Iceland and more: Summer 2018 grows for United across the Atlantic


Passengers will have more options to Europe in Summer 2018 on United Airlines. The carrier is adding routes and extending the seasonal schedule to carry more summer holiday travelers to Europe, citing high demand for new routes. The new service will connect Newark to Porto, Portugal and Reykjavik, Iceland, each a new dot for United. Edinburgh gets another route, adding a daily flight from Washington-Dulles to join the Chicago seasonal fligh previously announced. Zurich also grows, with a San Francisco service. United is also extending its previously announced summer seasonal service for several routes.

As we continue growing our global route network we are offering more choice and convenience to travel internationally, something our customers have told us they want. The new seasonal summer flights offer customers even more opportunities to plan summer travel to four of Europe’s most beautiful cities. – Patrick Quayle, United’s vice president of International Network



Iceland is on United’s map for the first time with the new flights to Keflavik, operated on a 757-200. The carrier is competing with Icelandair and WOW on the route, though United is the only carrier offering a flat bed in the premium cabin. With a 5:40 block time eastbound that still might not be enough to sleep well during the flight, though the 10:30p departure time helps. Flights will operate from May 23 to October 4.

New 2018 summer seasonal routes announced today by United Airlines
Map generated by the Great Circle Mapper - copyright © Karl L. Swartz.

Porto is also a new destination for United and will also be served by a 757-200 from Newark. United also faces LCC-ish competition on this route in the form of TAP Air Portugal. TAP is also a Star Alliance partner, though not a joint venture member so the competition is real. Flights operate from May 4 to October 3.



Edinburgh gets another route for the summer, with Dulles joining the year-round Newark flights and previously announced Chicago summer flights. The new 757 service will fly from May 23 to October 3.

Read More: Howdy, Sydney! Houston is coming on United

Finally, San Francisco adds Zurich service, augmenting the Swiss service for the summer season. Similar to the San Francisco-Munich service the Zurich flight will operate on a 787 and stagger times, allowing a second bank of connecting options in Europe for travelers headed beyond Zurich.

Read More: United brings back Denver-London service for Summer ’18

Other transatlantic summer seasonal routes get a boost as well. For 2018 the seasonal service between Chicago and Edinburgh and between San Francisco and Munich now begins 4 May 2018 and ends 26 October 2018. The service between Chicago and Dublin and between Washington/Dulles and Lisbon, Portugal will start 9 April 2018 and end 26 October 2018.

Read More: United ups its A350 commitment

Growing across the Atlantic is a tricky proposition right now, with the long-haul LCC competition helping to drive demand and also depressing yields. Delta and American are also adjusting and growing, trying to pick the routes that can profitably fend off the LCCs. That’s mostly good news for passengers as it tempers fares. The shift to more international transatlantic service also comes as United scales back in China and otherwise shuffles its route map. Working in more established markets is more likely to deliver results in the near term and the backing of the A++ joint venture partners also helps support the new routes.

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Seth Miller

I'm Seth, also known as the Wandering Aramean. I was bit by the travel bug 30 years ago and there's no sign of a cure. I fly ~200,000 miles annually; these are my stories. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and .

8 Comments

  1. United has a golden opportunity to launch a Berlin (TXL) to San Francisco (SFO) service with the implosion of Air Berlin. These two major tech capitals of the world would definitely sustain premiums seat sales and fit in nicely with the existing flight they have TXL-EWR. But for whatever reason United is not quick to pounce on this opportunity.

  2. 10pm departure to KEF is much needed. I’ve done WOW departure at 5pm-ish, and you arrive KEF at the most drowsy state possible.

    @United : DUB is a far larger “tech capital” in Europe than BER, and UA still continues letting EI fly the route themselves.

    1. Your kidding, right? DUB is a bigger technology capital than Berlin? Why don’t you ask anybody in Silicon Valley which city has more mindshare or startups that matter.

  3. One fine point item. United and TAP Portugal do have antitrust immunity for their transatlantic services, and there’s a lot carriers can do with ATI outside a joint venture. 😉

    1. It exists, but I don’t believe the level of coordination you’re implying exists between UA and TAP. And I don’t see that changing with the EWR-OPO market now getting two flights instead of one.

      TAP feeds JetBlue while United work with the JV partners on both sides of the Atlantic. TAP is moving more and more to a LCC model and shifting its allegiances.

  4. I flew LIS-BOS in biz last week on TAP, and had a great seat, outstanding food, and great service. Not sure what LCCs do the same.

    1. The 330s in biz are solid. The rest of the operation is trending rapidly to a LCC offering.

      I’m not judging that as good or bad, just a statement of fact based on what the company has indicated its intentions are.

  5. Thanks for sharing this update, always good to see extra flights originating from Edinburgh. Regards, Alastair Majury

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