United Airlines is bringing back several popular nonstop flights from San Francisco International Airport to destinations across North America as well as in Europe, the carrier told me Monday.
The dominant carrier at SFO is also beefing up service to major cities along the West Coast.
“As the largest airline carrier in the Bay Area, United can connect customers to far off destinations like Paris, London and Sydney, but we also want to offer more convenient flight options for customers who are traveling closer to home,” said United (Nasdaq: UAL) spokesperson Maddie King.
United plans to resume nonstop flights from SFO to Amsterdam on April 14, Zurich on May 6 and Calgary on June 3. Domestically, United will resume flights from SFO to Atlanta on May 6 and Anchorage and Columbus, Ohio, on June 3.
Over the weekend, United resumed service from SFO to Toronto, which last operated in the spring of 2020 when Covid-19 slammed the travel industry. Nonstop service to Baltimore and Pittsburgh was also resumed over the weekend.
In addition to resuming nonstop routes from SFO, the carrier is increasing frequency to London Heathrow Airport to three times daily on May 28, after boosting service to twice daily over the weekend. SFO service to Frankfurt goes to twice daily on April 23 and the nonstop to Tel Aviv increases to daily service on May 4.
The carrier is also increasing the frequency of flights from SFO to several major West Coast cities on June 3. United’s service between SFO and Vancouver will see the largest increase, going from twice daily to five times a day.
United flights to Los Angeles International Airport will go from seven times daily to nine. Other West Coast cities will get one additional daily flight from SFO, bringing San Diego to seven daily nonstops and Portland and Seattle to six daily flights each from SFO.
“As we see demand continue to pick up, we’re now giving customers more options to travel within California and across the West Coast,” King said.
The West Coast service is a hotbed of competition. United rival Alaska Airlines (NYSE: ALK) told investors last week that it plans to expand seat capacity by using larger planes and flying more often between existing destinations as a way to boost efficiency and profitability.
“It allows us to take the network we built over the past couple of years, inclusive of Virgin America, and then really to deepen that network versus adding a bunch of new routes,” Brett Catlin, Alaska’s vice president of network and alliances, told those attending Alaska’s March 24 investor day in New York.
Seattle-based Alaska said it’s looking to California to generate 30% of the company’s growth. Alaska is planning to move from SFO’s Terminal 2 to Terminal 1 in 2024.
“Certainly, there’s a longer-term opportunity in California,” Catlin said.