United Airlines Announcing New International Routes

Filed Under: United

A couple of weeks ago we saw American Airlines make a big international route announcement, and it’s expected that they’ll make another route announcement soon.

They’re not the only airline with a big announcement coming, though. On social media United has hinted at announcing new international routes tomorrow at 10AM CT.

United posted a video to go along with it showing San Francisco, Denver, Chicago, and New York, though I’m not sure if that’s just stock footage reflecting their hubs, or if it suggests that we’ll actually see new routes out of all of those cities.

I’m really excited about this announcement. Of the “big three” US carriers, United is by far the most creative when it comes to adding long haul routes. It has been really fun to see the way they’ve grown.

While American shies away from ultra long haul flying, and while Delta is extremely conservative with anything not involving Europe, United really tries all kinds of new things.

They’ve launched some ultra long haul flights, like San Francisco to Singapore and Houston to Sydney, and they’ve also launched some really creative seasonal routes, like Newark to Cape Town. Late last year they announced a big international expansion out of San Francisco, as they’re launching San Francisco to Delhi, San Francisco to Melbourne, and more.

It’s anyone’s guess how exciting this announcement will be. Could we see one (or many) new route that will catch us off guard, or is this most likely just an announcement of some new summer seasonal flying between the US and Europe?

If I had to guess:

  • I think some additional summer seasonal flying to Europe is a given, especially to Eastern Europe
  • Could we see year-round expansion to Europe out of Denver and San Francisco, since they’ve been growing those markets slowly but steadily?
  • Could we see a new route to Asia out of San Francisco, given how United has been building up a greater transpacific hub there?
  • With United’s strength in Tel Aviv, and with American having announced a new route from Dallas to Tel Aviv, could we see United launch a Houston to Tel Aviv flight?

What new international routes do you think United will launch?

  1. I could definitely see them trying to jump into the BNE market to compete with joint venture expansions DL / VA and AA/QF.

    Otherwise, seems like everyone’s holding out for SFO-BKK which seems like a stretch!

  2. my bet is they’re launching SFO-GRU!

    US West Coast to GRU in under served in my opinion with only AA’s LAX-GRU and Latam’s LAS-GRU.

  3. Some Guesses:
    – ORD – TLV
    – IAD – TXL (more aspirational than an actual guess)
    – SFO – BKK (would have a lot of connectivity with Thai Airways)
    – SFO – MNL (this one has no basis, but United already flies their from Guam, and I could see them wanting to compete with PAL on nonstop flights from the US mainland to Manila)
    – EWR/IAH – GYE (United hinted at it in the Twitter comments section)
    – SFO – FCO
    – SFO – NAN
    – EWR – DXB

  4. 1) Fingers crossed for SFO-AMS to be made year round
    2) Resumption of service to Istanbul – to the new IST
    3) Resumption of service to Dubai
    4) Fingers crossed WestCoast to MXP or FCO – which would be in competition with Air Italy

  5. I’ve never understood UA’s only LAX non-stop to Europe being limited to LHR. Show Los Angeles some love, United!

  6. @Evan- they just don’t have the feed to support anything else from LAX. Almost all the natural feed goes to SFO.

  7. I think IAH-TLV is unlikely, at least until they are able to grow frequency on IAD-TLV. ORD-TLV is possible, but only because El Al has announced the same…

  8. SFO-BNE seems like a good bet. There seems to be an almost bottomless well of demand between the Bay Area and Australia right now.

  9. My friend in the Operations Center at Willis Tower confirmed a new DVD-GOH route. Seems like it might be temporary, but who knows?

  10. I believe UA would launch BKK when they can. The US has still banned Thailand from direct flights to the US. Ludicrous.

  11. Newark to Seville, Spain has been rumored for a long time. I would not be surprised to see this announced tomorrow, they would be the first US flag carrier to Seville.

  12. Did United ever announce the route awards they got for the HND slots?

    If not, this could very well be that. …which would be incredibly overhyped.

  13. Delta flight attendant told me yesterday that they are stopping LAX to AMS. I’m shocked. Is this true?

  14. UA really needs more nonstop to east Asia from IAH. Air China, EVA, ANA have really good load factors out of Houston and this includes UAs IAH-NRT route as well. My ideal route would be IAH-HKG. Houston is a huge international city with so many Asian cultures so I think it’s a natural fit.

  15. News flash – IAH just isn’t as important to UA anymore. This isn’t Continental where it was AirEWR/IAH. It is fully second tier now among the hubs.

  16. @Tom : it’s not that UA is purposely ignoring IAH, and you do realize even if they got all the TPAC love before IAD and DEN did, that would be UA’s *FIFTH* TPAC gateway, but since IAD exists, IAH is SIXTH place at best.

  17. @UA-NYC — “It is fully second tier now among the hubs.”

    Nevertheless, it does have one of United’s only five currently existing domestic Polaris (VIP) Lounges!

  18. Would love to see EWR TO Marrakech. There have been talks of Seville.


    Expecting a new route from SFO, maybe FCO seasonal?

  19. They promised to extend the DEN-LHR service to year-round when it returned for year two this year, but backed out of that. Given that Norwegian just switched the LGW to seasonal from DEN, I don’t think the winter demand is there with BA already flying a daily 747.

    Norwegian hasn’t confirmed CDG returning for next summer, so I suspect UA might add seasonal service from DEN-CDG. I’d love to see seasonal DEN-DUB since the EI plans have never come to fruition.

    Maybe given the success of DEN-NRT we could finally see DEN-PEK or DEN-ICN?

    We desperately need more long haul international here.

