United Airlines has invested heavily in long-haul flights, as the airline has launched routes like Houston to Sydney and San Francisco to Singapore.
The airline has now announced a further long-haul flight, which this time sees the airline back to Africa (United previous flew to Africa via their Houston-Lagos route, which was terminated a few years back).
United plans to operate 3x weekly, non-stop flights between Newark and Cape Town in December 2019 . United Airlines has so far only applied for authorization to operate the route, and hopefully the approval will soon come.
United plans to use a Boeing 787-9 on the route, with 48 business series and 204 finance sites. Unfortunately, no 787-9s United's new Polaris seats yet, so you can expect this plane to have United's old business classes.
United's current 787-9 business class
The plane will operate with the following schedule:
Newark to Cape Town departs at 8:30 PM at 18:00 (+1 day ) [Wed, Fri, Sun] Cape Town to Newark departure at 8:50 pm at 5:45 am (+1 day) [Mon, Thu, Sat]
This plane will cover a distance of 7.817 miles, making it one of United's longest aircraft.
United's VP of International Network had the following to say about the route:
"We are always looking for ways to expand our industry-leading international route network to offer our customers more practical options. We are thrilled to announce grants from Africa to Our global route offering. This new aircraft will provide customers with the only non-stop service between the United States and Cape Town. "
What a fascinating route this is. While Johannesburg is the business center in South Africa, Cape Town is most popular with tourists, so clearly this is for leisure travelers. There are tons of New Yorkers wanting to go to South Africa and I could see this route seems very good for United.
United Airlines partners with both South African Airways and Ethiopian Airlines, offering one-stop service from the US to Cape Town on various routes. However, this is much more convenient for New Yorkers.
It's so great to see United actually try out some new ultra long distance flights, instead of sticking to secure games. Their strategy seems to work, otherwise they would not continue to add more aircraft of this length.
Here is hoping that the plane will be approved and that the tickets will soon be for sale. For reference, the only other US airline that flies nonstop to South Africa is Delta, as they operate year-round Atlanta to the Johannesburg route.
What do you do with United's new flight to Cape Town?