United, American Plan to Launch Direct Routes to Tokyo From These Major U.S. Hubs

Both airlines have applied to launch nonstop flights to Tokyo's Haneda Airport from Houston and New York City, respectively.

It’s about to get easier to fly to Japan thanks to a pair of new flights to Tokyo from two different U.S. airlines.

Both United Airlines and American Airlines have applied to the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) to launch nonstop flights to Tokyo's Haneda Airport from Houston and New York City, respectively.

For United, the new flight would make the airline the only U.S. carrier to fly direct to Haneda from Houston. Currently, a nonstop flight from the Texas city is operated by Japanese carrier All Nippon Airways (ANA), and United operates direct flights to Tokyo from other cities like Newark, Los Angeles, and Chicago.

"Between its steadily growing population and its booming energy and innovation sectors, the Houston area has transformed into a critical hub for both business and leisure travel," Patrick Quayle, the senior vice president of global network planning and alliances at United Airlines, said in a statement. "If awarded by the DOT, this new service will enhance travel options to Tokyo Haneda for consumers across the Southern United States, and strengthen the economic partnership between Japan and more than 240 affiliated businesses in the greater Houston area."

In New York, American Airlines plans to begin operating flights from the city’s John F. Kennedy International Airport to Haneda. Once approved, the airline would also become the only U.S. carrier to fly nonstop between the two major airports. American would plan to fly the route year-round once per day.

The same route is currently operated by both ANA and Japan Airlines.

“Joining American's existing flights from Dallas-Fort Worth and Los Angeles, JFK to Tokyo service adds an East Coast gateway for flights to Haneda, while offering the largest metropolitan area in the U.S. more options for travel to one of the most important business hubs in the world,” Molly Wilkinson, American's vice president of regulatory and international government affairs, said in a statement.

Both flights would operate on a daily basis.

The new routes come as Japan is in the heart of a shoulder season, which lasts from mid-September through December. While travelers won’t see peak cherry blossoms this time of year, they will experience fewer crowds, easier-to-book hotels, and cheaper flights.

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