United Airlines Launching Washington To Tel Aviv Flights

Filed Under: United
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United has announced today that they plan to operate nonstop flights between Washington Dulles and Tel Aviv as of May 22, 2019. This will be the only nonstop flight between the two airports.

United’s new 3x weekly nonstop flight will operate with the following schedule:

UA72 Washington to Tel Aviv departing 10:30PM arriving 4:30PM (+1 day) [Wed, Fri, Sun]
UA73 Tel Aviv to Washington departing 12:20AM arriving 5:50AM [Tue, Fri, Sun]

The new 5,900 mile flight is blocked at 11hr eastbound and 12hr30min westbound.

United intends to use a Boeing 777-200ER for the route. As of now the flight shows as being operated by a 777 in a three class configuration, featuring eight first class seats (in a 1-2-1 configuration) and 40 business class seats (in an awful 2-4-2 configuration).

United’s “old” 777 first class

However, United is in the process of reconfiguring these planes, so by the time this route launches I wouldn’t be surprised if the plane features United’s new Polaris seats.

United’s new 777 Polaris cabin

This new flight is already bookable, and if you want to redeem miles for it, United actually has tons of award availability, for once. A one-way business class ticket will cost you just 75,000 MileagePlus miles.

Earn United miles with the following cards:

United offers more nonstop flights between the US and Israel than any other US airline (since American doesn’t fly there at all, and Delta only flies there out of New York JFK). Meanwhile United operates twice daily nonstop flights between Newark and Tel Aviv, and once daily nonstop flights between San Francisco and Tel Aviv.

United began flying to Israel in 1999 out of Newark, and in 2004 increased the flight to two daily frequencies. Then since March 2016 they’ve been flying between San Francisco and Tel Aviv. That route was initially 3x weekly, but within a few months they increased the service to daily, and now they’ve even upgraded the route to a 777-300ER seasonally.

Tel Aviv is obviously a huge market, and on top of that, it’s one where other US airlines aren’t nearly as strong. On top of that, EL AL has become increasingly competitive as they’ve started to take delivery of their 787s, so I suspect that has also encouraged United to improve their network to Tel Aviv.

EL AL’s new 787 business class

Does anyone plan on taking United’s new flight between Washington and Tel Aviv?

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  1. I’ll be shocked in UA operates the 2 x 4 x 2 configuration on that route. My guess is either reconfigured 772 or even an ex-CO 777 two-class – range might be an issue?

  2. UA alone will offer 24x weekly flights (14 EWR 7 SFO 3 IAD), and when you include Air Canada daily year-round from Toronto YYZ and 3x weekly summer seasonal from Montreal YUL, so when all said and done :

    North America to TLV nonstops (peak summer 2019)
    Star Alliance – 34x weekly
    SkyTeam – 10x
    oneworld – 0x

  3. Delta should start flying between ATL or DTW (Maybe even LAX) to TLV, I wonder whatever stopping them…..

  4. @Roberto I agree with the logic and would fly one of those routes but my guess is the lack of demand out of DTW would be a hold up. Flying Blue might have some connecting lift out of DTW into TLV also. ATL makes more sense but not sure if the ATL demographic fits the need for such a route like NYC would.

  5. UA operates plenty of 772’s in a 2-4-2 config out of IAD. IAD-NRT is still on that type, and only recently did they switch IAD-PEK to a 787. I avoided flying to Asia direct from IAD on UA for that reason — no way I’m doing 2-4-2 on such a long flight.

    I don’t have any business in TLV, but are there any good onward connections from there? I guess TLV doesnt’ have much of a *A presence.

  6. To answer my own questions about connections, maybe IAD-TLV-DEL with the latter part being on Air India, but there’s already a direct IAD-DEL on AI isn’t there?

  7. @ Jim — Yeah, there are some connections, but not many. It’s a huge O&D market, so I think that’s most of the intent with this route.

  8. @DaninMCI IMO the amount of connections that DL has at ATL would make the route sustainable at least on a 3x weekly basis maybe with a A332 (later upgraded to A333 if demand rises)

    United makes so many of these routes work thanks to there connections from SFO and EWR respectively so why couldn’t DL do the same from their hubs? Or even add additional frequency to JFK?

    What are your guys though on DL west coast flights to TLV, LAX/SEA?

  9. Can someone explain why AA is staying out of the TLV market? Is it simply to avoid the old TWA liabilities? I thought the US Airways route from PHL was printing money.

  10. @JR, I believe AA still hasn’t been able to or is unwilling to settle the old TWA liabilities and just avoids Israel at this point. I agree the US Air route was good stuff. This was a big deal during the merger I believe.

    @Roberto I think LAX makes sense to TLV. To me it’s all about Jewish demographics with some tech and med business thrown in. Sure Christians and others like to visit Israel but it seems like the Jewish populations help drive demand but that’s just my opinion. Business plays into this as well with tech, medical and other Israeli industries of course so not sure about SEA on that front. I would think Morman demographics out of DL SLC routes would add lift for ATL as well.

  11. Ben,

    Could you offer some thoughts on what this may say about UA’s strategy at Dulles? At times in the past there has been skepticism about United’s commitment to the hub…..speculation reinforced by the refusal to sign a long-term lease or to significantly invest in the rundown midfield terminal (built as a temporary facility some three decades ago.)

    I do think it is interesting that United seems to be showing confidence in two hubs–both with significant transatlantic and transpacific capacity –operating a short distance from each other. Do we now expect United to be at IAD and EWR for the long term…..?

