Finally! United Will Launch Nonstop Service Between Chicago And Tel Aviv!

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This has been a long time coming!

United just announced that starting in early September they will fly 3 times weekly between Chciago and Tel Aviv. The exact launch date will depend on government approval and will be announced soon.

Chicago will be the 4th city with United service to Tel Aviv as United solidifies their dominant US airline position to Tel Aviv.

Ever since the Continental-United merger I’ve been saying that a Chicago-Tel Aviv route would make perfect sense. When I went to a United DO at their headquarters in Chicago’s Willis Tower in 2012 I met with Brian Znotins, who was then VP of United’s network strategy, but has now moved onto American. At the time United only flew from Newark to Tel Aviv and on DDF we had some lively discussions about a United flight from Chicago or San Francisco to Tel Aviv.

He told me that there was a lot of internal debate on that very topic as the revenue guys thought that there was going to be a lot of business class travel between San Francisco and Tel Aviv while the network planning guys think Chicago would make more logical sense as more traffic from across the country can feed into it. Of course a 3rd daily flight out of Newark can also make sense as that grabs traffic from NYC as well as the entire country.

In the end both San Francisco and Washington DC beat out Chicago and El Al announced their intention to fly nonstop between Chicago and Tel Aviv. However COVID-19 pushed off that March route launch and El Al’s bailout conditions will be make it very hard for them to fly the route.

Sensing opportunity and wasting no time, United will steal El Al’s thunder.

American recently announced that they would delay their Dallas-Tel Aviv route until September 2021, which is also good news for United’s new route as it will capture a lot of that traffic feed.

Between the AA and El Al pullbacks, the timing is perfect for United to enter the Chicago-Tel Aviv market.

United’s new flight will be operated by a 787-9 Dreamliner on Mondays, Thursdays, and Saturdays from Chicago to Tel Aviv, departing at 6:30pm and arriving at 1:45pm the next day.

It will return from Tel Aviv to Chicago on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays at 12:50am and arriving at 5:30am.

The 787-9 fleet is in the process of being outfitted with new Polaris business class seats and a Premium economy cabin, but the retrofit has been put on hold due to COVID-19. 7 of United’s 30 787-9s have Polaris seating with direct aisle access from every seat.

United also announced that they will go back up from 7 to 10 weekly flights between Newark and Tel Aviv starting in August and that they will resume 3 weekly flights between Washington DC and Tel Aviv in October. A return to 14 weekly flights between Newark and Tel Aviv is slated for October.

United resumes 3 weekly flights between San Francisco and Tel Aviv starting this Wednesday. A return to daily service is planned for September.

In total, United plans to operate 27 weekly flights from the US to Israel in October from Chicago, Newark, San Francisco, and Washington DC. That’s 3 more weekly flights than United flew to Tel Aviv before COVID-19, but we’ll have to see if that all comes to fruition.

Will you fly to Israel on United’s new Chicago-Tel Aviv route?

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47 Comments On "Finally! United Will Launch Nonstop Service Between Chicago And Tel Aviv!"

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Sam Goldstien

If the price is right it worth the short hop from ny to chicago




Dan, do you think that there will ever be an ATL-TLV non stop route again…we wish!


Disappointed they didn’t choose Cleveland


Lol their loss


If United continues to be aggressive, I think they can overtake ELAL, even in NYC.
$17 tickets to TLV anyone?



BOS flyer

What do you think the chances are any airline besides El Al will pick up the BOS-TLV route?

high end hobo

You gotta get them to change their schedule a bit. Only 1/3 of ORD flights work for religious Jews


I don’t see how this is very good for frum Jews.

The flight from Chicago on Shabbos at 6:30pm will almost never be able to be flown on. The one returning from Tel Aviv on Shabbos at 12:50am will obviously never be able to be flown on.

The flight leaving Chicago Thursday arrives in Tel Aviv on Friday at 1:45pm which is way too close for comfort in the winter, and also fairly too close for comfort in the summer. What remains is the Monday flight from Chicago arriving Tuesday afternoon – hardly an opportune time to arrive in Israel smack in the middle of the week.

The return flight leaving Shabbos from Tel Aviv at 12:50am won’t be able to be flown on by frum Jews. The Monday flight which gets in Monday morning, and the Thursday flight are ok options, though.

I just wish there was a Saturday night late flight from Chicago arriving Sunday afternoon/evening, and a Thursday night flight like 12:50am arriving 5:30am Friday morning.

frum jew

The worst times for the frum jews on the outbound flight. 🙁


the goal is to fill will planes with Christian pilgrimage groups so irrelevant to frum needs


This is great news
Keep it up united!


when in september is united restarting the iad flight

A different Dan

Awesome. This makes me very happy as a windy city resident. I don’t love the Saturday flights though.


I will definitely fly this route (even though the ord-tlv leg is limited to Monday and the return is limited to Monday and Wednesday)

Do you have any idea when these flights will actually be available to buy?


Why wouldn’t they do sunday instead of shabbos to accommodate the frum customers?


As someone who is not Jewish but enjoyed one non-religious pilgrimage to Israel and hope for another, I almost hear this as a dogwhistle from United that it would rather not deal with providing service to Shabbos-observant Jews. How much of the market do they represent, really? And how many, despite everything, will prefer to support El Al ?


1) What are the odds the Israeli government puts olim (Aliyah flight) on these flights since El Al is down?

2) What is the likelihood this is up by Sep 3 so you can still quarantine and get out before R”H?


Is Israel subsidizing the route? As they subsidized American’s new route


R u gonna drive to ORD or fly to EWR?


Drive to ord. It’s closer.


What about LAX to TLV???? It would be amazing to fly direct just like El Al


It could happen, but with flights out of SFO it’s less of a priority than ORD.


Great news! Is there any concern that United will yank the IAD flights because of Covid?


This is all so HM, CM, CV, and JTZ can have ann exclusive Shabbos DO on a flight to TLV