2020 this route will operate daily on a 767-300ER until September 30, 2020. The aircraft will be a variant of the 767 that flies with an increased business class cabin.
- Newark to Palermo, Sicily: Palermo is an underserved area of Italy. This service will also launch seasonally on May 2, 2020 and run through September 30, 2020.
- Chicago to Zurich: This route starts on March 28, 2020. It will also be served with the heavier business class configuration, nicknamed “High J”.
- United will add a second daily flight between Newark and both Frankfurt and Amsterdam, both in “High J” configuration.
- Service between Denver and London (Heathrow) will move to year-round service on November 1, 2019.
- Service between San Francisco and New Delhi will move to year-round as well on December 5, 2019 on a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner.
Growing The Summer Season
In 2020, United will extend the “season” for some seasonal European flights. Service between Newark and Porto, Portugal will now start March 28, 2020 while Newark-Athens, Newark Naples and Washington-Barcelona will all start two weeks earlier on May 8, 2020.
The Final Two Pennies
There are a number of interesting observations here. Palermo is where my great grandmother emigrated from and a beautiful part of Sicily that our family hasn’t explored yet. It’s an intriguing spot on the map for United to take a stab at. Catania, located on the East Coast of Sicily, is the more popular option where many European carriers fly.
I was honestly surprised that United did not already offer service between Chicago and Zurich. That’s a really good connection to fill out the map for folks flying from the Midwest. Combine that with the second daily flights between Newark and both Frankfurt and Amsterdam as well as the increase in London service and there’s a lot more lift going to Europe.
More lift year-round as well as the increase in the seasonal service is great news for folks looking to redeem their miles for a European vacation. Traditionally, new routes take time to fill up. That means we should be keeping an eye on these routes when they go on sale to see if there are any award seats to be had. Now seems like a good time to remind folks of the fabulous train network and low-cost airline carriers in Europe. Getting to Frankfurt, Zurich and Amsterdam opens up a tremendous portion of Europe with cheap, easy train rides. Heck, we extended our Paris vacation very affordably with a train ride up to Amsterdam before departing.
The increase in business class seats on a number of these routes is especially pleasing. It’s also interesting to see United pushing this configuration, which we don’t see very often amongst their competitors. They must have confidence that the strength of their hubs can fill all of those premium seats. That may mean a pinch on economy pricing for folks on these routes. But, we prefer flying up front when we can!
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