Frontier declared war on United in Denver, United announces new Denver service to London

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For a long time, Denver has been one of my favorite layover airports. If you read the blog, you know I love to geek out on planes and this airport provides one of the best tarmac views there are from United’s own terminal. I’ve reviewed the United Clubs in Denver, which are pretty decent, and plane spotting prime real estate along with the terminal. In recent weeks news about a massive Frontier Airlines expansion hit the news. A few days later during United’s Q2 earnings call President Scott Kirby said this was ‘the best news I’ve heard in 10 years’, meaning he didn’t expect ULCC’s (ultra-low-cost-carriers) to be able to continue running point-to-point businesses if network carriers directly compete with them, just as United has with the new Basic Economy fare. Frontier disagrees.

In the meantime United has continued its aggressive expansion domestically and internationally. What timing that the news of new seasonal service between Denver and London came out just days after Frontier’s expansion announcement. Is this a coincidence? Probably. But it’s still makes for a good story.

Here’s the official announcement, as part of United’s 80th year in Denver

In celebration of United’s 80 years of service in Denver, the airline today announced the launch of daily nonstop seasonal service between Denver International Airport (DEN) and London’s Heathrow Airport (LHR) beginning March 24, 2018 through October 26, 2018, subject to government approval. The new Denver flight will conveniently connect customers from nearly 80 domestic destinations to London.

“For the last 80 years, United has played an integral role in serving the Denver region and helping Denver International become an essential hub connecting business and leisure travelers to destinations around the globe,” said Steve Jaquith, vice president of its Denver hub. “Our new service to London will provide more customers with convenient one-stop opportunities from markets that are served only through Denver, and we’re excited to bring this new service to the Mile High City.”

Jaquith was previously the managing director of the company’s Denver hub, and was recently promoted to vice president.

These flights are available now for booking.

Flight

Depart

Time

Arrive

Time

UA 27

DEN

5:35 p.m.

LHR

9:40 a.m. +1 day

UA 26

LHR

11:40 a.m.

DEN

2:30 p.m.

United Airlines has served the Denver community since 1937 and is the only airline to continuously operate in the Mile High City – operating 6.5 million flights serving more than 580 million customers during this time.

“We are so appreciative of our partnership with United Airlines and beyond excited that they continue to grow in Denverwith this new service to London Heathrow beginning next March,” said DEN CEO Kim Day. “These new flights will complement United’s successful nonstop service to Tokyo Narita, making United the only carrier to provide both transatlantic and transpacific flights from Denver.”

Onboard products and services

Throughout the summer season, United’s flight between Denver and London will be operated with Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner aircraft with a total of 219 seats – 36 flat-bed seats in United Polaris business class, 70 Economy Plus seats and 113 seats in United Economy.

United Polaris business class features a reimagined, sleep-enhancing experience for intercontinental travelers, including elevated inflight food and beverages, tranquil custom bedding from Saks Fifth Avenue and exclusive amenity kits with products from Soho House & Co’s Cowshed Spa.

United Economy Plus offers additional legroom and increased personal space.  Located near the front of the economy cabin, the seats give the added benefit of allowing a swifter exit from the plane on arrival.

United Economy offers complimentary food, soft drinks, juices, beer and wine, tea, coffee and inflight entertainment. Additionally, the seats feature an adjustable headrest and a personal on-demand entertainment system.

 

In conclusion, though I’m pretty certain this wasn’t a response at all to Frontier’s announcement, I wonder what United’s next move will be in Denver. Kirby likes to play hardball and to compete so I expect him to make some moves even if just as a ‘show of strength’ so to speak. He said himself ‘I can promise you that they are now competing on our turf as a network carrier in Denver. That is a battle I guarantee United will win’.

Give me your thoughts