United Launching Nonstop Service From A 3rd US City To Tel Aviv!

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United just announced that they will launch 3 weekly flights from their Washington DC/IAD hub to Tel Aviv starting 5/22/19.

It’s no secret that Tel Aviv performs extremely well for United. Continental’s former CEO Larry Kellner, who was sacked for refusing to merge with United, was quoted as saying that Newark-Tel Aviv was their most profitable route. They started flying to Tel Aviv in 1999 and quickly challenged El Al’s dominance on the route by adding a 2nd daily flight from Newark in 2004.

USAirways’ then president Scott Kirby called Philadelphia-Tel Aviv among the most lucrative routes in their network, before American merged with USAirways and suddenly axed the route, citing alleged poor route performance. Mr. Kirby jumped ship and is now the effective CEO of United.

Last year United upgauged the redeye flight between Newark and Tel Aviv from a Boeing 777-200 (772) to a 777-300ER (77W). That flight went from 50 business seats and 217 coach seats to 60 business seats and 306 coach seats. Don’t be surprised if United also upgauges the 2nd flight from from 772 to a 77W.

United launched their San Francisco to Tel Aviv route on 3/30/16 with 3 weekly flights and the route was so successful that they increased it to daily flights in October 2016. United upgauged that route from a 787-8 to a 77W seasonally from May through October. That flight will go from 36 business seats and 183 coach seats to 60 business seats and 306 coach seats.

I’ve long said that the Baltimore/Washington region and Chicago stuck out as being very strong candidates for service to Tel Aviv on El Al or United.

El Al bizarrely tried to compete with United in San Francisco rather than open a new gateway. That effort failed and they pushed back the launch of San Francisco flights by at least 7 months.

United will fly a 777-200 at 10:30pm on Sundays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from IAD arriving into TLV at 4:30pm. They will fly back from TLV at 12:20am on Sundays, Tuesdays, and Fridays and arrive into IAD at 5:50am.

If the flight is a success I wouldn’t be surprised to see it turn into daily service.

I said earlier this year that I’d be shocked if United didn’t launch new service to Tel Aviv this year. My only surprise here is that Chicago didn’t win out, but clearly United feels that the capital route will be more lucrative.

Either way, I don’t think Chicago will have to wait too long for their turn. El Al or United will surely launch service from that city within the next couple of years.

HT: hocker

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53 Comments On "United Launching Nonstop Service From A 3rd US City To Tel Aviv!"

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The schedule back from TLV looks weird. The plane will sit for a long long time


Almost the same long as the UA90/91 stay


The plane will only so sit in Israel for 8 hours, which is the same as the Newark night flight. They can’t really leave any earlier than midnight because then they’ll land in US at a weird time.


the Friday flight wont work out as its shabbos… so practically its only 2 flights…


The return though will work, because it’s Motzei shabbes


Works well for business travelers. I suspect the main market here is the Northern VA high tech sector and maybe a bit of the Maryland biotech.


The main market in DC is government. Even when Amazon puts its second headquarters in NoVa, the main market in DC is government. But this flight will be filled mostly by tourists who work for the government.


Since when does shabbos start at 5:50am on Friday?


It’s about 9:30pm in Israel this Friday night – long after sunset – and a check of flightaware.com shows Tel Aviv airport is a busy place, with flight arriving from and departing to all corners of the world. The United flight from San Francisco will touch down shortly, then turn around for a 1:05am return. Other flights arrive later from London, Warsaw, Istanbul (both airports), Frankfurt, Moscow, and many other cities I could not find on a map (Borispyl? Antalya?).

54% of the 2.9 million tourists visiting Israel in 2014 were Christians. Based on 2013 data, they outnumbered Jewish tourists about 3 to 1. (These were the latest years for which I could find data easily with a Google search.) So if I run an airline, am I going to be concerned about losing some potential passengers, one night a week? If I am a passenger not concerned about observing shabbat, am I going to consider the advantages of passing through Ben Gurion airport when the traffic is about 30% less, because of El Al’s absence?


Not to good news for me, elal has much much better saver award couch/business you can get for almost every day of the year even 2 seats in business. the more united is building up the more elal will fall. elal will soon have all nyc -tlv planes 787-9.
I know you love united there are good reasons for that however regarding saver award in business for the people who don’t know plan c,d it is almost impossible to get united 75k business, even their coach usually doesn’t have more than 15 times a month even with the united card for plan b. i hope elal will have more flights from usa to tlv


I wonder how Mr. Kirby will explain this

fly elal.. not!!!

elal never misses an opportunity to miss an opportunity


So you expect award availability to ow open up little bit?


