Airlines officials are trying to figure out the answer to two key questions: When will people be eager to fly again? And where will they want to go?
United Airlines, using analytics from its website, feels it has found the answer to the second question. In the last month, United officials said searches on United.com for flights to Croatia, Greece and Iceland were up 61%.
It’s one of the reasons the airline announced Monday that it will be adding nonstop service from Newark to Dubrovnik, Croatia, starting July 8.
The airline also announced it will be starting nonstop flights from Washington Dulles to Athens and Chicago O’Hare to Reykjavik, Iceland.
Patrick Quayle, vice president of international network and alliances for United, said it’s an attempt to offer more summer travel options by flying direct to countries that have recently reopened to vaccinated visitors.
“As countries around the world begin the process of reopening, leisure travelers are eager to take a long-awaited getaway to new international destinations,” Quayle said. “These three new routes unlock the natural beauty of the outdoors for our guests. They are also the latest example of how United is remaining nimble in rebuilding our network.”
United plans to add the only nonstop service between the U.S. and Croatia on July 8, with service to Dubrovnik on Croatia’s Dalmatian Coast. The airline will operate three weekly flights between Newark and Dubrovnik through Oct. 3 on a Boeing 767-300ER with 30 United Polaris business class seats.
Flights will operate Monday, Thursday and Saturday from Newark and Tuesday, Friday, and Sunday from Dubrovnik and will be timed to connect in Newark to over 65 cities in North America.
And don’t be confused. United has nonstops from Newark to Greece and Iceland, too.
The announcement builds on United’s existing daily summer service to Athens from Newark, which resumes June 3. And United’s existing service to Reykjavik from Newark, with daily flights resuming June 3 and operating through Oct. 29.
In May, United will resume service from Newark to Rome and Milan.
Newark serves as one of United’s main hubs in the U.S. As such, it was one of the 10 biggest employers in the state before the pandemic.