Here's What to Know About the United Airlines and Emirates Codeshare

You can look forward to new routes and new planes

United Airlines B777 flying at dusk

Courtesy of United Airlines

Two of the aviation world's largest international networks are set to unite—pun intended. Chicago-based United Airlines shared details about its new codeshare partnership with Emirates this week at an event hosted by Scott Kirby, United's CEO, and Tim Clark, the president of Emirates.

The partnership between the airlines will not only expand United's reach into the Middle East and Emirates' routes in the U.S., but it will also give passengers access to more destinations. "United's new flight to Dubai and our complementary networks will make global travel easier for millions of our customers, helping boost local economies and strengthen cultural ties," said Scott Kirby in a press release.

The first implementation of this codeshare starts in November when Emirates passengers flying into Chicago, San Francisco, or Houston can make connections to the almost 200 cities that are in the United network. While in March 2023, United will launch a brand new nonstop route from Newark Liberty International Airport to Dubai. From Dubai, passengers can travel onward to any of the 100 cities served by Emirates and flydubai, its sister airline. Even though flights won't be departing until next year, tickets are already available for purchase. And thanks to an interline agreement, passengers can book all connecting flights on a single ticket either through United or through Emirates.

United MileagePlus and Emirates Skywards members will gain more miles-earning opportunities and the deal is especially sweet for United travelers who can redeem their miles for a coveted seat in Emirate's first-class cabin. Eligible United customers will also get Emirates lounge access when connecting to and from Dubai.

The last piece of the partnership will be multi-billion-dollar improvements to both fleets. Emirates is spending $2 billion on upgrades to the in-flight experience including adding premium economy seats to 120 planes. United, meanwhile, will add 500 planes—complete with high-speed Wi-Fi, Bluetooth connectivity, and larger overhead bins—to its fleet.

The partnership is the latest sign that U.S.-based carriers are patching things up with Middle Eastern carriers after attempts by airlines (including United) to limit the growth of a trio of Middle Eastern carriers, including Emirates and Qatar Airways.

"Those airlines aren't airlines," said Oscar Munoz, United's then-CEO, in 2017. "They're international branding vehicles for their countries." Both United and Delta eliminated flight routes to Dubai during the dispute.

However, sentiments have clearly changed as now, almost every American carrier has a partner in the region, minus Delta. (American and Qatar Airways are both members of the Oneworld Alliance, while the former also launched a flight from its New York hub to Doha's Hamad International Airport this summer.)

Article Sources
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  2. United Airlines. "United and Emirates Expand Market Presence Through New Agreement." Sept. 14, 2022.

  3. USA Today. "United Cites Gulf Rivals in Axing Dubai Flights." Dec. 9, 2015

  4. Skift. "United Airlines and Emirates Tease New Partnership." Aug. 30, 2022