United Airlines To Launch San Francisco To Dublin Flight

Filed Under: United

United Airlines has just announced a cool new route from the Bay Area.

United Airlines Launching SFO To DUB Flights

United will launch nonstop flights between San Francisco and Dublin as of June 5, 2020. The flight will operate year-round:

  • It will operate daily in the peak summer season
  • It will operate with reduced frequencies the rest of the year, though we don’t yet know exactly how many frequencies they’ll offer (we should find out soon, as tickets will be going on sale later today)

United will operate these flights with a Boeing 787-8, with the following schedule:

UA853 San Francisco to Dublin departing 3:55PM arriving 9:45AM (+1 day)
UA852 Dublin to San Francisco departing 11:50AM arriving 2:20PM

United has grown their European route network out of San Francisco significantly in recent years. Until a few years ago the airline just flew to London and Frankfurt, but at this point Dublin will be their seventh gateway in Europe, as the airline also flies to Amsterdam, Munich, Paris, and Zurich.

United Airlines 787-8

When it comes to their Dublin service, United currently flies to Dublin year-round from Newark, and seasonally from Chicago and Washington Dulles.

United will be the second airline to operate this route nonstop, as Aer Lingus has also flown year-round between Dublin and San Francisco since 2014, using an Airbus A330.

Aer Lingus A330

United Airlines’ 787-8s

United’s Boeing 787-8s currently feature a total of 219 seats, including:

  • 36 flat bed business class seats, in a 2-2-2 configuration
  • 70 extra legroom economy seats, in a 3-3-3 configuration with 35″ of pitch
  • 113 economy seats, in a 3-3-3 configuration with 32″ of pitch

You can read my review of United’s 787-8 Polaris business class here.

United’s current 787-8 business class

However, United will soon be reconfiguring their 787-8s with new Polaris business class seats and Premium Plus premium economy seats, so the configuration will feature 243 seats, including:

  • 28 business class seats, in a 1-2-1 configuration
  • 21 premium economy seats, in a 2-3-2 configuration
  • 36 extra legroom economy seats, in a 3-3-3 configuration
  • 158 economy seats, in a 3-3-3 configuration

United’s Premium Plus premium economy seats

Yes, United is significantly increasing the seat count on the plane while installing new seat types…

United’s Partnership With Aer Lingus

One last interesting note is that Aer Lingus currently has a partnership with United, allowing MileagePlus members to earn and redeem miles for Aer Lingus flights. That’s despite Aer Lingus being owned by IAG, the parent company of British Airways and Iberia (which belong to oneworld).

With the route networks of Aer Lingus and United increasingly overlapping, one has to wonder how much longer this partnership will last.

In late 2018 there was talk of Aer Lingus eventually joining the oneworld transatlantic joint venture (without actually joining oneworld), though I haven’t heard much about that since then…

Bottom Line

I love Ireland, so it’s cool to finally see a US airline fly nonstop from the West Coast to Ireland, which we haven’t seen up until now. I do feel like the days for United’s partnership with Aer Lingus are probably numbered, given that the two airlines are going head-to-head on this route (and all four of United’s routes to Dublin, for that matter).

What do you make of United’s new SFO to Dublin route?

(Tip of the hat to Zach Honig)

  1. This is actually pretty significant for Pacific travel from Ireland, including Hawaii. Up until now it was impossible for me to fly from Ireland to Hawaii in under 3 flights on a single itinerary. Now it’s only 1 stop away!

  2. Nerd bird. Lot of US tech companies have their European HQ in Dublin. Dublin will probably become even hotter as a business destination now that Brexit appears certain.

  3. Some Brits like to hop over to Ireland for flights to North America, as the airport fees and taxes at DUB are much lower than UK airports. It’s always worth comparing flights to and from Dublin with those to/from London.

    There are numerous ferries between Dublin and the UK, as well as dozens of short-haul flights of course.

    Until United has Polaris on this route I will continue to take Aer Lingus A330 with its “throne seats”.

  4. @Jesse You could always go one stop from Ireland to Hawaii, through most major US East Coast cities. For example, DUB-BOS-HNL, or DUB-JFK-HNL.

  5. finally! was wondering what took them so long. Apple has very substantial operations in Ireland and Dublin in particular.

    If my count is accurate, this would be UA’s 7th European destination out of SFO (which is ridiculous for west coast hub) – LHR CDG AMS FRA MUC ZRH DUB, and its 9th by DOT’s definition of Atlantic (add in TLV and DEL).

    There are still those at FT based in SFO who always talk about the “great old days” of UA – for them, it’s dog whistle for “BKK direct flight”, I guess having that BKK 5th freedom is more important than a very rapid expansion on the Atlantic side, going from just 2 (longstanding LHR and FRA ones), to 9 by now.

    UA SFO on the Atlantic front is ridiculous to a point it’s nearly at the level of AA out of ORD and likely surpassed AA from CLT.

  6. @Sid – no you could not. those BOS/JFK flights to HNL leave early in the morning from BOS/JFK. You’d need to spend the night in BOS or JFK to make the connection, which isnt exactly convenient.

  7. @henry LAX – UA at SFO surpassed AA at ORD a long time ago. While AA operates a number of seasonal nonstops from ORD to Europe, it only operates, I think, one year round route. Definitely ORD-LHR is year round, though I think most others might just be seasonal.

  8. A minor suggestion (and yes, it is minor). Can you include flight time when you list the times? Most of us don’t have all of the time zones memorized (although I probably could do a decent guess).


    (And you did include the time for your other story about BA’s new flight.)

  9. Interesting mention of Aer Lingus’ partnership with UA vs OneWorld alliance. Even more complicated, Aer Lingus uses T2 at LHR with a lounge, a *A fortress.

  10. @Jesse
    You could’ve booked a flight from Aer Lingus from Dublin to Seattle, then continued onwards to somewhere in Hawaii with Alaska 🙂

  11. When Aer Lingus relaunched their SFO service, it was contingent upon signing contracts with Companies in the Valley to fill those flights. Apple, Facebook and others signed on and the flight was launched.

    Now, UA is entering the market and wonder if those Companies are going to jump From EI to UA.

  12. I hate that United’s new 787 configurations hardly has any business or extra-legroom economy plus seats. They should at the very least have more Economy Plus seats to award loyal Premier members who book United in economy for personal travel. When booking last-minute economy travel, few Economy Plus seats are likely to be available, so Premier members will likely end up in regular economy seats. At that point, Premier members may as well book on an airline that’s better than United.

  13. Some competition on this route will be nice.

    In business, Aer Lingus’s nonstop flight is always commanding a high price while a one stop via LHR or AMS or Germany is much more competitive.

    The direct is reliably filled with Google, Facebook, Apple, etc. business travel on negotiated corporate rates.

  14. Hmmm, I thought I was on that flight New Years day 2016, and it was some kind of introductory offer, $ 1,360 in Business Dublin to Maui via SFO, return, one year open. So I actually made two Maui to Munich trips out of it, in December/January, and May/June, doing the complimentary legs with miles.

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