United Adding Exciting New International Flights From Chicago, Denver, Newark and SFO

Aug 22, 2019

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United is continuing its new-routes push with a handful of very exciting international flights. They new services will launch during the next few months from Chicago O’Hare (ORD), Denver (DEN), Newark (EWR) and San Francisco (SFO). Newark gets the most love with a total of five new flights, followed by Chicago, Denver and San Francisco, which each get one new long-haul flight.

The airline posted a teaser on various social media platforms yesterday, though despite the “clues,” I was a bit stumped when it comes to destinations. Well, now we know — and if you ask me, some of these new flights were worth the hype.

Image courtesy of Great Circle Mapper.
Image courtesy of Great Circle Mapper.

Here’s how it breaks down, starting with Newark:

  • Curacao (CUR) — Saturday 737-700 seasonal service beginning Dec. 7
  • Nice (NCE) — daily 767-300ER (high-J) seasonal service beginning May 2 (ahead of the Cannes Film Festival)
  • Palermo (PMO) — daily 767-300ER seasonal service beginning May 20
  • Amsterdam (AMS) — second daily 767-300ER seasonal flight beginning March 28
  • Frankfurt (FRA) — second daily 767-300ER (high-J) year-round service beginning March 28

Of note, CUR will become United’s 21st island destination in the Caribbean. Additionally, while La Compagnie already serves Newark-Nice, UA will be the only US carrier operating on that route (joining Delta’s long-standing seasonal service from New York-JFK). United also will be the only carrier offering nonstop service between the US and Sicily.

Related: 16 Rows of Biz: Reviewing Polaris on United’s ‘High-J’ 767-300ER

From Chicago, we have:

Denver will be getting:

  • London (LHR) — seasonal 787-8 Dreamliner service goes year-round beginning Nov. 1

And, finally, San Francisco will offer:

  • New Delhi (DEL) — daily 787-9 Dreamliner year-round service beginning March 2020 (seasonal service begins Dec. 5)

What’s perhaps most remarkable is that these new flights won’t come at the expense of reduced service elsewhere in United’s network — the carrier is adding a total of 22 new wide-body planes over the next 18 months. So while some other flights could be moved to a different aircraft type, United plans to continue flying its existing international network as scheduled. UA also confirmed that it will continue to serve existing seasonal destinations in 2020, such as Athens (ATH), Naples (NAP), Porto (OPO) and Barcelona (BCN).

The Polaris cabin on a United high-J 767. Photo by Zach Honig / The Points Guy.
The Polaris cabin on a United high-J 767. Photo by Zach Honig / The Points Guy.

It’s also worth noting that three of these new flights will be operated by United’s new “high-J” 767-300ER, with 46 true Polaris seats in business class, arranged in a 1-1-1 configuration and spread across 16 rows. This aircraft also offers a 22-seat Premium Plus cabin, with a 2-2-2 configuration, plus 47 Economy Plus seats and 52 seats in coach, all arranged in 2-3-2. United has a total of 21 high-J planes on the way.

While one flight each shouldn’t have too much of an impact on the passenger flows in Chicago, Denver and SFO, the addition of four daily long-haul flights could contribute to overcrowding at United’s Newark Polaris Lounge, which can already get pretty crowded ahead of the evening Europe rush. Perhaps it’s time to consider an expansion there as well.

Related: Bye, Bye Continental: United Officially Drops Continental Name


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