  20. Perhaps DEN-ZRH

    Currently served by Edelwiess but they suffer from capacity issues and therefore cannot expand beyond 2 weekly. So if they (UA, WK and LX) join up, something like 5 weekly should be sustainable year around.

  21. Amidst all the speculation about new routes etc there is no speculation that UA will begin to provide a good customer service on the ground or in the air.
    Now that would be exciting (if farfetched)!

  22. I am thinking Denver is going to be the big winner. To where I have no idea.

    @Rafael You MUST live near Campinas because, my god, no one wants to drive there, lol!

  23. Chris: As I stated earlier, BKK is impossible due to US regulations blocking Thailand. If it ever does happen, I ma certain it would be SFO and not LAX. One word: Connectivity.

  24. UA-NYC sez: “News flash – IAH just isn’t as important to UA anymore. This isn’t Continental where it was AirEWR/IAH. It is fully second tier now among the hubs.”

    That is a **factually** ignorant statement.

  25. @AlanD absolutely agreed. I know it’s a long shot but i want nothing more than another DEN>Asia route. ICN is a maybe but i think of the Asia hubs UA has a presence at and the best would be HKG i think. Not sure if they can fit a demand for that route or the right plane but given their HKG presence it might work? Otherwise yes ICN is second closest then PEK or even PVG. While im loving DEN>FRA for my flight in October Im hoping DEN isnt just one more European route.

  26. @Ryan

    I don’t understand why connectivity is important when Bangkok and LA are both huge cities with massive populations. I’m sure O&D could account for most of the plane, and regardless, there is still connectivity in LA on United (and from BKK on Thai).

  27. With AA also reportedly getting ready to announce their second round of new routes, what are the chances UA and AA announce on the same day? Would they coordinate to separate their announcement dates? Seems like they wouldn’t want to take the wind out of each other’s sails.

  28. Wouldn’t mind seeing SFO-BLR, or an even longer shot, SFO-MAA! Not sure if they have the aircraft for it though.

  29. The last “historic” new route announcement was pretty much a bust, so I guess we’ll see if Oscar can do better this time.

  30. I did the San Francisco to Singapore and Sydney to Houston flights. They turned on the fasten seatbelt sign at least 15 times. United is not a good airline to fly if you want to sleep. Also the 777 aircraft with ten across in economy is too tight. United, get some Airbus A350’s.

  31. LAX does NOT need to have feeder service. Us Southern Californians travel everywhere and people come to LA to start their US trips thus LAX is the largest O/D airport in the world. LAX will get more United love when the United project is completed.

  32. DCS you are out of your element here. Still to Baghdad Bob pronouncements about Hilton.

    UA has put SFO and EWR up top for general expansion. Everything else is second tier as hubs.

    IAH isn’t the same for them now. Show me all the Asia/Europe/Africa expansion out of there…whoops.

  33. I sure wish something would be truly international out of Nashville. So frustrating to always have to connect to other east coast cities to get to Europe!

  34. BKK, whilst it does have the demand, is mostly price sensitive low-yield VFR (Visiting Family Relatives) with a large backpacker/tourist market. BKK and Thailand in general has very low business demand to make a LAX/SFO-BKK ULR non-stop flight viable.

    If there was a customised economy heavy LCC plane that can fly USA-BKK non-stop to suit the low yielding tourist/VFR nature of the Thailand market, UA via a “specialised international Long Haul Low Cost subsidiary” would’ve returned to the Thailand route by now.

    As for BNE, it is already saturated with QF/AA and VA/DL. UA also doesn’t have an Australian partner, apart from a third party interline agreement with QF. Which would make it difficult on the BNE end (rely mostly on O&D). Most of the business demand ex-BNE would’ve been absorbed by QF/AA and VA/DL.

  35. @UA-NYC as clueless as ever, sez: ”
    – DCS you are out of your element here.
    – Still to Baghdad Bob pronouncements about Hilton.
    – UA has put SFO and EWR up top for general expansion.
    – Everything else is second tier as hubs. IAH isn’t the same for them now.
    – Show me all the Asia/Europe/Africa expansion out of there…whoops.”

    It seems like it is time for an another blog entry at ‘TravelRealityCheck’ to educate the uneducable. I will present incontrovertible evidence that the claim about IAH being a “second tier hub” is **factually ignorant.** Come back here for a link or I will post it elsewhere, even if it would be off-topic because the info I will provide will be of general interest as it will demonstrate, **graphically**, what UA’s ‘philosophy’ is to try to make the most each of its hubs.

    It will also conclusively prove who is the real “Baghdad Bob”…

    Stay tuned!

  36. @brad

    Fake news. Don’t trust everything you read on the internet, especially from bloggers.

    A category 2 means that country’s FAA equivalent does not meet standards and therefore, operators from those country does not meet standards.
    In short, UA can launch SFO-BKK but TG cannot launch BKK-SFO.

    Now what most bloggers don’t know but airlines do know, is you CANNOT codeshare with airlines from category 2 country. This is probably the reason UA will not fly to BKK as they cannot market anything beyond BKK. Basically UA cannot get TG to feed passengers, not even from within Thailand.

  37. @Dave — “I can’t find any United flights to BKK. When did this happen?”

    It doesn’t look like any USA airlines have direct operations out of BKK … AA/DL/HA/UA all use alliance/partner airlines to reach that market. BKK once again failed its ICAO Category 1 rating qualifications this past February … don’t know if that has any bearings on USA airlines missing from there?

    www[.]onemileatatime[.]com/thailand-fails-faa-safety-audit/ <== (remove [ ] surrounding "." in URL)

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