United Airlines Announces New Routes To Africa, India, and Hawaii

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Yesterday, United Airlines generated some buzz when they used social media to announce they would be adding new routes to their global network. The airline published a one minute video with 30+ clues and invited subscribers to guess the new cities.

AFRICA, INDIA, AND HAWAII (7 NEW ROUTES)

Well, today the airline revealed they were adding 7 new non-stop routes including three to Africa, two to India, and two to Hawaii.

Note: The routes still need formal approval from the government but the ability to purchase tickets should be available soon.

Here are the routes:

FromToService / EquipmentSeason Start
AfricaWashington D.C. (IAD)Accra, Ghana (ACC)3x/week, 787-8Spring 2021
Washington D.C. (IAD)Lagos, Nigeria (LOS)3x/week, 787-8Spring 2021
Newark, NJ (EWR)Johannesburg,
South Africa (JNB)
Daily, 787-9Spring 2021
IndiaSan Francisco, CA (SFO)Bangalore,
India (BLR)
Daily, 787-9Spring 2021
Chicago, IL (ORD)New Delhi,
India (DEL)
Daily, 787-9Winter 2020
HawaiiNewark, NJ (EWR)Kahului,
Maui (OGG)
4x/week, 767-300ERSpring 2021
Chicago, IL (ORD)Kona, Hawaii (KOA)4x/week, 787-8Spring 2021

If you’re more of a visual person like me, here you go…

MY THOUGHTS ON AFRICA

Let’s be candid…Africa (as a continent) receives no love from the US carriers but I give United credit because three are better than none. We’re all about improvements so…

  • Washington D.C. (IAD) – Accra, Ghana (ACC)

The “DMV” (D.C., Maryland, Virginia) has a large population (if not the largest population) of Ghanaians in the U.S. so this is a logical move. If you attended or considered attending “Year Of Return,” you know that Delta is currently the only US airline flying to Accra (from JFK) and the price can be quite steep.

You may remember that South African Airways flew directly from Washington D.C. to Accra but they axed that flight in the summer of 2019 much to my dismay. Given SAA doesn’t know what direction is up, it’s unlikely United will have any competition on this route.

Note: It’s much easier to accrue and book an award ticket on United than it is with Delta so your ear should perk up with this expansion.

  • Washington D.C. (IAD) – Lagos, Nigeria (LOS)

If you’re a United Airlines fan, you’ll be excited for this route. Unfortunately, it’s not a very original route as Delta already flies to Lagos (from Atlanta and New York). Perhaps, a little competition will decrease the exorbitant prices on this route?

  • Newark (EWR) – Johannesburg (JNB)

This flight is exciting in the fact that it will complement United’s seasonal flight to Cape Town. Adding capacity to such an awesome region is a win!

This is a very strategic move. You may recall that Delta announced a new triangle route to Johannesburg because they retired all their 777s. Additionally, South African Airways has historically flew from Joburg to New York but again…they’re struggling so United is filling a major void.

MY THOUGHTS ON INDIA

United Airlines appears to be going head-first into India. The airline is already the biggest US airline in India and now they’re adding even more capacity.

  • San Francisco (SFO) – Bangalore, India (BLR)

This flight is considered ultra long haul! In fact, once this flight launches, it will easily be ranked in the Top 5 Longest Flights in the world at 8700+ miles.

Interestingly, Bangalore appears to be the new hot-spot as American Airlines announced earlier this year they had plans to introduce Seattle to Bangalore in October 2020. At this point, Americans flight is able to be booked so we’ll see if that still happens.

  • Chicago (ORD) – Delhi, India (DEL)

This route isn’t terribly exciting because United already has non-stop service to Delhi (ex-EWR and ex-SFO), but provides easier access to anyone that may be interested. It’s also worth noting that Air India (a Star Alliance partner) also operates this route so perhaps, we’ll see a decrease on the exorbitant pricing.

MY THOUGHTS ON HAWAII

Hawaii always appears near the top of everyone’s “Yes, Please List” so…

  • Newark (EWR) – Maui, Hawaii (OGG)

This route will complement the existing non-stop routes from Los Angeles (LAX), San Francisco (SFO), Denver (DEN), and Chicago (ORD).

  • Chicago (ORD) – Kona, Hawaii (KOA)

And this route will complement the existing non-stop routes from Los Angeles (LAX), San Francisco (SFO), and Denver (DEN).

…so if you’re interested in going to Hawaii, there’s additional capacity to take advantage of.

FINAL STAMP

To be completely honest, I’m surprised that United is announcing new routes at a time like this. Less than a week ago, they announced they were furloughing 2800+ pilots. It just seems like bad timing in my opinion.

However, I’m not surprised that United is focusing more on leisure routes. Business demand is (clearly) down and will be for some time and if I had to rank the “Big US3” on their affinity and focus on international growth, United would be at the top (Delta at the bottom).

Are you excited about any of these routes? Which route seems the most interesting?

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