After American Airlines announced significant international expansion a few weeks ago, United Airlines has now announced international expansion, including some pretty cool and creative itineraries.
Announcement of United Airlines' new route
United has recently recorded incredible growth, including many new ultra-long haul flights.
Today they announce their latest international growth, which includes new all-season flights, new season flights and some year-round seasonal flights. While the main focus here is on transatlantic flights, there are a few other additions.
This is an impressive addition to all of United's seasonal summer flights in summer 2019 – they do not cut any distance. So these are all additions that are made possible by the new widebody aircraft that they receive. The people of United who are planning routes are clearly pretty keen.
Let's take a look at the details.
Chicago to Zurich – Year Round Flight
As of March 28, 2020, United will offer a year-round daily service between Chicago and Zurich . This is done by one of their premium-configured 767-300s with 46 Polaris seats.
United claims to offer the most flights from a US airline to Switzerland, and from Chicago United, they fly international destinations in Europe, Asia and South America throughout the year than any airline.
This will complement United's existing flights from Newark, San Francisco and Washington. Swiss also flies from Chicago to Zurich and is part of the same joint venture as United.
Seasonal flight from Newark to Nice
From May 2, 2020, United will offer daily seasonal flights between Newark and Nice . This flight will be conducted on a premium Boeing 767-300 with 46 Polaris seats. This makes sense given the fact that it is a premium leisure market.
United will compete with both Delta and La Compagnie. Delta operates this flight seasonally with a Boeing 767-400, while La Compagnie is making the route this year for the first time seasonally with a 757-200 in a configuration for all business classes.
Seasonal flight from Newark to Palermo
From 20 May 2020 United will offer seasonal flights between Newark and Palermo . You will be the only US airline flying to Sicily, so that's a pretty cool addition. Meridiana used to fly between Palermo and New York before being renamed Air Italy.
Seasonal flight from Newark to Curacao
From December 7, 2019, United will offer seasonal winter flights only on Saturday between Newark and Curacao. The route is operated by a Boeing 737-700 and is the 21st island destination of United in the Caribbean.
The flight from Denver to London is throughout the year
United offers seasonal flights between Denver and London starting in 2018. As of November 1, 2019, however, United will offer year-round flights between Denver and London with a Boeing 787-8 .
This will complement United's existing full-year service from Denver to Frankfurt and Tokyo.
The flight from San Francisco to New Delhi becomes year-round
United has already announced plans to operate seasonal flights between San Francisco and New Delhi from 5 December 2019. Well, United's New San The route from Francisco to New Delhi is operated year-round with a Boeing 787-9 .
Increased frequencies to Amsterdam and Frankfurt
From March 28, 2020, United will be offering a second daily flight from Newark to both Amsterdam and Frankfurt :
- The second daily flight from Newark to Amsterdam will be on a 767-300 with 30 Polaris seats performed.
- The second daily flight from Newark to Frankfurt is on a 767-300 with 46 Polaris seats.
Status of United's New Polaris Business Class Seats
As far as international routes are concerned, I considered it useful to review the progress of the new Polaris seats. United announced in December 2016 for the first time the new Polaris Business Class concept. What is the status of United aircraft with these new seats?
- Currently, about one-third of United's widebody aircraft has been reconfigured with the new seats.
- By the end of the year, approximately 50% of all United Wide Bodies will have new Polaris Business Class seats, although this number includes newly delivered aircraft (which United has received with these new seats).
- The first 787-8s and 787- nines were to be retrofitted with the new Polaris cabins from the end of this year.
Polaris Business Class seats on new 787-10
The reconfiguration of a third of the aircraft in nearly three years is not exactly impressive.
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Summary of the New United Route
United staff at route planning impress me greatly. In addition to trying out some really creative new routes (including ultra-long distance flights that are known to be hard to implement), they've been successful by all standards.
They are not cutting any of the routes they have already added, and they are expanding their international network. After all, in my opinion there is nothing too shocking, although there are still some really creative tracks.
It's also cool to see that United's super-premium 767 aircraft carry out premium summer-season flights and not just business markets like Newark to London.  What do you think about the latest addition to United?