MIAMI – United Airlines (UA) has announced plans to launch a new nonstop flight between Boston Logan International Airport (BOS) and London Heathrow (LHR) starting this year.

With reduced international and business demand during COVID-19, UA’s decision to commence this route may come as a surprise. The carrier intends to launch a daily flight between Boston and London Heathrow some time in 2021.

“We are thrilled to offer travelers a convenient, non-stop option between Boston and London with this addition to our global network,” says Patrick Quayle, United’s vice president of International Network and Alliances. “We will continue to monitor the demand recovery and travel restrictions as we finalize a start date for this service later in 2021.”

Photo: Lorenzo Giacobbo/Airways

Expanding Upon Existing London Routes

United Airlines has traditionally served LHR from its hubs, including Chicago (ORD), Denver (DEN), Houston (IAH), Los Angeles (LAX), Newark (EWR), San Francisco (SFO), and Washington Dulles (IAD). UA’s new Boston to London route represents the carrier’s 19th daily US to London flight. The new route will operate with the following timings:

  • Depart Boston at 10:00 PM arrive in London at 9:35 AM (+1 day)
  • Depart London at 5:00 PM arrive in Boston at 7:00 PM

Notably, UA plans to operate BOS-LHR with its premium-heavy 167-seat Boeing 767-300ER featuring 46 Polaris Business Class, 22 Premium Plus, 43 Economy Plus, and 56 Economy Class seats. According to UA, this aircraft “features the highest proportion of premium seats on any widebody aircraft operated by a U.S. carrier between London and the United States.”

JetBlue is also planning a Boston to London route this year. Photo: Nate Foy/Airways

Competition Heats Up in the Northeast

United Airlines will directly compete against British Airways (BA), Delta Air Lines (DL), and Virgin Atlantic (VS) on the Boston to London Heathrow route. Starting May 2021, American Airlines (AA) will also launch its BOS-LHR flight, although this was supposed to launch in March 2020 but postponed due to COVID-19.

Later this summer, JetBlue (B6) also plans to launch flights from Boston to an unspecified London airport with its upcoming Airbus A321LRs and new Mint suites. Just yesterday, as part of the AA partnership, B6 announced another major expansion in UA’s Newark hub. There is a possibility for UA’s BOS-LHR flight to represent retaliation against B6’s recent expansions.

United Airlines has been experimenting with new routes and destinations during COVID-19. In late 2020, the carrier announced several new long-haul and point-to-point routes including Boston to Orlando (MCO), Fort Myers (RSW), Fort Lauderdale (FLL), and Tampa (TPA). Additionally, United announced its return to New York (JFK) after several years, although these flights have been delayed.

Launching Boston to London Heathrow during these times may seem questionable, but its a bold and strategic move against its growing competitors in the Northeast.

Featured Image: United Airlines N668UA Boeing 767-322(ER). Photo: Lorenzo Giacobbo/Airways