United Is Adding These New Transatlantic Routes for 2023

The Chicago-based airline will add or bring back three routes to Spain, Sweden, and the UAE, as well as add routes to six markets it already serves.

Stockholm, Sweden

United will return to Stockholm for the first time since 2019 with service from Newark.

Photo by Shutterstock

For those looking to get a jump on next year’s travel planning, United just announced additions to its transatlantic roster in spring and summer 2023, with three new (or returning) routes.

New airports United will service

Each of the new(ish) flights—all direct—will depart from New Jersey’s Newark Liberty International Airport. They include:

  • Dubai (departing daily, starting March 25)
  • Stockholm, Sweden (daily, starting May 27)
  • Malaga, Spain (flying three times a week, starting May 31)

While Malaga, a port city on Spain’s southern coast, is a new route for United, the Chicago-based airline has previously flown the other two legs. United’s last flight to Stockholm was just before the pandemic began. The carrier had initially planned to resume flights to Sweden’s capital in 2022 but did not due to aircraft shortages, according to the airline. The last time United flew to Dubai (where its new strategic partner, Emirates, is based) was in 2016.

Additional routes to existing airports

In addition to the Dubai, Stockholm, and Malaga routes, United is adding daily routes to four cities it already serves (all starting May 25):

  • San Francisco International Airport to Leonardo da Vinci International Airport in Rome
  • Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport to Shannon Airport in Ireland
  • O’Hare International Airport to Barcelona Airport in Spain
  • Washington, D.C.’s Dulles International Airport to Brandenburg Airport in Berlin

Expanded service to popular routes

United is also doubling down on two markets the airline deemed important. These routes will now have two daily flights:

  • Los Angeles International Airport to Heathrow Airport in London (starting March 25)
  • Dulles International Airport to Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris (starting June 2)

In all, the airline will fly to 27 cities in Europe, Africa, India, and the Middle East in summer 2023 and expects to increase passenger-carrying capacity across the Atlantic by up to 30 percent over prepandemic 2019. However, it’s worth noting that after disappointing results, the airline will drop Bergen, Norway, in summer 2023. It was one of nine routes added for summer 2022.

United and other airlines have been forced to cancel some flights this year because of limits imposed by airports in London and Amsterdam, which are struggling with staffing shortages. Patrick Quayle, the airline’s senior vice president of network planning, said that after talking with airport officials, United is confident it can operate the planned 2023 European schedule.

United, American Airlines, and Delta Air Lines were boosted this summer by strong demand and high fares on European flights as Americans took advantage of fewer pandemic-related travel restrictions. Those international trips likely figured in American’s move Tuesday to raise its third-quarter revenue forecast, although the airline did not break out results by region.

Asia and the South Pacific have been slower to return, although United has gradually added flights to Australia and other destinations. China, however, remains largely closed off to foreigners, with cities still imposing new lockdowns based on the smallest numbers of COVID-19 cases, and Japan just ended border restrictions that had been in place for more than two years.

Quayle said United “will just follow the government process” when China reopens and will phase in the resumption of flights to Japan. With those “notable exceptions,” he said, “everything else across the Pacific is going to be running full-steam this winter.”

The Associated Press contributed to this reporting.

Bailey Berg is the associate travel news editor at AFAR, where she covers breaking news, trends, tips, sustainability, the outdoors, and more. When not interviewing sources or writing articles, she can be found exploring art galleries, visiting craft breweries, hiking with her dogs, and planning her next adventure (at present, she’s been to 75+ countries and hopes to spend time in every one someday).
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