    For that matter, AA seems to be following the same strategy–with many overlapping flights–at JFK and PHL…..

  12. @John How I see AA is that PHL will continue to expand and see the majority of the connecting traffic onto Long Haul sectors while JFK for AA will continue to dwindle in size, starting with the cutting of SNN and DUB….

  13. Also curious on people’s thoughts as to why there is no direct ORD-TLV route, and whether or not we’ll be seeing this launched in the next few years.

    You’d think that between Chicago’s large Jewish community and the amount of business traffic that must fly that routing, somebody would want to give it a go – either AA, UA, or El Al. Seems like it’d be a perfect fit for the 787, especially considering the onward connectability even if O/D wasn’t enough.

    Hell, if Chicago can land an Addis-Ababa route, I don’t see why TLV wouldn’t be viable.

  14. i Wish more airlines offered these westbound redeye flights.

    I love being able to have a full day at both my origin and destination. And the late departure usually makes it pretty easy to sleep.

  15. US air ex Philly was indeed printing money. And AA are foolish for never having found a settlement fort the old TWA problem. Some opinions suggested that AA was looking to warm up to Qatar airways but even so, there’s no reason why AA can not fly to TLV. Real fools ! JFK, ORD and who knows, maybe even a DFW flight. On MIA they missed to boat. LY beat them there. That would have been an incredible gateway to South America for them. AA are not keeping their eyes on the ball.

  16. @John
    United has, recently, been very public about their plans for Dulles. That the local demand is very high and robust for international travel, and that they’re going to shift traffic that has been primarily flow traffic (connecting) from Newark to Dulles. They’ve added flights, and shifted some flow routes such as Chattanooga and a few others from Newark to Dulles. Two years ago they signed a long term lease through mid 2020s. I think they’ve been very clear that they are committed to Dulles, through both their words and their actions.

  17. @henry LAX
    Even more perplexing is Oneworld’s lack of flights into TLV at all. Currently, only 5 of their airlines even fly into TLV (BA, CX, Finnair, Iberia and Royal Jordanian). To have so little options through out the Oneworld alliance from North America to TLV is bizarre but thats what happens when Qatar and Malaysia don’t recognize Israel.

    *A has a pretty robust network at TLV. Turkish has the second most passengers after El Al and 14 *A members have flights into TLV. (Adria, Aegean, Air Canada, Air India, Air Sinai, Austrian, Brussels Airlines, Croatia Airlines, Ethiopian, LOT, Lufthansa, Swiss, Turkish, UA)

  18. Turkish has 9 daily flights between IST and TLV, including some on 777-300ER and A330 for a two hour flight.

  19. I was recently sat in one of those “dreaded” 2-4-2- business class seats on a United 777 domestic flight.
    Yes it’s not the most competitive product, but it’s not uncomfortable, or significantly worse than the alternative sCO 2x2x2 seating (never flown Polaris).
    For those complaining about the 2-4-2, try sitting in Economy!

  20. @adi_T I agree! the seat is super comfortable, spacious, the food is delicious, and some grannies are nice! As long as you’re travelling with someone and not sitting in the middle section, its a perfectly good flight!

  21. Not only does AC fly YUL-TLV during this extended summer season (through Oct. 31), but so does TS, as it has for about 3 years now.

  22. @Sauna – My understanding is that TWA, which was the only U.S. operator into TLV for years (other than Pan Am and Tower Air, I think), had an Israeli court enter a judgment against it for unpaid amounts due to its Israeli ground crew.

    TWA discontinued its Tel Aviv flights before AA ultimately acquired it. As TWA’s successor in interest, AA would have been on the hook for the judgment if it set up operations in Israel (ie, the court could have enforced the judgment against AA if it set up operations in Israel). I know that AA-branded metal actually flew into TLV for a short period of time after the US-AA merger, but my understanding is that the legal entity operating those aircraft was in fact US, not AA, so AA was able to avoid liability.

    Someone can correct me if this summary sounds wrong.

  23. @JR good info! sounds like Kirby knows exactly how much PHL-TLS adds to his old spreadsheet and is now taking full advantage of AA’s legacy issue at TLV.

  24. 2x4x2 in J is shocking out of ANY market but you can’t escape reality, people. They have to use these planes until they are retrofitted. They aren’t going to ground the plane.

  25. @CP – I’ve read that article and I still think those numbers are fishy as hell. Call me a conspiracy theorist, but I’m wondering if he was using some weird pro forma metric

  26. Very disappointed with United decision to fly to IAD. I was really hoping for TLV-ORD which makes much more sense. But who really knows how market works, it took them years to decide about TLV-SFO that finally yielded a great business for them (flight are almost sold out EVERY DAY). We should see how much business this route will bring them. Maybe they will revert and change to TLV-ORD

  27. Hi @Lucky, I apologize if this question has been asked already, but I can’t seem to find an answer on any of the blogs out there. What is UA planning on doing with the Polaris First cabins once Polaris First is eliminated? I believe they plan on eliminating Polaris First this year, but the Polaris First hard product/seats will obviously be flying on the pmUA 772’s well into next year and the year after that. In other words, any word on how they will be assigning those seats moving forward, once Polaris First is eliminated this year? Status? Fare class? I ask because I want to fly in the 772 Polaris First cabin one last time before it’s removed from all aircraft, but I can’t for the life of me figure out how to book the cabin. UA doesn’t seem to be selling seats in that cabin on many flights (i.e. the 8:00AM from EWR to ORD), but rather, the entire F cabin is filled by J upgrades between check-in and departure.

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