Starting to think Chicago is not gonna happen ever…


Elal might have a harder time competing on non ex-NYC/LAX routes because it is more difficult for connecting passengers to feed in. United can put flights at hubs and get people from regional airports out to TLV much more efficiently than the LY/B5 partnership can.

I’m always surprised when an airline with only 3x week service would choose Fri night as one of them. I guess their research shows that the flights will be more geared to secular Jews/politicians, and/or there’s an appetite to have a flight that lands on Saturday afternoon to get people in in time for the Sunday morning workday in TLV.


I understand BWI is not United’s hub, but I’m thinking if IAD is farther out from many of the Jewish communities (All denominations) including Silver Spring, Rockville, Potomac, Balti, (and equidistant distance for Philly Jewish communities to NY vs Philly ” ” to BWI).


I’ve flown all over the world on many different international airlines. Everyone of them, without fail, has told me on numerous occasions that TLV is their busiest route.


Any idea. Still seems odd that the TLV routes are so busy.
Though good amount of tourism + business travel


As a Baltimore resident and a United frequent flyer this has been too long in coming. There is even Motzai Shabbos service from Israeli which is huge. Personally I prefer UA84 because then I land in Israel in the morning, but IAD won’t have such flexibility because there for sure won’t be 2 daily flights.

Happy for Baltimore

Great news for us Baltimorons. When US Airways flew out of Philly, many of us drove up there to catch that flight, so Dulles is an even easier and closer option. I don’t travel too much (every 1-2 years) but this new route will be my go-to, assuming the pricing is reasonable.


P.S.- It’s Baltimorians. Sounds more mentchlich 😉


I sent a pm about my conversation with a United pilot about when Chicago will be added…


Why doesn’t American have a TLV route?


Dan. Can we get a flight from cleveland? We never get any flights 🙁
Our airports and flights are the worsed.

Aerial Dag

Dan any indication about why this route in particular is so profitable? I wonder if it’s actually because the demand is so high but flight supply is very low or simply because the people who do fly it can tolerate higher prices relative to the costs versus other routes.


At nearly $1500 rt just for the May departures it better be profitable. I’ll stick to cheaper milk run flights. At the moment UA and AC are battling with Brussels air for sub $700 out of IAD.


Just realize that United will be using the 777-300ER planes. Unless you’re flying in business class there are NO good seats on that plane. Whether you’re in economy or premium economy. All seats were cut down an inch in width and the recline was reduced. The foot space is also smaller. Soon all the planes out of EWR will be those 300ERs. Wait and see the howl that will go up. I hear it now from a friend who works at Ben Gurion that people are complaining all the time about those planes. Wish we could do something, but the experience is going to be lousy, except for the business folk.


Bummer. Used IAD as a hidden city to save hundreds of dollars on many tickets to EWR. Shouldn’t be hard to find another one

high end hobo


William Donahue

Terrific decision Baltimore Washington to Tel Aviv. Only one major mistake that is selecting IAD as U S Airport and not the BWI Airport. 73 percent of Baltimore Washington passengers prefer BWI instead of IAD. Politics over passenger preference huge error. Change to BWI before you lose passengers to alternative carrier.

William Donahue

Again your response is you think things will be just fine using IAD. You again ignore the 73 percent of the passengers wishes. They prefer BWI over IAD. Why not acknowledge their wish? Politics again you force IAD on them for your own selfish ignorance of the people. I see that IAD flight being flat and you will lose when continue selfish ignorance of your own wants over your passengers. That is why United has fallen to its all time low among the happiness of the passengers in the national Capitol region.why do you constantly show a ignorance of pushing IAD and using the BWI terminal as well for not just your airlines bottom line but most of all the flying public of the Baltimore Washington Pa WV region? This smells more than any other airline airport preference in any other market we have studied. Selfish individuals at United and IAD. The federal government still acts as if they still own and operate IAD. Nd owns and operates BWI. I must say they are doing a fabulous job being number one out of the three DC airports. Our investigating the ties between federal officials and people of enfluence over the market awarding is entering into high gear. Ten of thousands demand answers as to why IAD constantly and never BWI when they are demanding BWI international routes when the demand is there as is the BWI terminal facilities among the very best in the nation. Are any of United decisions honestly based on the passengers presence? It certainly looks to us it’s based on the wishes of a certain few not the huge majority.