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United Targets Vaccinated Travelers With Latest Route Announcement

A United 787-9 in San Francisco (Photo: AirlineGeeks | William Derrickson)

While domestic airline traffic in the U.S. is on its way to full recovery and some analysts expect the number of passengers to return to 2019 levels by early 2022, international traffic remains still well below pre-pandemic levels. However, some U.S. carriers are trying to jump-start the return to international skies of transatlantic passengers by adding services to countries that have announced will welcome vaccinated passengers without quarantines or further formalities.

United Airlines has announced it will add three new connections to its network, subject to government approval. Starting in July, the Chicago-based airline will offer new direct flights from Newark to Dubrovnik, Croatia; from Washington Dulles to Athens, Greece; and from Chicago O’Hare to Reykjavik, Iceland.

“As countries around the world begin the process of reopening, leisure travelers are eager to take a long-awaited getaway to new international destinations,” said Patrick Quayle, United’s vice president of international network and alliances, in a press release. “These three new routes unlock the natural beauty of the outdoors for our guests. They are also the latest example of how United is remaining nimble in rebuilding our network.”

New Connections to Europe as of July 1

Flights to Dubrovnik will be operated by a Boeing 767-300ER aircraft and will connect Newark Airport to the beautiful coast of the Adriatic Sea three times a week between July 8 and October 3. American Airlines had already operated a non-stop flight from the U.S. to Dubrovnik from their Philadelphia hub during the summer of 2019 and they had confirmed the service for 2020 before they were forced to cancel due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Greek capital Athens will receive daily flights from Washington Dulles from July 1 through to October 3, in addition to the existing connection from Newark Airport resuming on June 3. The flight will be operated by a Boeing 787-8 aircraft featuring the all-aisle-access Polaris Business class and United Premium Plus seats.

Finally, the new service from Chicago to Reykjavik will also run daily as of July 1 and will build upon the existing connection from Newark to the Icelandic capital. The flight will be operated by a Boeing 757-200 with 16 lie-flat Polaris business class seats.

More Markets See Service Resumptions

United Airlines is also making some adjustments to its international network due to increased demand in some markets.

Three new destinations in Africa will be added to United’s network, with three weekly flights to Accra, Ghana, and Lagos, Nigeria from Washington Dulles and to Johannesburg, South Africa from Newark. Furthermore, a new daily flight from San Francisco to Bangalore, India will be added as of May 27, bringing to five the number of daily connections between the U.S. and India.

Other destinations will also be resumed, too. Tel Aviv will be served again both from Chicago and San Francisco. Newark airport will see flights to Italy restart with services to both Milan and Rome. Flights to Amsterdam, Munich, and Tokyo Haneda from Chicago will restart in May. In June, United will resume its service between San Francisco and Tahiti.

Vanni Gibertini


  • Vanni Gibertini

    Vanni fell in love with commercial aviation during his undergraduate studies in Statistics at the University of Bologna, when he prepared his thesis on the effects of deregulation on the U.S. and European aviation markets. Then he pursued his passion further by obtaining a Master’s Degree in Air Transport Management at Cranfield University in the U.K. followed by holding several management positions at various start-up carriers in Europe (Jet2, SkyEurope, Silverjet). After moving to Canada, he was Business Development Manager for IATA for nine years before turning to his other passion: sports writing.

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