United to launch Chicago – Delhi flight in 2020, taking Air India head on; add SFO-BLR connectivity in Spring 2021

United New Routes were coming, as indicated by teasers yesterday of global route expansion, suggesting that they will do the big reveal in 24 hours.

Looking at the video, our in-house network planning talent, Karan, expected two Indian destinations to be on the map, which would be more of Delhi. We concluded after a lot of messages between USA (where he is) and India that there will be a Los Angeles/Chicago to Delhi.

Today, United has lifted the veil on these services. United Airlines today announced plans to expand its global route network with new nonstop service to Africa, India and Hawaii. With these new routes, United will offer more nonstop service to India and South Africa than any other U.S. carrier and remains the largest carrier between the U.S. mainland and Hawaii.

a plane taking off from a runway

United’s new services announcement

Starting this December, United will fly daily between Chicago and New Delhi and, starting in spring 2021, United will become the only airline to operate between San Francisco and Bangalore.

United will also launch more international flights, including one between Newark and Johannesburg. United will also introduce new service between Washington, D.C., and Accra, Ghana and Lagos, Nigeria in late spring of 2021. In the summer of 2021, United will fly nonstops four times weekly between Chicago and Kona and between Newark/New York and Maui. And starting this week, United, the airline offering more nonstop service to Israel than any other U.S. carrier, begins new nonstop service between Chicago and Tel Aviv, the only carrier to provide this service.

Patrick Quayle, United’s vice president of International Network and Alliances, 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.

New nonstops to India from two U.S. cities

United has served India with nonstop service for 15 years and will now build on its existing service to New Delhi and Mumbai with two new routes. Beginning December 2020, United will introduce a new nonstop service between Chicago and New Delhi and, for the first time, United customers will be able to travel nonstop between San Francisco and Bangalore starting spring 2021. Both these flights will be served by their Boeing 787-9 aircraft. United intends to become the first American carrier to fly to Bengaluru, as it beats American Airlines planned (postponed) launch of Seattle – Bengaluru by months. This will also become United’s longest operational route when it goes live.

These United aircraft will feature United Polaris business class. This premium travel experience prioritizes relaxation and comfort with features that include everything from custom, luxury bedding from Saks Fifth Avenue and restaurant-quality, multi-course inflight dining to premium amenity kits and fully flat-bed seats.

a bed in a plane

Chicago has the second-highest population of Indian-Americans in the United States, and customers from more than 130 U.S. cities can connect on United through O’Hare International Airport. Service from San Francisco to Bangalore connects two international technology hubs, broadening United’s west coast service to India, which also includes San Francisco to New Delhi.

Offering nonstop service to three new destinations in Africa

United will become the only U.S. carrier serving Accra nonstop from Washington, D.C. and the only airline to serve Lagos nonstop from Washington, D.C., with three weekly flights to each destination beginning in late spring 2021. The Washington metropolitan area has the second-largest population of Ghanaians in the United States, and Lagos is the largest Western African destination from the United States. Now, with 65 different U.S. cities connecting through Washington Dulles, United will offer convenient one-stop connections to Western Africa.

United already provides seasonal, three-times-weekly service between Newark/New York and Cape Town. By adding new daily nonstop flights between Newark/New York and Johannesburg in spring 2021, the airline will operate more flights to South Africa than any other U.S. carrier. It will offer the only roundtrip, nonstop service from the United States to Johannesburg by a U.S carrier. These routes also provide easy connections for customers travelling to South Africa from more than 50 U.S. cities.

New nonstop service between Chicago and Tel Aviv

Beginning, Thursday, Sept. 10, United will start brand-new three-times-weekly nonstop service between Chicago and Tel Aviv. In addition to Chicago, United currently operates nonstop service between Tel Aviv and its hubs in Newark/New York and San Francisco. It will resume service between Washington and Tel Aviv in October. The airline operates more nonstop service between the United States and Israel than any U.S. airline.

What do you think of United’s planned new flights to India?

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About Ajay

Ajay Awtaney is the Founder and Editor of Live From A Lounge (LFAL), a pioneering digital platform renowned for publishing news and views about aviation, hotels, passenger experience, loyalty programs, travel trends and frequent travel tips for the Global Indian. He is considered the Indian authority on business travel, luxury travel, frequent flyer miles, loyalty credit cards and travel for Indians around the globe. Ajay is a frequent contributor and commentator on the media as well, including ET Now, BBC, CNBC TV18, NDTV, Conde Nast Traveller and many other outlets.

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  1. Mumbai is paying heavily for its lack of infrastructure development over the past 25 years (at the very least). Specific to airport, and no wonder Mumbai isn’t first choice (high taxes, limited slots etc). Worry is, will BLR (with its tech focus) steal the next phase of growth from Mumbai?

    Thanks for covering, Ajay & LFAL team! 🙂

    • @RNS, not sure where is this coming from. Mumbai already gets the Newark service for years from United. SFO-BLR is the tech city pair. What is the concern again?

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