CHICAGO- United Airlines (UA) appears undeterred by concerns about transatlantic demand for the upcoming summer and has announced the addition of a new long-haul route from San Francisco (SFO) to Barcelona (BCN).
The service is set to commence on May 23, 2024, and will run daily throughout the summer season, utilizing a Boeing 777-200ER equipped with 50 Polaris business-class lie-flat seats, 24 Premium Plus recliners, 46 Economy Plus seats, and 156 standard economy seats.
United San Francisco to Barcelona
The 5,970-mile flight is scheduled to operate until October 25, 2024, and is already available for booking on the airline’s website.
This move increases the total number of nonstop destinations offered by United to and from Barcelona to four, with existing services from Chicago, Newark, and Washington.
Notably, this marks the first time United is operating this route from San Francisco. In 2024, United plans to operate 30% more flights to Spain compared to 2023, with exclusive services to three destinations—Malaga, Palma de Mallorca, and Tenerife, reported TPG.
The other two cities, Madrid and Barcelona, face more competition, including the already-operated San Francisco-to-Barcelona route by Spanish budget carrier Level.
Iberia (IB) intends to resume its services in the market by March 2024, as per Cirium schedules, providing competition to United’s new San Francisco to Barcelona route.
However, United, with its hub in San Francisco, is positioned to attract both local passengers from the Bay Area and those seeking one-stop options through San Francisco International Airport (SFO).
Competition from American Airlines
The dynamics of United’s pricing and competition are noteworthy, particularly considering American Airlines’ (AA) recent announcement of a new service from Dallas/Fort Worth to Barcelona for the upcoming summer season.
While not directly competing in the same market, both carriers will vie for connecting traffic between the West Coast and Barcelona.
United’s Barcelona flight follows its October announcement of new long-haul routes, including Faro, Portugal, Newark to Reykjavik, Newark to Brussels, and Washington to Rome.
Amid concerns about transatlantic demand, United CEO Scott Kirby remains optimistic, dismissing reports that airlines are adding excessive capacity for the summer of 2024.
Kirby emphasized confidence in transatlantic demand, highlighting higher capacity growth in the winter.
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