Fun: Guess United Airlines’ New International Routes!

Fun: Guess United Airlines’ New International Routes!

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United Airlines is expected to announce some new international routes tomorrow, and we have some hints about what we should expect…

United’s October 2022 international route announcement

United Airlines is expected to announce new international routes at 8AM ET tomorrow (Wednesday, October 12, 2022). These are routes that are expected to launch in the summer of 2023.

United likes to have some fun with new route announcements, and for the past couple of years the airline has invited the public to guess the routes in advance, by teasing them one day before. This year is no different. There are actually two separate sets of clues here.

For one, United has posted a video to social media, containing some clues. Once again, United’s SVP of Global Network Planning and Alliances, Patrick Quayle, made an appearance.

On top of that, United has internally posted a picture shared by @IshrionA, showing images of nine destinations. When you combine the two, I think we have some pretty good hints.

United Airlines’ new route clues

What routes will United announce?

All we can do is speculate, so let’s start with the collage of nine picture. Best I can tell, the pictures feature:

  • Berlin, Germany
  • Barcelona, Spain
  • Dubai, United Arab Emirates
  • London, United Kingdom
  • Malaga, Spain
  • Paris, France
  • Rome, Italy
  • Stockholm, Sweden

I’m not sure what the castle picture at the top right is (maybe Dublin, Glasgow, or Shannon?). It’s also not clear if the Berlin or Dubai announcements would actually be additional new routes, or if they’re just including them since United recently announced Newark to Dubai and Washington to Berlin routes.

That brings us to the video, which contains a few more clues:

  • There are two bags in an overhead bin with “LAX” and “LHR” luggage tags, so is the airline adding capacity in that market, or are those unrelated clues, suggesting there will be expansion from LAX and to LHR, but not necessarily between those airports?
  • The flight attendant adjusting the seat seems to have four star tattoos, which is the flag of Chicago (at first I thought they were four-leaf clovers, but I don’t think so)
  • There’s a picture of a bear and cherry blossom, so it sounds like maybe there will be a California to Japan route, though that’s not transatlantic
  • Quayle can be seen drawing a map in a Polaris seat, and it looks to me like a map of Spain with Malaga circled; presumably the “646” area code is a clue, as that’s New York
  • There’s someone reading a book with a Swedish flag
  • There’s someone looking at the United app with flight number UA507, with a 1:10PM arrival time
  • I’m not sure I get the clue with the twins?

It seems to me like Newark to Malaga is a sure bet, and Barcelona Airport has already confirmed on social media that United is launching a Chicago to Barcelona route. So those two seem almost certain, but the rest are trickier. I know OMAAT readers are super observant, so I’m curious what y’all come up with.

Bottom line

United will be announcing new international routes on Wednesday (October 12), and I’m curious to see what the airline has in store for us. I love these guessing games from United, so feel free to get your speculation in below! I’m curious if anyone can guess all of them.

What clues did you notice, and what routes do you think United will launch?

Conversations (57)
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  1. Aniljak Guest

    Forgive my ignorance as an Aussie, but dont Americans refer to Minneapolis and St Paul as the twin cities? Maybe they are increaing service from there!
    There are rumours in Australia that United may be starting service to Brisbane, Australia soon.
    There are also rumours of United starting nonstop services to Australia and New Zealand from Chicago and other interior cities - Denver, Dallas and Houston have been mentioned.

    1. Jason Guest

      United is starting service from San Francisco to Brisbane later in October. It’s not a rumor. It’s happening

  2. Nicholas Guest

    Sure/confirmed bets are EWR-DXB (picture + announcement), EWR-AGP (map of Spain), IAD-BER (bear + cherry blossom).
    As previously mentioned, the app screen probably confirms SFO-FCO
    Looking at the F/A's hand, the stars are Chicago's flag, and the emereald green nails suggest Ireland. Maybe ORD-DUB is becoming year-round or they're adding another ORD-Ireland route?
    On the map page: 7998-580-646 = 6772. The reat circle distance between ORD and MAD is 6762 kilometers... maybe?

    Sure/confirmed bets are EWR-DXB (picture + announcement), EWR-AGP (map of Spain), IAD-BER (bear + cherry blossom).
    As previously mentioned, the app screen probably confirms SFO-FCO
    Looking at the F/A's hand, the stars are Chicago's flag, and the emereald green nails suggest Ireland. Maybe ORD-DUB is becoming year-round or they're adding another ORD-Ireland route?
    On the map page: 7998-580-646 = 6772. The reat circle distance between ORD and MAD is 6762 kilometers... maybe?
    For the Swedish flag, the EWR flight will relaunch in 2023, so maybe thats the anouncement, or it might be something else. The guy with the book is wearing the colors of Washington DC's flag, so could IAD-EWR be on the horizon?
    I have no idea what clue the twins give, but it suggests a flight between "twin" or "sister" cities - probably related to Paris, since it is the only city (apart from Dubai) on the collage with no direct clue on the video so far.
    We also know that there will be a route from LAX and one to LHR.

