Chicago tourism

United adds top European destination from SFO and increases service to Australia

In this week’s air travel news, United announced its 2023 transatlantic summer schedule, which includes a major new nonstop route from San Francisco to Italy, as well as the addition of other new flights from the United States. United-Europe and additional capacity from Los Angeles to London; United plans to expand service to Australia in coming weeks, with more flights from San Francisco; Delta joins United and American in planning to add electric vertical take-off and landing aircraft for air taxi service at its major airports, starting at LAX and New York; Delta adds more European cities to its Air+Rail schedule, offering easy train connections in short-haul markets; Alaska Airlines abandons four California routes, while American increases capacity on one; Starbucks customers can now earn miles as part of a major airline loyalty program; new survey finds Americans are cutting vacation travel plans due to inflation; Delta is moving its Chicago O’Hare operations to another terminal and opening a new, larger Sky Club there.

Bay Area residents will have a new option for traveling to Europe next summer when United Airlines introduces nonstop flights between San Francisco International and Rome. The service from Rome, which will operate once a day with a 777-200ER, will begin on May 25. It was announced this week as part of United’s new transatlantic summer schedule, which has been extended for 2022 and will grow even more in 2023. In total, United will fly to 37 cities across Europe, Africa, India and the Middle East next summer, more destinations than all other US airlines combined,” the airline said, noting that its passenger demand to Europe this summer was 20% higher than in the pre-pandemic year of 2019.

In addition to the SFO-Rome route, another new transatlantic service from United next year includes Newark to Malaga, Spain, operating three days a week from May 31; daily Newark-Dubai 777-200ER flights from March 25 as part of the new partnership agreement between United and Emirates; Newark-Stockholm daily service from 27 May, a route last served by United in 2019; Chicago O’Hare-Shannon, Ireland, service beginning May 25 and complementing the airline’s Newark-Shannon route; daily flights from Washington Dulles to Berlin from May 25, the only non-stop between the two capitals; and Chicago-Barcelona, ​​also launched on May 25, with 787 daily flights.

United said its summer schedule will also include the nine transatlantic routes it added in the summer of 2022: Newark-Nice; Denver-Munich; Boston-London Heathrow; Chicago-Zurich; Chicago-Milan; Washington Dulles-Amman, Jordan; Newark-Azores, Portugal; Newark-Palma de Mallorca, Spain; and Newark-Tenerife, Spain. The airline also plans to increase capacity on some routes, adding a second daily Los Angeles-London Heathrow departure from March 25 and a second daily Washington Dulles-Paris CDG flight from June 2.

With this second daily LAX-London flight from United, a tally by Simpleflying.com notes that the Los Angeles-Heathrow market will have a total of 11 daily flights next summer, including three each from British Airways and Virgin Atlantic, two each from United and American, and one from Delta. This will make LAX-LHR the third largest nonstop long-haul market in the world by total seat capacity and the second largest by number of flights.

Now that Australia has reopened to tourism, United said this week it plans to increase capacity in San Francisco for the winter. From December 14 to February 8, United will increase frequencies on the SFO-Sydney route from seven per week to 10, using 777-300ERs. This is in addition to the airline’s previously announced plan to introduce the San Francisco-Brisbane service on October 28. The carrier also flies from SFO to Melbourne. Also on October 28, United will also expand to Los Angeles International by launching flights to Melbourne to complement its LAX-Sydney schedule. United will also begin flying from its Houston Bush Intercontinental hub in Sydney.

Delta is investing $60 million in Joby Aviation, a Santa Cruz-based company developing an all-electric VTOL aircraft.

Courtesy of Joby Aviation

Delta Air Lines has entered the electric air taxi competition, following similar moves by United and American, as the US airline industry moves toward a future in which passengers who can afford it don’t have to worry about getting stuck in traffic on their way to the airport. Delta said it is investing $60 million in Joby Aviation, a Santa Cruz, Calif.-based company that is developing all-electric VTOL (vertical takeoff and landing) planes that will carry four passengers and a pilot. The airline did not say it was buying the plane, but that the two companies “will work together to integrate a Joby-operated service into Delta’s customer contact channels.” The initial goal will be to give Delta customers in New York and Los Angeles a chance “to reserve a seat for seamless, zero-emissions, short-haul rides to and from city airports when booking flights.” ‘a Delta trip’.

In contrast, United and American plan to purchase their own eVTOLs for similar air taxi services to the airport. and invest in the manufacturers of these planes. Last year, United announced plans to acquire 200 eVTOLs from Archer Aviation, and this year United added a second supplier to the program, with an initial order for another 200 from Eve Air Mobility. American has pre-ordered up to 250 eVTOLs from a British manufacturer, Vertical Aerospace.

