Airline ticket prices going down? Sounds crazy, but that’s what United Airlines is planning to do with its nonstop flights between San Francisco and Israel, trimming prices by as much as 25 percent.
Under the plan, which will run from May through October, United will upgrade to a Boeing ER 777-300 airplane that can carry 366 passengers at a time. Currently, United flies a 787-8 between the two cities, carrying 219 passengers at capacity.
By adding approximately 2,000 seats per week — about 1,000 per week in each direction — the airline will pass savings on to customers, dropping the price of a one-way coach flight between SFO and Tel Aviv by $300, according to the Israeli business publication Globes. Currently, ticket prices start at $1,160.
United launched its nonstop flights between San Francisco and Israel last year.
In January, the Israeli airline El Al announced that it would begin operating three nonstop flights per week between SFO and Tel Aviv starting in November. Dreamliners will be used. Tickets will start at $1,200, Globes reported.
According to Globes: “The increase in the number of seats on United Airlines’ flights is not a result of competition with El Al, but demand for destinations on the coasts from both the business community and families during the summer. United has sought to enlarge the map of its destinations from Israel for years, but the airline’s shortage of airplanes kept it from allocating airplanes to routes to Israel — United Airlines is using its stock of airplanes for new routes on the markets in China and the Persian Gulf states, which are continually growing.”