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United Boosts International Network Amid Pandemic

A United Airlines 787-8 departing Washington Dulles (Photo: AirlineGeeks | Joey Gerardi)

While airlines brace for the possibility of upcoming layoffs, United Airlines has once again unveiled a list of new routes set to begin in the coming months. The carrier is well-known for engaging the public when it comes to its route announcements, from crossword puzzles with city names to short clips with hidden clues revealing what routes the company plans on starting — and United did just that on Tuesday.

Around 1:30 p.m., a brief 53-second video was posted onto United’s social media channels with details hidden throughout the video on where the carrier would fly to next. Those included someone circling an airport on a map, lei’s scattered throughout the video and yarn strung between different pictures across a bulletin board, over 30 hidden clues were in the short clip.

One-by-one, people began to guess what new routes the airline would announce based on snapshots from the video. The Chicago-based airline didn’t reveal any specific details to the social media users guessing, other than the fact that the new routes will be completely new and not served previously by the carrier.

Despite the constant guessing since the post was released, the routes were announced at 9 a.m. via United’s website and the airline’s various social media outlets.

Seven completely new routes were announced by the airline, which will focus on the regions of Africa, India, and Hawaii.

A chart of when United plans on starting service on the new routes (Photo: United Airlines)


The carrier is showing a great deal of commitment to the continent of Africa with three total routes being added there. New service to Africa will be from the airline’s two hubs on the U.S. East Coast.

From its Dulles International Airport hub, located just outside of Washington, D.C., it announced flights to Accra, Ghana and Lagos, Nigeria both of which will be flown three times weekly onboard the Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner. The scheduled start date of the routes to Accra and Lagos will be set sometime in the spring of 2021.

The third route into Africa will be to Johannesburg, South Africa. This route will be served daily from the Newark Liberty International Airport hub onboard the Boeing 787-9 and is also scheduled to begin in the spring of 2021.


The airline has announced two new routes to India, one of which is a new destination for the carrier. The first new route is the airline’s home city in Chicago, flying from O’Hare International Airport to New Delhi. The route will be flown daily onboard the 787-9 beginning in the winter of 2020.

This will be the third hub from which United will operate flights to New Delhi as it currently already serves the Indian capital from Newark and San Francisco.

The second route to India will be to Bangalore and will be served from the West Coast hub of San Francisco. This route will also begin in the spring of 2021 with the Boeing 787-9 and will be flown daily. This new route to Bangalore is no doubt a response to American Airlines’s new service to this city, which is scheduled to begin at some point this coming winter.


United has the largest number of flights between Hawaii and the mainland U.S., and this announcement is once again showing the airline’s commitment to the island state. From Kahului on the island of Maui, the airline announced four-times-weekly flights from its hub in Newark. When the route to Kahului begins in the summer of 2021, it will be the airports only flight to the East Coast.

The second new route will be to Kona — located on the island of Hawaii — from O’Hare International Airport. This new route will also begin in summer 2021 and will be flown four times a week using the Boeing 787-9.

A graphic of the newly announced routes (Photo: United Airlines)

Joey Gerardi


  • Joey Gerardi

    Joe has always been interested in planes, for as long as he can remember. He grew up in Central New York during the early 2000s when US Airways Express turboprops ruled the skies. Being from a non-aviation family made it harder for him to be around planes and would only spend about three hours a month at the airport. He was so excited when he could drive by himself and the first thing he did with the license was get ice cream and go plane spotting for the entire day. When he has the time (and money) he likes to take spotting trips to any location worth a visit. He’s currently enrolled at Western Michigan University earning a degree in Aviation Management and Operations.

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