Influenza viruses continue to present global threats to human health. Antigenic drift and shift, genetic reassortment, and crossspecies transmission generate new strains with differences in epidemiology and clinical severity. We compared the temporal transcriptional responses of human dendritic cells (DC) to infection with two pandemic (A/Brevig Mission/1/1918, A/California/ 4/2009) and two seasonal (A/New Caledonia/20/1999, A/Texas/36/1991) H1N1 influenza viruses. Strain-specific response differences included stronger activation of NF-κB following infection with A/New Caledonia/20/1999 and a unique cluster of genes expressed following infection with A/Brevig Mission/1/1918. A common antiviral program showing strain-specific timing was identified in the early DC response and found to correspond with reported transcript changes in blood during symptomatic human influenza virus infection. Comparison of the global responses to the seasonal and pandemic strains showed that a dramatic divergence occurred after 4 h, with only the seasonal strains inducing widespread mRNA loss.