United and Emirates announced a historic commercial agreement this week that will enhance each airline’s network and give their customers easier access to hundreds of destinations within the United States and around the world.
United will launch a new direct flight between Newark/New York and Dubai starting in March 2023 and from there, customers can travel on Emirates or its sister airline, flydubai, to more than 100 different cities. Tickets for United’s new Dubai flight are now on sale.
Starting in November, Emirates customers flying into three of the nation’s biggest business hubs – Chicago, San Francisco and Houston – will have access to nearly 200 U.S. cities in the United network – most of which only require a one-stop connection. At eight other U.S. airports served by Emirates – Boston, Dallas, LA, Miami, JFK, Orlando, Seattle and Washington DC – both airlines will have an interline arrangement in place.
United and Emirates announced their agreement Wednesday at a ceremonial event at Dulles International Airport featuring United and Emirates Boeing 777-300ER aircraft and flight crews from each carrier.
“This agreement unites two iconic, flag carrier airlines who share a common commitment to creating the best customer experience in the skies,” said United CEO Scott Kirby. “United’s new flight to Dubai and our complementary networks will make global travel easier for millions of our customers, helping boost local economies and strengthen cultural ties. This is a proud moment for both United and Emirates employees, and I look forward to our journey together.”
Sir Tim Clark, president of Emirates airline, said United’s return to Dubai next year would make Dubai a gateway for United to reach Asia, Africa and the Middle East via the combined network of Emirates and flydubai.
“Two of the biggest, and best-known airlines in the world are joining hands to fly people better to more places, at a time when travel demand is rebounding with a vengeance. It’s a significant partnership that will unlock tremendous consumer benefit and bring the United Arab Emirates and the United States even closer,” Clark said.
Soon customers of both airlines can book these connecting flights on a single ticket – making check-in and luggage transfer faster and easier. For example, travelers will be able to visit United.com or use the United app to book a flight from Newark/New York to Karachi, Pakistan or go to Emirates.com to book a flight from Dubai to Atlanta or Honolulu.
This agreement will also give the loyalty program members of both airlines more opportunities for more rewards: United MileagePlus members flying on United’s Newark/New York to Dubai flight can soon earn and redeem miles when connecting beyond on Emirates and flydubai and Emirates Skywards members will be able to earn miles when they travel on United operated flights. Eligible United customers will also soon have access to Emirates lounges when connecting to and from United’s new Dubai flight.
Both airlines have recently announced significant investments in the customer experience. Emirates will retrofit more than 120 aircraft as part of a $2 billion effort that includes elevated meal choices, a brand-new vegan menu, a ‘cinema in the sky’ experience, cabin interior upgrades, and sustainable choices.
At United, the airline will add 500 new Boeing and Airbus aircraft to its fleet with a focus on a new signature interior that includes seat-back screens in every seat, larger overhead bins, Bluetooth connectivity throughout, and the industry’s fastest available in-flight WiFi.