United Airlines

Direct flights from USA aid recovery of SA tourism. Image: Pixabay

American dream: Direct flights between SA and US to resume in June

The launch of United Airlines’ daily flights next month signals the end of a lengthy period without direct air services between South Africa and the United States.

United Airlines

Direct flights from USA aid recovery of SA tourism. Image: Pixabay

Travel restrictions and a global slump in demand for tourism have had lasting impacts on airlines across the globe.  South Africa has been dropped off the route networks of many scheduled international airlines due to the presence of the 501Y.V2 variant of the coronavirus in the country.

United Airlines was set to launch flights between New York and Johannesburg on 31 March, but in January the airline postponed the start date of this service to 3 June.


The PointsGuy states that United Airlines has scooped up the opportunity to provide direct air services between the US and South Africa since it could fill the gap created by the absence of flights previously offered by South African Airways (SAA).

The Johannesburg route will be the carrier’s second South African route.  United began operating seasonal flights between New York and Cape Town in December 2019, but these flights have not restarted due to the pandemic. United’s Cape Town service is expected to resume on 31 October this year.


United Airlines is scheduled to start its daily service between Johannesburg and Newark Airport in New York on 5 June. 

Flights will depart Johannesburg at 20.00 and arrive in New York at 5.45 the following day. The duration of the direct flight is 15 hours and 45 minutes.

United’s Johannesburg flights will be operated with a Boeing 787 Dreamliner,  which offers an exceptional business class product featuring extra-private Polaris seating.