United Airlines has announced plans to expand its global route network, with new nonstop services from the US to Africa, India and Hawaii. One of the most interesting parts of its announcement was a plan to fly to Bangalore from the US west coast.
United will fly to Bangalore from San Francisco, add new Delhi-Chicago service
In an aggressive move, United announced that it would launch a daily service from San Francisco to Bangalore - the first non-stop service between the capital of Karnataka and the US - in March.
American Airlines has its own plans to fly to Bangalore from Seattle, but coronavirus meant the new service was postponed from winter 2020 to winter 2021 - meaning United will steal a march on its rival with a spring 2021 launch.
United, which has served India with non-stop service for 15 years, is also introducing a new non-stop, daily service between Chicago and New Delhi, starting in December 2020.
Chicago has the second highest population of Indian-Americans in the United States, and customers from more than 130 US cities can connect on United through its hub at O'Hare International Airport.
Service from San Francisco to Bangalore connects two international technology hubs and strengthens United's west coast service to India, which already includes a San Francisco to New Delhi service.
United's new services will be operated by Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft, featuring the carrier’s Polaris business class, which promises “luxury bedding from Saks Fifth Avenue, restaurant-quality, multi-course inflight dining, premium amenity kits and full flat-bed seats”.
United to launch new routes to Africa and Israel
United’s expansion plans aren’t limited to India, as the Star Alliance carrier also announced new routes to Africa and Israel.
United will become the only US carrier serving Accra, Ghana non-stop from Washington, DC, and the only airline to serve Lagos, Nigeria non-stop, also from DC, with three weekly flights to both destinations beginning in late spring 2021.
Also promised is a new daily nonstop flight between Newark and Johannesburg beginning in spring 2021, meaning United will operate more flights to South Africa than any other US carrier.
Beginning today, United will launch a three-times-weekly non-stop service between Chicago and Tel Aviv, Israel. Patrick Quayle, a vice president at United, said:
"Now is the right time to take a bold step in evolving our global network to help our customers reconnect with friends, family and colleagues around the world. These new nonstop routes provide shorter travel times and convenient one-stop connections from across the United States, demonstrating United's continued innovative and forward-looking approach to rebuilding our network to meet the travel needs of our customers."
In the middle of a global pandemic, it’s great to see new flights being added from India to the US.
United hopes to steal a march on its oneworld rival by becoming the first airline to launch the first non-stop service between the US and Bangalore, but could the move prompt American Airlines to bring forward its plans to fly to Bangalore from Seattle - or even abandon them?
What do you make of United’s ambitious expansion announcement, made during very depressed times for the aviation industry?