After a few back-to-back years of splashy press releases and cocktail parties, United Airlines is out with its hotly anticipated transatlantic network announcement for next summer.
This year, however, the Chicago-based carrier is largely resting on its laurels as the biggest U.S. airline across the Atlantic. United is adding just one all-new destination and boosting frequencies on just three routes.
United’s making a few more tweaks to its network, so read on for all the details.
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All of the new flights are already available for sale on United.com.
Newark to Faro, Portugal
The most exciting part of United’s announcement is an all-new service to Faro, Portugal.
When service starts on May 24, 2024, United will become the only airline connecting the U.S. to Portugal’s Algarve region with nonstop flights.
The flight will operate four times a week on a Boeing 757-200 aircraft, which feature 16 Polaris business-class pods in an uncompetitive 2-2 configuration, as well as 42 extra-legroom Economy Plus seats and 118 economy seats.
Adding service to Faro is in line with United’s recent strategy of launching service to some smaller, unserved European destinations in the summer (such as Malaga, Spain, and Ponta Delgada, Azores). The airline has strategically used the Boeing 737 MAX and Boeing 757 to connect these markets without dumping too much capacity into a route to make it unprofitable.
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Newark to Reykjavik
United will resume flying to Iceland’s capital from Newark next summer on May 23, 2024. The airline will operate daily flights between Newark and Reykjavik using the Boeing 757.
This route did not operate during the 2023 summer season, though it had been on the schedule before abruptly being canceled. Either way, it technically represents a resumption for United since the airline last flew it in 2022.
The Newark-to-Reykjavik route will join United’s service to Iceland from Chicago.
Newark to Brussels
Brussels, home to Belgian flag carrier Brussels Airlines, is a key Star Alliance connecting hub for traffic to Europe and Africa, so it might not necessarily be surprising to see United adding an additional daily flight to the city.
The carrier will offer a second daily flight between Newark and Brussels beginning on March 30 with a Boeing 757.
This additional daily frequency joins United’s existing flight in the market, which was recently downgauged from a Boeing 7×77-300ER to a Boeing 787-10 Dreamliner. The airline is clearly making up for this capacity decrease with the launch of a second frequency.
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Washington to Rome
United is adding a second daily flight between Washington, D.C., and Rome on May 23, 2024, using a Boeing 767-300.
Adding a second daily frequency will offer flyers based in the D.C. area more options for getting to one of the most popular European destinations.
Additionally, this new flight will allow United to sell additional one-stop itineraries that connect at Dulles Airport to get to Italy. United also offers two daily flights from Newark to Rome in the summer, as well as one daily flight from Chicago and San Francisco.
Boosted frequencies and earlier starts
Newark to Malaga, Spain
Last year, United started flying between Newark and Malaga on a three-times-weekly basis. United is seemingly pleased with the route’s performance since the flight will be operated on a daily basis during the upcoming summer season beginning on May 2, 2024.
Interestingly, Delta Air Lines used to fly between New York and Malaga before the pandemic, but that route hasn’t returned since then. United likely reasons that Delta won’t resume this route, so it’s trying to entrench itself in the market to capture all the nonstop demand for travel to Spain’s Mediterranean coast.
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Many transatlantic routes are operated on a summer-seasonal basis. That’s when Americans and Europeans typically take their vacations, and it makes sense for airlines to send more wide-body planes across the Atlantic during this time.
That said, as travel patterns are changing and people are seeking out shoulder season trips (that are often cheaper and less crowded), United will resume several routes earlier than originally planned, including:
- Washington Dulles – Lisbon, Portugal – starting Feb. 15, 2024.
- Washington Dulles – Barcelona, Spain – starting Feb. 15, 2024.
- Washington Dulles – Rome, Italy – starting Feb. 15, 2024.
- Newark – Nice, France – starting March 30, 2024.
- Chicago – Rome, Italy – starting March 30, 2024.
- Chicago – Milan, Italy – starting March 30, 2024.
- Newark – Naples, Italy – starting April 5, 2024.
- Newark – Malaga – starting May 2, 2024.
- San Francisco – Rome, Italy – starting May 2, 2024.
1 route cut
United’s new capital-to-capital service from Washington, D.C. to Berlin seemed doomed from the start, and now, the airline confirms that it’s not returning next year.
This route was originally supposed to launch in summer 2022, but it was postponed to this past summer due to “demand, costs and resources.” This 4,203-mile route ended up operating for a few months this summer, and it was originally on the docket to resume in May 2024.
Now, however, United has decided to scrap the route entirely. Affected travelers will be offered full refunds or alternative routings via Star Alliance hubs in Europe.
United will continue to serve Berlin from its Newark hub.
While United has spent the last few years debuting splashy new bucket-list European destinations, this year’s announcement feels less exciting. It contains just one all-new destination and a handful of boosted frequencies on existing routes.
Either way, United is slated to offer the largest transatlantic schedule in the company’s history during summer 2024. Next summer, United will fly to 38 transatlantic cities — the most of any U.S. carrier.
“United has the most flights to the most destinations across the Atlantic and we’re now giving our customers even more flexibility and choice when planning their trips abroad,” said Patrick Quayle, United’s senior vice president of global network planning and alliances, in a statement.