United Airlines: Several New Routes To India, Africa, and Hawaii Now Bookable

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Last month, 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)

A day later, the airline revealed they were adding 7 new non-stop routes including three to Africa, two to India, and two to Hawaii. The routes included:

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…

ROUTES FOR SALE

Several subscribers were interested in the routes and when they would become bookable with points (particularly the destinations in Africa given those routes are generally super expensive), so here is an update on the routes so far…

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

Start Date: 14 May 2021
Frequency: 3x weekly
Schedule:
UA996 IAD – ACC: Departure 6:05PM / Arrival 8:40AM (+1 day)
UA997 ACC – IAD: Departure 11:45PM / Arrival 6:35AM (+1 day)
Award Availability: Widely available

Newark (EWR) – Johannesburg (JNB)

Start Date: 27 March 2021
Frequency: Daily
Schedule:
UA188 EWR – JNB: Departure 8:45PM / Arrival 5:45PM (+1 day)
UA187 JNB – EWR: Departure 8:00PM / Arrival 5:45AM (+1 day)
Award Availability: Interestingly, two weeks ago I wrote that business class availability was wide-open. Well, it appears a lot of people were interested because it has vanished! But here are the rates…

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

Start Date: 6 May 2021
Frequency: Daily
Schedule:
UA152 SFO – BLR: Departure 6:55PM / Arrival 12:50AM (+2 days)
UA153 BLR – SFO: Departure 3:55AM / Arrival 8:30AM
Award Availability: Widely available

Newark (EWR) – Maui, Hawaii (OGG)

Start Date: 3 June 2021
Frequency: 4x weekly
Schedule:
UA42 EWR – OGG: Departure 8:10AM / Arrival 1:05PM
UA43 OGG – EWR: Departure 2:40PM / Arrival 6:10AM (+1 day)
Award Availability: Unfortunately, saver award availability in business class in non-existent but economy is widely available, the lowest business class award on most dates starts at 95k.

Chicago (ORD) – Kona, Hawaii (KOA)

Start Date: 3 June 2021
Frequency: 4x weekly
Schedule:
UA66 ORD – KOA: Departure 10:15AM / Arrival 2:35PM
UA67 KOA – ORD: Departure 5:05PM / Arrival 6:10AM (+1 day)
Award Availability: Similar to the Maui (OGG) route above, saver award availability in business class in non-existent but economy is widely available at 22,500.

NOT YET AVAILABLE

If you’re doing the math, you’ll notice the following routes are not yet available for purchase (with cash or points) yet, but I will update this post when they do become available.

  • Washington D.C. (IAD) – Lagos, Nigeria (LOS)
  • Chicago (ORD) – Delhi, India (DEL)

FINAL STAMP

To be completely candid, I’m surprised that United is announcing new routes at a time like this. Several weeks ago, they announced they were furloughing 2800+ pilots, they’re begging the US government for a bailout, and it just seems like bad timing in my opinion.

The way things are going at United, I wouldn’t be surprised if they devalue their program by increasing award rates…again.

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? Are you planning to redeem points for any of these routes?

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