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Simple Flying
United's schedule shift sees service starting earlier than planned

Chicago-based United Airlines resumed its seasonal service between Washington DC and Athens, Greece, on Sunday. The flights, which will operate daily for the next several months, will be exclusively operated by the Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner.

United previously planned to return the service early next month, but the airline reportedly moved up the start date last fall as part of a shake-up to many of its transatlantic route plans. Throughout the route’s run this year, the US legacy carrier will offer nearly 95,000 seats.


Flight details

The seasonal service originates from United’s hub, Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD), and is scheduled for a nine-hour, 45-minute journey to Athens International Airport Eleftherios Venizelos (ATH). The return flight is slightly longer, scheduled at 11 hours to account for the typical headwinds on westbound flights.

Aeroroutes was the first to report on United’s schedule change in October of last year. The service was originally set to return on May 3, 2024, but the airline updated it to be effective April 14th. Simple Flying contacted United for comment on Sunday, but a representative could not be immediately reached.

According to aviation data and analytics provider Cirium, the service will run once daily with flights in each direction through October. Unlike last year, United will only deploy the 787-8 on the route.


United Airlines IAD-ATH Summer 2024 Schedule (April-October)

Flight Number


Departure Time


Arrival Time



Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD)


Athens International Airport Eleftherios Venizelos (ATH)

09:55 (+1)

Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner


Athens International Airport Eleftherios Venizelos (ATH)


Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD)



United’s 787-8s

With the flights beginning this week, the airline has a total of 33 flights scheduled for the remainder of the month – 17 from IAD to ATH and 16 on the return. The 787-8 accommodates 243 passengers in a three-class configuration. The United Polaris business class features 28 suites with fully lie-flat beds and privacy dividers.

Passengers in Polaris can also enjoy their inflight entertainment (IFE) from a large seatback screen equipped with hundreds of movies, TV shows, and audio and video playlists. The screen also has split-screen functionality, allowing travelers to enjoy their favorite content while viewing the live interactive flight map.

United Premium Plus comprises 21 recliner sets with a pitch of 38 inches and a six-inch recline. The seats also feature large seatback screens for IFE. The Economy cabin consists of 36 Economy Plus seats with extra legroom and 158 standard economy seats. Economy Plus seats have a pitch of 34 inches and a recline of four inches, while the standard seats have a pitch of 31 inches and a recline of three inches. The seatback screens are a bit smaller, but still allow for plenty of IFE enjoyment on long-haul journeys.

All passengers can also take advantage of WiFi, power outlets, and USB ports at every seat. Additionally, they can stream United’s IFE through their personal devices.


Just short of 95,000 seats this year

With daily flights over the next six months, United has 94,770 seats scheduled on the route, according to Cirium data. Last year, the carrier’s capacity was slightly larger as it deployed a mixture of 787-8s and 787-9s between IAD and ATH. Although the exact reason behind its decision to only utilize the 787-8 this year is unclear, lessened demand could be a factor.

According to Aeroroutes, United is gearing up to return some other transatlantic seasonal routes to destinations such as Barcelona, Edinburgh, Dublin, and others next month:

  • Chicago to Edinburgh on May 2nd
  • Newark to Paris (767-300ER flights) on May 2nd
  • San Francisco to Zurich on May 2nd
  • Newark to Naples on May 3rd
  • Chicago to Barcelona on May 23rd
  • Washington DC to Paris on May 23rd
Apr 17, 2024

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