    I'm betting LAX-CDG and SEA-LHR

  3. Alex Marks Guest

    IAD - Berlin
    ORD - Barcelona
    EWR - Dubai
    EWR - Malaga
    EWR - Stockholm
    EWR - Prague
    EWR - Belfast
    IAH - Paris
    LAX - London

  4. summne Guest

    Twins are likely the Sister Cities of San Franciso and Bengaluru, India. This route is already announced - between SFO and the city thats called the Silicon Valley of India - Bengaluru.

  5. Jarry Guest

    If you look the ORD-BCN route was already leaked by BCN's airport management.

    https://twitter.com/AeroinfoBCN/status/1579862504926515200/photo/1

  6. JS Guest

    If they wanted to offer Dulles-Berlin, a bear and some chantilly cream would also work. Dulles is next to Chantilly, VA.

    1. Name Guest

      Would make sense. Cherry Blossoms are famous in D.C

  7. Donna Diamond

    Definitely gotta be another route to FCO given the tower next to the colosseum and also perhaps the twins are Romulus and Remus whose story is the basis for the founding of Rome? Looks also like Paris, Stockholm, Barcelona and London.

  8. Scudder Diamond

    Alicante would be a resumption of an old route, one of the many thin markets CO served with 757s.

    1. Scudder Diamond

      Malaga... I meant AGP—Malaga.

  9. HD Guest

    The twins signify Rome? In Roman mythology, Romulus and Remus are twin brothers whose story tells of the events that led to the founding of the city of Rome.

  10. Declan Guest

    The castle in the top right is McDermott’s Castle, on Lough Key, Co Roscommon, Ireland, which is nowhere near any airport, but pretty much equi-distant to both Dublin and Belfast. Could be either.

    1. pelican55 Guest

      Chicago is getting Barcelona, according BCNAeroNews

    2. Tom Guest

      Shannon airport is about the same distance from there as Dublin. Either is more likely than Belfast in my view.

  11. Chris Guest

    I'm not holding out much hope for a MCO-BER route. :/

  12. ps241 Guest

    Having just returned from Barcelona, I think United is missing a bet by not adding flights to Barcelona from every one of its hubs. Barcelona must really be a popular destination for travelers, if you can judge by the large number of people dragging rolling suitcases around everywhere. We would have loved a BCN-SFO nonstop; instead we endured a Delta miss-connection as a result of sitting on the tarmac for an hour at JFK waiting for our gate.

    1. ConcordeBoy Diamond

      Barcelona is highly cyclical and not particularly high yield.

      The only reason it's likely seeing the attention that it is now from US carriers, save from the likes of NYC and ATL, is because of the excess of aircraft due to China and other parts of Asia not yet being fully recovered/accessible.

    2. Ann Kibort Guest

      Desperately hoping for San Francisco to Rome or Boston to Rome

  13. Peter Fox Guest

    Oslo from any US port?

  14. Julian C. Guest

    - EWR-Malaga, ORD-BCN more or less confirmed. Malaga is interesting because Delta used to fly there for a while. BCN is a logical enough next transatlantic destination for ORD.
    - EWR - PRG/ARN seem set to be resumed
    - Was thinking Big Ben might imply a return to Gatwick, but most likely just a second daily LAX-LHR. With the twins in the video it would of course be cool to see MSP-LHR or...

    - EWR-Malaga, ORD-BCN more or less confirmed. Malaga is interesting because Delta used to fly there for a while. BCN is a logical enough next transatlantic destination for ORD.
    - EWR - PRG/ARN seem set to be resumed
    - Was thinking Big Ben might imply a return to Gatwick, but most likely just a second daily LAX-LHR. With the twins in the video it would of course be cool to see MSP-LHR or SFO-KUL, but most likely just representative of 2x daily LAX-LHR.
    - Castle probably means something in UK/Ireland, potentially a restart of EWR-MAN. Could be SFO-DUB as someone else noted. But this is by far the most vague clue.
    - CDG most likely DEN because it's the next logical expansion point in Europe that's not served yet from DEN. Could be a restart out of IAH but DEN offers more connectivity options and follows the trajectory of adding transatlantic flights out of DEN instead of IAH.
    - FCO most likely SFO and not DEN; I doubt they would launch DEN-FCO before DEN-AMS/DUB/ZRH
    - Seems confirmed based off of the map that TFS is returning next year which is slightly surprising, but based on the Malaga addition, it seems like United's seasonal holiday Spanish routes are working. Wonder if Bergen and Dubrovnik will return next year.
    - Thought at first that the cherry blossoms and bear first was SFO/LAX-Japan (i.e. Nagoya), but given that Japan just re-opened today and United hasn't even restarted DEN/IAD-TYO yet, IAD-BER seems much more likely
    - Some talk about Florence/PSA but I don't personally see anything that would indicate this

