A host of new flights, Delta’s new boarding policy and some new airport lounge updates lead this week’s air travel news.
This week United Airlines announced its biggest-ever international network expansion from its San Francisco hub. Starting March 30, 2019, the airline will begin offering nonstop daily year-round flights between San Francisco and Amsterdam on Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners, complementing United’s existing nonstop service to the destination from Chicago, Houston, New York - Newark and Washington, DC. Next, on October 29, 2019, the airline will add new nonstop year-round service between San Francisco and Melbourne three times per week, also on 787-9s. On December 5, 2019, the airline will launch new seasonal service between San Francisco and New Delhi, India, on Dreamliners, while on April 1, 2019, the airline will begin operating a second flight four times per week between San Francisco and Seoul, South Korea, on Boeing 777-200ER aircraft. Starting March 31, 2019, the airline will operate twice-daily nonstop year-round service to Toronto, while this fall, it will expand its Tahiti schedule to year-round service from San Francisco to Pape’ete. That flight will operate Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays starting March 30, 2019. Finally, also on that date, United will extend its San Francisco - Auckland service to year round, running three times weekly.
In policy news, this week Delta reported that it will shift from boarding by zone to boarding by branded fare purchased, as of January 23, 2019. SkyMiles Medallion Members and eligible Delta SkyMiles American Express Credit Card Members will continue to receive priority boarding, the airline said.
As a result of the new policy, boarding zones for Delta-operated flights worldwide will be renamed to reflect the branded fare purchased. The new boarding order name will be featured in the airline's online shopping experience, boarding passes and the "today" screen of the Delta app, and on jetway screens and on boarding signage at the gate. Each fare will also have an associated color, visible on boarding screens and signs at the gate.
In airport lounge news, this week KLM Royal Dutch Airlines opened the first part of its new non-Schengen Crown Lounge at Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport. With what the airline describes as a completely new setup and ambiance, the lounge offers catering and tech amenities, and it is located between E and F Piers at the airport. Refurbishment of the second part of the lounge continues, with its opening date scheduled for summer 2019.
In the United States, this week Air France opened a completely renovated dining area in its lounge at New York - JFK. The area now sports a more convivial and contemporary feel. Looking ahead to February 2019, the lounge will also introduce a new range of services, the airline says.
In other flight news, this week Delta announced plans to expand its service from Boston Logan with new multiple daily nonstop flights to Chicago O’Hare, Newark, Washington - Ronald Reagan and Cleveland. The Chicago, Newark and Washington, DC, service will begin September 9, 2019, while the Cleveland service will begin April 1.
Also in 2019, from June 8 through August 17 American Airlines will operate new nonstop service between Chicago O’Hare and Durango, CO. The airline also reported that its seasonal summer service between Durango and Los Angeles will return again in 2019, from June 6 through September 3.
In Europe, this week Air Italy inaugurated its first direct flight from Milan to Mumbai, becoming the fifth new international destination from the airport for Air Italy so far this year.