United Airlines Launching Nonstop Denver To Frankfurt Flights

Denver Airport is one of United’s major domestic hubs, though the airline has limited longhaul service out of the airport. United’s only year-round longhaul flight from Denver is to Tokyo Narita, while they also have a seasonal flight to London Heathrow.

Now United has announced that they’ll launch daily nonstop flights between Denver and Frankfurt as of May 2, 2019, making it their first year-round transatlantic flight from the airport.

This new route will be operated by a Boeing 787-8 with the following schedule:

UA182 Denver to Frankfurt departing 3:40PM arriving 9:20AM (+1 day)
UA181 Frankfurt to Denver departing 11:05AM arriving 1:20PM

The flight will cover a distance of 5,040 miles in each direction, and is blocked at 9hr40min eastbound and 10hr15min westbound.

The new flight is already bookable, though as of now I don’t see much saver level award availability (it’s possible it will be loaded soon, though).

As of now the 787-8 scheduled to operate the route features United’s old business class seats. The plane has a total of 219 seats, including 36 business class seats and 183 economy seats.


United’s old business class product

United already operates more flights to Germany than any other US airline, and this represents their 15th daily nonstop flight between the US and Germany. Their presence in Germany is so strong given their joint venture with Lufthansa.

United currently offers nonstop flights to Frankfurt from Chicago, Houston, Newark, San Francisco, and Washington Dulles.

What’s interesting is that Lufthansa also offers a daily nonstop flight between Denver and Frankfurt using a Boeing 747-400. The two airlines have a joint venture, so for all practical purposes they plan these routes together. I imagine Denver must be performing really well for them to add an additional 787.

While Denver as such is a pretty sizable market, I imagine much of the motivation for this route is that Denver is a great connecting hub for United, so United would rather funnel passengers through this airport than what’s capacity controlled or more prone to delays.

Personally if I were connecting and flying business class I’d avoid this flight, though. Not only will the route have United’s old business class, but it’s also the only hub airport at which United isn’t planning on opening a Polaris Lounge, so business class passengers would just have access to the United Club.


United’s Polaris Lounge Houston

What do you make of United’s new Denver to Frankfurt flight?

(Tip of the hat to Brad B)

Comments

  1. Not a single economy or business class saver-level award available through the end of the schedule, based on a quick search. How nice of them.

  2. Not sure why you’d fly UA when you can fly in the upper deck of the 744 with LF. I did so this summer and it was very nice.

  3. @Mason: You beat me in posting exactly what I thinking. The only time I would fly UA would be if the other option was Air India.

  4. @Mason,

    LH surcharges can sting, especially when using Aeroplan miles. UA thankfully dont hit you with that. Although, as others have mentioned, saver availability is non existent!

  5. What route did United cut to free up the plane? Whenever there’s new service announced, there’s a lot of hoopla that disguises service cuts elsewhere. I find this disingenuous. Announce the bad with the good.

  6. My company requires us to fly US-owned airlines for our longhaul flights so having another hub to connect through is nice. The connecting flights on weekdays are fine but not-so-great on the weekends.

  7. I’d rather a Dreamliner with the slightly better seats and nicer air/pressure, than the 777’s they fly from most other cities to Frankfurt, with the ancient 2x4x2 seating. I might actually consider flying a little west from Austin to connect through Denver to Europe rather than via Chicago or Houston. And Denver has a decent Priority Pass restaurant, right? So at least there is an alternative to the blah United club.

  8. @Christian I would assume with the additional 9x 787-1000’s they are adding by 4/19, they should have the fleet capacity…

  9. 15 year round daily UA departures between Germany and the US? I think it’s 13 to be exact.

    From FRA you have 2x daily to ORD, IAD and SFO as well as 1x to EWR and IAH making 8. 9 if you add DEN

    From MUC you have 1x daily ORD, IAD, IAH and EWR. SFO is seasonal so doesn’t count.

    Then you have TXL-EWR that does not operate daily and UA cut HAM-EWR so 13 total it is.

    Correct me if I’m wrong

  10. The long-haul Europe flights out of Denver are a win for both passengers and the airline. For example, people coming from Germany to ski, say, Vail, could do a nonstop and then connect to Eagle or take a van. Same for Denver-ites – it opens up a huge number of one-stop destinations. I’ve ridden that Frankfurt 747 bus in economy a few times and it is pretty sad – I’d much rather take the 787. I’d guess there are more of these routes coming – it makes too much sense.

    Frankfurt airport is pretty tough to get around in though – takes a lot of time.

  11. I’m excited about it because I have 2 difficult home airports, sun and koa. But I can fly koa to den nonstop on united, and also sun to den nonstop seasonally. So 2 hops to Europe from either. I love the air on dreamliners and don’t care about the other nitpick stuff people mentioned. I will undoubtedly be taking this flight sometime.

  12. I’m surprised that UA didn’t want to start new nonstop from LAX to FRA. Congratulations to UA and hope they will start LAX-FRA soon!

  13. There aren’t many upgrades available on the DEN-LHR route so I imagine it won’t be any better for Frankfurt. And during summer, business class fares are expensive though not as bad as LH. That said, for people like me, that’s 2 instead of 3 flights. That counts for a lot.

  14. As a UA 1k based in Denver who’s corporate office is just south of Frankfurt, this is a nice addition. I will still connect through IAH for the lounge and 2-2-2 on the 777, rather than any of the 2-4-2 flights from ORD and east. I like the biz seats on the UA 788 a lot more than LH 744 as well.

  15. These ‘old’ UA business class seats that you complain about are much better than LH’s business class seats, IMHO. In fact, I think UA’s entire product (seats, food, bedding, etc.) blows LH out of the water. So with LH as the only other competition on this route, I think UA would be the preferred option.

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