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Lots of United Business Class award space to Europe this summer

by on Tue April 5, 2016 • No Comment


If you’ve been saving up United MileagePlus miles or Chase Ultimate Rewards points to get your family to Europe in the summer…you still have options.

Right now, there are many United routes to Europe with 4 or more Saver award seats *per flight* in Business Class during July and August, 2016.

That means no fuel surcharges and the lowest possible mileage price of 57,500 miles one way in Business Class with MileagePlus.

And if you have Amex Membership Rewards points it also means you can take advantage of good pricing via Air Canada Aeroplan which lets you book these flights for 55,000 miles one way.

Most of the availability is out of Chicago and Washington-Dulles, though there are some pockets out of Newark.

A lot of this space opened up last fall, when United started adding big 777s to its summer schedule to Europe. That early space waned, but more has come back online now. The unusual part about this is that availability is pretty much all or nothing. Flights that do have space are wide, wide open. The rest have almost nothing.

Here’s space from Chicago to Rome in July and August for at least 4 people…dates in Green and Blue are generally available, though a few have ‘phantom’ space that doesn’t exist or are on partners.

But for the most part the Green dates are real space with enough award seats for a big family, though with United checking the Yellow and White dates is always a good idea too as calendar availability isn’t real time.


And here’s space from Chicago to Paris…


The common theme for most of it seems to be flights operated by United’s big old 777-200 aircraft with three classes of service: First Class, Business Class, and Economy Class.

These are probably the least desirable planes for Business Class in United’s fleet because Business Class is configured 8 across in a 2x4x2 setup.


The United 777-200 3 cabin seat map

But the seats are fully lie flat and look a lot like these with big monitors to watch all the movies and TV you want. It’s not a bad setup if you’re traveling as a family.


The interior of a United 767 in business class (via Wikipedia)

And even the oddball Newark to Hamburg on a 767…


Big business routes like Newark and Chicago to London, or Washington to Geneva don’t have much Saver Business Class space, so this seems focused on cities that tend to have more vacation traffic during the summer like Rome.

But play around with European routes out of Washington, Newark, and Chicago to see what you get.

Houston and San Francisco don’t seem to be getting in on the action, and if you try to search from other airports that aren’t hubs you might not see the space because if the domestic flight connecting to the long flight out of the hub doesn’t have space, it might not show you the space for the long flight.

So check out of Washington, Newark, and Chicago first, then piece together flying in Economy and waitlisting for Business Class from your home airport, so even from the West Coast you can get a comfortable ride.

Is this a glitch?

No glitch here.

It’s unfortunate for United that the summer it plans to add more big widebodies to the European routes comes on the heels of tragedy and turmoil in Europe, but if that’s not holding you back (and it shouldn’t), you can take advantage of a great award space opportunity.

So if you find dates that work for your family, book the flights now. You can even book a free stopover and more to turn it into a European adventure.

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