Delta said its five-year partnership with Joby to provide integrated reservation and transportation for the airline’s passengers “will run alongside Joby’s standard airport service in priority markets.” It’s unclear when operation will begin, but Joby is already conducting test flights of a prototype eVTOL and hopes to launch commercial service in 2024. The planes are designed to have a range of up to 150 miles with speed maximum of 200 mph.

The main runway at San Luis Obispo Airport in California in February 2013.

The main runway at San Luis Obispo Airport in California in February 2013.

George Rose/Getty Images

Based on the intermodal programs of its partners Air France and KLM, Delta said it has expanded its own Air+Rail operation in Europe to provide easy rail connections to 20 additional destinations. The Delta program began last year with air-rail connections from Amsterdam Schiphol to Brussels and Antwerp in Belgium. Now the airline has added the ability to book a single ticket for routes from Brussels to Breda and Rotterdam, the Netherlands; from Manchester Airport to seven UK cities; from Rome airport to four destinations in Italy, including Florence and Bologna; and from Zurich and Geneva to seven cities in Switzerland, including Lausanne and Bern. (Delta’s Geneva service begins in April 2023 with flights from New York JFK.) European airlines are facing increased pressure to shift short-haul traffic from planes to trains to reduce carbon emissions. carbon – a task facilitated by the presence of train stations at major airports there.

Alaska Airlines plans to eliminate four California routes from its system in the coming months. On Nov. 30, the carrier will end its Los Angeles International-Salt Lake City service and its Palm Springs-Austin flights. This will be followed on January 9 by the termination of its LAX-Austin route, and on May 23 by the elimination of the San Diego-Santa Barbara service. These two LAX routes offer abundant competition, with services provided by five other airlines in both markets. In addition, American Airlines has increased its capacity on its San Luis Obispo-Dallas/Fort Worth route by replacing the 76-seat E175 regional jets with 128-seat Airbus A319s.

Tourists walk past a Starbucks cafe at Humberto Delgado International Airport in June 2022 in Lisbon, Portugal.

Tourists walk past a Starbucks cafe at Humberto Delgado International Airport in June 2022 in Lisbon, Portugal.

Horacio Villalobos/Corbis via Getty Images

Starbucks this week offered a new benefit to air travelers by linking its Starbucks Rewards program to Delta SkyMiles. US residents who belong to both loyalty plans can link their accounts at deltastarbucks.com or starbucksdelta.com. After that, SkyMiles members will earn one mile for every dollar spent on qualifying Starbucks purchases. On days when SkyMiles members have a Delta flight scheduled, they will earn double stars in the Starbucks Rewards program for purchases at the coffee chain’s stores. Customers who link their accounts by the end of December will receive a bonus of 500 SkyMiles, as well as 150 stars with a qualifying Starbucks purchase. The airline has also enhanced its Choice Benefits plan for SkyMiles Diamond and Platinum members, offering them a new option of 4,000 Starbucks stars as one of their benefits in 2024.

As inflation continues to drive up air fares and other travel costs, many consumers will apparently scale back their vacation travel plans, according to a new Bankrate survey. The survey found that 79% of respondents said they were changing their vacation travel plans due to rising prices. Their strategies include taking fewer trips during holidays (24%), traveling fewer days (26%), booking cheaper accommodations and/or destinations (25%), doing cheaper activities (25% %) and to travel shorter distances (23%). The biggest impact of inflation, according to the survey, is on households with annual incomes below $50,000, with 86% of those respondents saying they are revising their vacation travel plans this year. “That doesn’t mean high-income earners aren’t affected: 79% of vacationers earning between $50,000 and $79,999 say they’re changing their vacation plans due to inflation and rising prices. For those earning between $80,000 and $99,999, it’s 77%. For households earning $100,000 or more, it’s 70%,” Bankrate said. The company noted that air fares are 28% higher than a year ago, but accommodation costs are up only 1%. Bankrate said the survey found that 22% of respondents plan to use accumulated miles and frequent flyer points to pay for holiday travel this year.

Passengers line up at the United Airlines terminal at O'Hare Airport in July 2009 in Chicago, Illinois.

Passengers line up at the United Airlines terminal at O’Hare Airport in July 2009 in Chicago, Illinois.

Scott Olson/Getty Images

Travelers who will be using Chicago’s O’Hare Airport should be aware that Delta moved operations there this week. Its old eight gates in Concourse E of O’Hare Terminal 2 are being repurposed for United and Alaska Airlines, while Delta has moved into the newly expanded Terminal 5 – specifically, at Gates M2-M11 in the West Concourse of T5 . The airline’s Sky Club at T2 has closed, replaced by a new one at Terminal 5 between gates M11-M14. It will welcome nearly 400 members, about four times more than the T2 club.