Why United Airlines Relaunched San Francisco To Tel Aviv Flights

United Airlines resumed San Francisco to Tel Aviv on March 21st, spurred by its likely financial performance pre-coronavirus and Israel’s strong progress with vaccinations. San Francisco, with a significant Jewish population, is one of 12 airports in North America scheduled to have non-stop Tel Aviv flights this year.

United Airlines B787-8
United Airlines resumed San Francisco – Tel Aviv on March 21st. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying.

United Airlines resumed San Francisco to Tel Aviv on March 21st, with the carrier operating the route three-weekly using B787-8s. It has the following schedule from April:

  • San Francisco to Tel Aviv: departing at 20:00 on Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays, and arriving at 19:55 the next day
  • Tel Aviv to San Francisco: departing at 00:55 on Tuesdays, Fridays, and Sundays, and arriving back at 06:00
San Francisco to Tel Aviv
San Francisco to Tel Aviv has a flying time of 13 hours and 10 minutes. Flight data: RadarBox.com

United Airlines to Tel Aviv

United Airlines is the second-largest non-stop operator between North America and Tel Aviv this year, behind El Al but ahead of Delta Air Lines, American Airlines, and Air Canada.

It has been second since 2012 when it entered the market from Newark in April after Continental ended it a month before. It then added San Francisco in March 2016, Washington Dulles in May 2019, and Chicago in September 2020.

United Boeing 777-300ER
United Airlines has four routes to Tel Aviv. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying

12 airports in North America have non-stops

Tel Aviv has non-stop flights scheduled to 12 airports in North America this year, double the number at the start of the decade. If all five airlines are combined, 19 routes are down. However, at the time of writing, two airports served by El Al – Boston and Las Vegas – aren’t available for booking, but they may appear later.

Despite this, and that seats have been cut in recent months and may change further, capacity has held up well. Subject to further changes, it will be very close to that achieved in 2019, aided by:

  • The introduction of Chicago, Las Vegas, and Washington starting in or since 2019
  • Delta adding a second-daily JFK service for part of this year, with the A330-900 joining the long-standing A330-300
  • Three new routes by American Airlines, including a new airport for Tel Aviv’s route map: Dallas
Tel Aviv to North America airports
Even if El Al ends up not serving Boston or Las Vegas this year, it won’t make a big difference to the above data as they are thin non-stop markets on a non-stop basis. Source: OAG Schedules Analyzer.

American Airlines’ coming new routes

The strong position is also from American Airlines’ coming new routes. The carrier last served Tel Aviv in 2016 from Philadelphia, but will return this year with three routes:

  • Dallas: three-weekly from October 31st with B787s
  • Miami: three-weekly from June 4th using B777-200ERs
  • New York JFK: once-daily from May 6th with B777-200ERs

American will join El Al to Miami, meaning eight weekly flights in all in the week it begins, and both El Al and Delta to JFK, with 42 weekly services.

North America to Tel Aviv routes
While 12 airports in North America are scheduled to receive non-stop flights from Tel Aviv this year, two (Boston and Las Vegas), both served by El Al, aren’t currently bookable. Image: GCMap.

United had a 90% seat factor on SFO-Tel Aviv

Booking data, obtained through OAG Traffic Analyzer, estimates that United had a 90% seat load factor on San Francisco-Tel Aviv in 2019. Just over half of passengers (52%) were point-to-point, while around 48% connected over its California hub.

Where do people connect from Tel Aviv via San Francisco?
Here are United’s top-10 connecting markets over San Francisco to/from Tel Aviv in 2019. Image: GCMap.

With nearly three in ten passengers, Los Angeles was, not surprisingly, by far the largest market from over San Francisco to/from Tel Aviv. Las Vegas was next, although at less than half the size.