United Airlines wants to connect Washington, D.C. with Cape Town, South Africa for the first time in history.
The Chicago-based carrier has officially applied to the U.S. Department of Transport (DOT) to operate a 3-times weekly flight between Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD) and Cape Town International Airport (CPT).
The route between the 2 nations’ capitals is said to be in most demand of all 1-stop routes between the U.S. and Africa.
“If awarded by the DOT, this historic nonstop service will significantly enhance travel options for consumers, strengthen ties between our countries’ legislative and diplomatic epicenters, and benefit thriving travel and tourism industries serving our respective countries,” said Patrick Quayle, Senior Vice President of International Network and Alliances at United.
Here’s what we know so far about United’s latest route application.
Nonstop Service Between Washington, D.C. and Cape Town
United’s plan is to inaugurate the 7,925-mile (12,754-kilometer) journey to Cape Town (CPT) from Washington-Dulles (IAD) on November 17, 2022, coinciding nicely with the start of the South African summer.
If permission is granted, Washington, D.C. (IAD) will join Newark (EWR) as the second U.S. city with nonstop service to Cape Town (CPT)
In fact, the proposed route would be the airline’s fifth to Africa. United’s incumbent routes are:
|Newark (EWR)||Cape Town (CPT)||Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays (daily from October 25, 2022)|
|Newark (EWR)||Johannesburg (JNB)||Daily|
|Washington, D.C. (IAD)||Accra (ACC)||Daily|
|Washington, D.C. (IAD)||Lagos (LOS)||Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays|
United would service the route with one of its Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft. The carrier operates 2 variations of the aircraft type — 1 being less desirable to fly than the other.
The first has an older, inferior layout with 5 rows of lie-flat seats in a 2-2-2 configuration in Polaris, meaning not all passengers have direct aisle access.
The retrofitted, preferred version has 8 rows of staggered open Polaris suites in a more private 1-2-1 configuration.
It’s unknown at this point exactly which of the 2 variations would operate the IAD-CPT route.
Hot Tip: If you’ve been planning on visiting South Africa, why not check out our recommended credit cards for United flyers that can earn you a ton of United MileagePlus miles to redeem for flights.
United has applied for a second nonstop service to Cape Town (CPT) — this time from Washington, D.C. (IAD).
Given the demand for business, leisure, and governmental travel between the 2 cities, it would be a surprising move for the DOT to reject United’s application.
We’ll be sure to update you once we find out the outcome.
Featured Image Credit: