Home Industry News United Airlines announces expanded Cape Town service (Business Class awards available)

United Airlines announces expanded Cape Town service (Business Class awards available)


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After a long hiatus brought about by the pandemic, United Airlines restarted its route between Newark and Cape Town in December last year with the same 3x/week seasonal service that it used before the travel world closed down. Now and with passenger numbers clearly on the rise, United is keeping a promise it made in 2019 and expanding its service to the Cape.

United’s Cape Town service goes year-round

When the Cape Town route first launched towards the end of 2019, United Airlines introduced it as a winter service only. At the time of the launch, the airline’s senior VP for international networks, Patrick Quayle, said that if the route performed well the airline would look to make it a year-round option for travelers, and that’s exactly what has been announced today.

The Newark – Cape Town route will still go on hiatus at the end of this winter season as originally planned – the last flight from Newark is scheduled for March 24th – but instead of flyers having to wait until October for the route to return, it will now be resurrected as a year-round option from early June.

From 5 June 2022, United Airlines will operate between Newark and Cape Town on the following schedule…

UA1122 EWR 20:15 – 17:15+1 day CPT (Wed, Fri & Sun) 
UA1123 CPT 19:50 – 05:30+1 day EWR (Tue, Thu & Sat)

…with the route being operated by a United Airlines Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner.

From the end of October, the route will revert to its winter schedule which, based on what’s in the systems at present, will look like this:

UA1122 EWR 20:30 – 18:00+1 day CPT (Wed, Fri & Sun) 
UA1123 CPT 20:50 – 05:45+1 day EWR (Mon, Thu & Sat)

The airline has confirmed that the 787-9 Dreamliner that will be used on this route will feature 48 lie-flat, business class seats, 21 Premium Plus seats, 39 seats in Economy Plus and 149 standard Economy Class seats and that marks this aircraft out as one that has been fitted with the airline’s “true Polaris” Business Class seats.

United’s Polaris Business Class seats

When asked to comment on the latest announcement, Patrick Quayle had this to say:

By offering flights to Cape Town year-round, we’re making it even easier for our customers to visit one of the world’s best destinations. United’s direct flights from New York/Newark cut the usual travel time to Cape Town by more than five hours, giving visitors extra time to enjoy the beauty and majesty of South Africa.

Tickets for the new summer schedule flights are already loaded into the United Airlines booking systems and it looks like Business Class awards have been loaded too.

At the time of writing, I can see at least one Business Class award available on every Wednesday between 8 June and 20 October 2022 for travel from Newark to Cape Town…

Example of EWR – CPT Business Class award availability

…and at least one Business Class award on multiple dates every month between June and October for travel between Cape Town and Newark.

With roundtrip Business Class award bookings costing 140,000 miles + ~$56, this could be a great route on which to burn some MileagePlus Miles.

Note: If you don’t have enough miles in your account to book a roundtrip Business Class fare, United’s current mileage sale in which miles can be purchased from 1.88 cents each may be helpful.

Bottom line

United Airlines has announced that it will be converting its Newark – Cape Town service from a seasonal service to a year-round service from 5 June 2022. The route will be operated by a United Airlines 787-9 Dreamliner featuring the airline’s best Business Class product and at the time of writing, summer season Business Class award availability appears to be very good.

Featured image courtesy of Dan Grinwis

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