This US Airline Just Made It A Lot Easier To Travel To This Popular European City

If you're in Northern California and Spain is on your bucket list, your ticket to paradise just got a whole lot easier. United Airlines is rolling out nonstop service from San Francisco to Barcelona, just in time for a summery European getaway. While plenty of airlines can get you across the pond with one stop and a layover on the East Coast, United Airlines is the first domestic carrier to offer a direct flight from the Bay Area.

Tickets are available now for trips starting May 23, 2024. A one-way ticket for this 11.5-hour flight starts at $924 for basic economy, with prices subject to change. The overnight flight will operate once per day, departing the West Coast from San Francisco International Airport (SFO) at 5:30 p.m. and arriving in Barcelona at Josep Tarradellas Barcelona-El Prat Airport (BCN) at 2 p.m. the following afternoon. The seasonal service will continue throughout the summer until October 25, 2024.

Flight details and expanding service

You'll get to Barcelona via a Boeing 777-200, which is outfitted with seatback entertainment, personal device entertainment, WiFi, and USB ports. Onboard, there are 50 Polaris business class seats with flat beds for sleeping ($4,997), 24 Premium Plus seats with recliners ($2,194), 46 Economy Plus seats ($1,184), and 156 standard economy seats ($924 to $1,059).

The new route is part of United's push to increase service to Spain overall by 30% in 2024 compared to 2023, said a United spokesperson to The Points Guy in a recent interview. The only other direct option from the Western(ish) part of the U.S. is to fly from Dallas Fort Worth International (DFW) to Barcelona on American Airlines, which starts June 5, 2024 for $1,275 one way. If you're not on the West Coast, though, don't worry; you won't miss out on all the fun. From the East Coast, United is expanding its roster with three more direct flights to Barcelona from Newark, Chicago, and Washington DC. United also continues to be the only domestic airline that flies from the U.S. to other Spanish hotspots like Malaga, Palma de Mallorca, and Tenerife in the Canary Islands.

Summer service for Barcelona festivals

The seasonal route arrives just in time for a string of shows in town. Barcelona is well-known for its year-round schedule of festivals, including summer favorites like Primavera Sound (May to June), Sonar Festival (June), and Cruilla Festival (July). If the music scene isn't your thing, there's still plenty to do, like lazing on the beach, ambling along Las Ramblas boulevard, exploring the artistic Park Guell, and marveling at La Sagrada Familia, a Roman Catholic basilica that dates back to 1882.

If you need to get away from the Bay Area fog a little sooner, you're in luck. United will have a little competition, as Iberia — Spain's biggest airline — is reintroducing direct flights from San Francisco to Barcelona starting in March. Like other airline partnerships, the route is marketed by Iberia but the flights are operated by LEVEL, an airline headquartered in Madrid. A one-way ticket starts at $356 to $483 for economy and $1,049 to $1,887 for a premium seat. However you decide to get there, there are plenty of amazing attractions in Barcelona to add to your bucket list.