  15. Tim Dunn Diamond

    As UA does, it is going to grow its international network because it has planes to deploy while the reopening of China remains somewhere in the future. Let's see how they do in the 3rd quarter but they managed to post a profit margin lower than American in the 2nd quarter.

  16. MC Guest

    SFO-FCO. The app at the end shows “New Nonstop Route”, “Gate G5” (SFO Intl Terminal Gate number), and passenger “Lily Golden” (Golden Gate Bridge and Lily is the flower of Italy based on a Google search). Additionally the image has Rome pictures from a tower in the Forum.
    IAD-BER. Berliner Dom in the image and the cherry blossoms of Washington DC to the bear symbol of Berlin in the video.
    EWR-AGP. Patrick Quayle...

    SFO-FCO. The app at the end shows “New Nonstop Route”, “Gate G5” (SFO Intl Terminal Gate number), and passenger “Lily Golden” (Golden Gate Bridge and Lily is the flower of Italy based on a Google search). Additionally the image has Rome pictures from a tower in the Forum.
    IAD-BER. Berliner Dom in the image and the cherry blossoms of Washington DC to the bear symbol of Berlin in the video.
    EWR-AGP. Patrick Quayle circles it and the beach image with the cranes appears to be a Malaga beach from Google searches.
    ORD-BCN
    EWR-ARN
    EWR-DXB
    LAX-LHR
    DEN or IAH-CDG

    1. AA70 Diamond

      It will be DEN-CDG, I believe they already do it from IAH

    2. Tri N Guest

      oddly enough they dont do iah to cdg. huge opportunity IMHO.

    3. ConcordeBoy Diamond

      CO flew IAH-CDG for decades. UA dropped it long before the pandemic, after losing contracts/traffic for much of the IAH-Africa flows to both AF and KL.

      AF also already flies DEN-CDG, so would be interesting to see if UA believes they can run AF out, or if the market can sustain two.

    4. UAL47 Guest

      United stopped serving Paris from IAH back around the time Smisek got pissy about the City of Houston building international gates at Hobby. 2014 I think.

  17. Charlie Guest

    If this is indeed limited to Transatlantic, the cherry blossom likely represents DC and the bear is Berlin, so I would assume that IAD-BER is one.

    It also seems like Newark-Dubai, Chicago-Barcelona, and Newark-Malaga are sure bets.

    Flight UA507 is currently from LGA-Denver, so a new route from Denver is likely. Either Paris or Rome would make the most sense from the destinations hinted at. United already flies from Newark to Stockholm, so the...

    If this is indeed limited to Transatlantic, the cherry blossom likely represents DC and the bear is Berlin, so I would assume that IAD-BER is one.

    It also seems like Newark-Dubai, Chicago-Barcelona, and Newark-Malaga are sure bets.

    Flight UA507 is currently from LGA-Denver, so a new route from Denver is likely. Either Paris or Rome would make the most sense from the destinations hinted at. United already flies from Newark to Stockholm, so the new Stockholm route is likely either ORD or IAD.

    Finally, both LAX and LHR are shown, but assuming these will all be new routes, it can't be between those two. Assuming it is transatlantic, then either Paris or Rome from LAX could make sense, or else Frankfurt or Munich.

    If there is a new route to LHR, that is most interesting because United already flies there from each of its hubs. Perhaps they're just adding more frequencies and/or new planes? But if it is new, the only possible clue is the twin sisters, which could suggest MSP-LHR, since Minneapolis and St. Paul are the "Twin Cities", but that seems doubtful. I would bet on increased frequencies from LAX or across the network.

    Otherwise, the twin sisters could represent the sister cities of one of UA's hubs, probably Chicago, which has a ton of sister cities and displays all their flags at ORD on the walk from the L station. Plausible ones could be Prague, Accra, Galway (close to Shannon), Athens, Warsaw, or Amman. Shannon, Athens and Warsaw seem most likely.

    1. Just saying Guest

      Iad to Berlin has already been announced. So that would be boring if they are including it again imo

    2. Ben Guest

      Do we know it's only transatlantic? The natural interpretation of the blossoms and bear for me is SFO-KIX, and would coincide with the removal of covid restrictions in Japan.

