United Airlines to launch new Chicago-Athens on May 23

United Airlines

A new nonstop flight from Chicago O’Hare International Airport to Athens International Airport, "Eleftherios Venizelos", was announced by United Airlines on Thursday.

The new seasonal route will begin on May 23 and be operated by Boeing 787-8s, with a capacity for 243 passengers in a three-cabin configuration.

Adding a route from Chicago will mean United will have three Athens routes, as the carrier also operates flights from Newark Liberty International Airport and Dulles International Airport.

Neither route operates year-round but from March to December. The seat offering on the Newark route is larger than Dulles, as United deploys the largest variant of the Boeing 787 family, the -10.

“United continues to have the largest and most diverse network across the Atlantic and we are excited to announce this further expansion of our route network from Greece to the U.S. with new summer seasonal service between Athens and Chicago O’Hare,” said Marcel Fuchs, United’s Managing Director International Sales.

“This new service, coupled with the earlier start of our services from Athens to New York/Newark and Washington Dulles, means our customers in Greece can benefit from even greater travel choice and the possibility to connect via our U.S. hubs to 114 destinations across the Americas.”

United and American fly the Chicago-Athens route

United will go head-to-head with American Airlines on this new route, as American also flies between the two cities seasonally, from May to October. American also uses Boeing 787s for its services but deploys a larger variant than United, the -9, with a capacity for 285 passengers.

Athens is the only Greek city with nonstop flights from the United States, and seven routes connect it with the US. According to Cirium data, Athens is connected to Boston, New York City, Chicago, Philadelphia, Newark, Washington DC, and Atlanta.

Unsurprisingly, the busiest route is to John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York, with peak summer operations reaching 116 flights in each direction.

Unless a surprise airline adds a JFK-ATH route, three airlines will compete this summer: American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, and Norse Atlantic Airways.

Though Norse Atlantic has the most seats per flight, as it is a low-cost carrier with a two-cabin configuration, Delta has the highest seat offering. In July, Delta has two daily roundtrips scheduled to Athens, bringing its seat offering to 33,000+.

In July, the airlines have 665 roundtrip flights scheduled, with more than 197,000 seats available. More than 60,000 of those seats are available just to JFK.

United says the new route from Athens to Chicago O’Hare underlines United’s leadership among U.S. airlines as the largest carrier across the Atlantic, flying nonstop from 38 transatlantic destinations for summer 2024, the most in its history and more destinations than all other U.S. carriers combined.

READ MORE: Kalamata will connect with Heraklion, Stockholm and Paris this summer.

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