  18. Justsaying Guest

    Denver to CDG or FCO?
    Please add more routes to SFO!

    1. Ben Guest

      I wonder if IAH-CDG isn't more likely, since they already have IAH-AMS. SFO-FCO is spot on as far as I'm concerned.

  19. JA Guest

    The fa’s blue nail polish is definitely a clue.

  20. lefty Guest

    What about ORD-MAD? With the Chicago stars plus the bear and cherry blossom. There's a Statue of the Bear and the Strawberry Tree in Madrid plus Madrid has cherry blossom too.

  21. MaxPower Guest

    Weren't some of these announced already? https://simpleflying.com/united-stockholm-prague-return-washington-start/

  22. derek Guest

    I'd like to see a San Francisco-Malaga, but that's not going to happen. Alternatively, a EWR-AGP 0925-2145. That's also not going to happen.

  23. XPL Diamond

    In happier days I would have interpreted the cherry blossoms and the bear as Washington D.C. - Moscow, but of course that's a route we're unlikely to see now.

    1. Trey Guest

      Twins - Siamese - Bangkok! ...just kidding

  24. Nun Guest

    If it has to be transatlantic, then the cherry blossoms/bear could be DCA-BER?

    1. JBR Guest

      If it's Washington DC to Berlin (BER), then it would definitely be IAD and not DCA. DCA is narrow-bodies only and either entirely domestic routes only or almost entirely domestic routes.

  25. Filip Guest

    Next to castle is Berliner Dom, do guess Berlin

  26. Corey Guest

    I wish it was Florence, but the picture you’re referring to there is actually Rome. If you look at a picture of the colosseum, that tower is just across from it, I believe part of the forum. So my guess is either an additional newark frequency to Rome, or wishful thinking, a new flight to SFO.

    The picture of the castle is in fact Ireland, and wishful thinking again I’m betting on the SFO-DUB...

    I wish it was Florence, but the picture you’re referring to there is actually Rome. If you look at a picture of the colosseum, that tower is just across from it, I believe part of the forum. So my guess is either an additional newark frequency to Rome, or wishful thinking, a new flight to SFO.

    The picture of the castle is in fact Ireland, and wishful thinking again I’m betting on the SFO-DUB that was supposed to launch in 2020.

    The pic to the left of that is actually Berlin. Since they’ve included Dubai in this collage, I imagine their throwing in the Dubai and Berlin announcements over the last few months into this one as well. So just a re announcement for these two.

    The twins is the one that gets me. I though maybe Kuala Lumpur, but it’s unlikely. The 510 on the app also stumps me.

    1. snic Diamond

      Twins? 510? Why, it must be OAK-MSP!

  27. Willem Guest

    Must be a JFK LHR return w/ Big Ben in the picture LOL

    1. Gravelly Point Guy Guest

      Could be, most likely anyways!

  28. Am Guest

    I’m almost certain of a DEN—>CDG (bear—Rocky Mountains— Denver?)

  29. Sam F Guest

    Florence seems unlikely (if not impossible). The runway cannot handle aircraft larger than a 737 or A319/320.

    1. snic Diamond

      I doubt they'd fly to Pisa, either. Maybe Milan?

  30. Andrew Diamond

    Ahahaha Dubai. I'd love to spend 15 hours on a United plane. XD

  31. Arthur Guest

    The bear and cherry blossom might imply a California to Japan route

    1. James Guest

      Or Polaris on SFO/LAX-IAD?

  32. Bgriff Guest

    My guess on the twins: one of the many sister cities of Chicago? Which includes Prague among others.

    1. Bgriff Guest

      Either that or they're seriously going on the offensive against Delta and launching trans-Atlantic service to the Twin Cities.

    2. Am Guest

      This was my guess for the twins.

    3. ConcordeBoy Diamond

      Unless it's an oddball trip to Germany, UA would likely get wiped out on such an offensive, as MSP to CDG, AMS, and LHR are all hub2hub routes for DL and its partners.

      UA would be at a terrible disadvantage with no feed and little market recognition (for the specific route), on either end.... just don't see them being that willing to pointlessly burn money.

Featured Comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

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JBR Guest

If it's Washington DC to Berlin (BER), then it would definitely be IAD and not DCA. DCA is narrow-bodies only and either entirely domestic routes only or almost entirely domestic routes.

2
HD Guest

The twins signify Rome? In Roman mythology, Romulus and Remus are twin brothers whose story tells of the events that led to the founding of the city of Rome.

1
Declan Guest

The castle in the top right is McDermott’s Castle, on Lough Key, Co Roscommon, Ireland, which is nowhere near any airport, but pretty much equi-distant to both Dublin and Belfast. Could be either.

1
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