United Airlines to launch Melbourne-San Francisco flights

United Airlines to launch Melbourne-San Francisco flights

United Airlines will begin direct flights between Melbourne and San Francisco in October 2019, mirroring the Star Alliance's popular Sydney-San Francisco service.

The move will pit United's Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner against that of Qantas on the same route, with the United Dreamliners expected to soon be upgraded with the airline's Polaris business class seat – taking the inflight experience on the 14 hour journey from this...

... to this.

Melbourne-San Francisco flights will begin October 29, 2019 and run three days each week.

Flight UA61 will depart Melbourne at 11.40am every Monday, Thursday and Saturday, to reach San Francisco at 6.50am that same day.

On the return leg – after business class passengers have enjoyed a spell in the Polaris San Francisco lounge (below) – flight UA60 will be wheels-up at 10.50pm on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, arriving into Melbourne two days later at 9.40am.

In related news, United will also extend its current seasonal 777-200ER service between Auckland and San Francisco to operate all year round as of March 30, 2019.

David Flynn
David Flynn is the editor of Australian Business Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.
 

24 comments

  • L Mck

    Lmc

    13 Dec, 2018 06:24 am

    Bring on the compilation, if you can call it that! UA v QF...... easy choice. At least the fares will be go dow
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  • L Mck

    Lmc

    13 Dec, 2018 06:25 am

    Competition ........
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  • Yvan J Drake

    MRYJDrake

    13 Dec, 2018 08:54 am

    Yeah I definitely wouldn't be calling it that.
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  • kimshep

    kimshep

    13 Dec, 2018 07:42 am

    I'm a little bit surprised that UA didn't launch the MEL-SFO new service on the 3 days that QF don't operate the route (MON, TUE, FRI), which would have provided MEL a daily service on this route. As it stands, UA will have the route to themselves on MON, but will go up directly against QF on THU and SAT.

    I can understand the desire to compete with QF on SAT where both companies try to secure both corporate and leisure travel out of MEL but THU seems a bit contentious to me. One would have to think that demand on a FRI - with no competition) would have been preferable? Perhaps UA has factored in feed from BNE on these days?

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  • Steven Beale

    melbtraveler

    13 Dec, 2018 07:48 am

    I'll stick with Qantas or Air New Zealand till the actual Polaris seats arrive.
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  • Stefan Kane

    DrSK

    13 Dec, 2018 10:39 am

    When it will become quite an attractive proposition - unless further cuts to the in-flight Polaris soft product eventuate. UA connections from SFO are excellent, as is the Polaris lounge there.
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  • Edward Davies

    emd

    13 Dec, 2018 08:26 am

    kimshep,its no doubt due to aircraft rotation/availability
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  • kimshep

    kimshep

    13 Dec, 2018 09:50 am

    Yep, I guess so, emd - given Oscar Munoz's announcement of 7 new international routes last night, ex SFO. However, it will be interesting to see if UA change this proposed schedule, given that they have almost 12 months before 'launch'. There has been a bit of discussion already about whether the B787-9 schedules on EWR-LAX/SFO and vv will stay, post norther summer 2019, so it may well be that some 'adjustments' may be seen.
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  • mo

    mo

    13 Dec, 2018 08:48 am

    Any shots of the back of the plane? Hows their cattle class?
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  • Siddharth Raja

    sid

    13 Dec, 2018 09:32 am

    We generally don't cover economy.
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  • Eli

    Eli

    13 Dec, 2018 09:41 am

    3x3x3 like all other 787 carriers, with the exception of JL.
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    mbc1960

  • mbc1960

    mbc1960

    13 Dec, 2018 11:24 am

    There "Cattle Class" is the same as QF and the majority of other carriers 787's 32inch pitch and 17.3inch seat width :)
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  • TZB88

    TZB88

    14 Dec, 2018 04:18 pm

    UAs 787-9s are pretty good down the back. Minimum 35" on EconomyPlus seats, minimum 32" normal Economy.
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  • CQ

    MEL Traveller

    13 Dec, 2018 08:53 am

    I wonder if MEL-IAH is next. That would capture the oil company market from Perth currently using Air NZ’s AKL-IAH service, and pick up those from Melbourne who currently have to transit through LAX, SFO, AKL or SYD.
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  • sgb

    sgb

    13 Dec, 2018 09:47 am

    At this stage, what lounge will Business travelers use in Melbourne?
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  • nix584

    nix584

    13 Dec, 2018 10:36 am

    Probably the same that the MEL-LAX flight uses (NZ or SQ).
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  • Chris Chamberlin

    ChrisCh

    13 Dec, 2018 10:37 am

    I've flown United from Melbourne to LA, and the staff were directing people to the Singapore Airlines lounge in Melbourne.
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  • Martin  Slobodnik

    msport2012

    13 Dec, 2018 10:57 am

    surprise that they diddent go daily.

    Also the Auckland service is a B777-300er with the new seats
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  • Martin  Slobodnik

    msport2012

    13 Dec, 2018 11:06 am

    Furthermore, interesting that UA haven’t announced a LAX/SFO - BNE route?
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  • Dan

    DanV

    13 Dec, 2018 12:50 pm

    BNE-LAX is already congested with 10x weekly from QF and 6x weekly from VA/DL, and would push yields further down if UA were to enter that route.

    Also to add UA would have no connections on the BNE end unless if UA is able to sort out an interline deal with QF (like they do at SYD/MEL).

    I would guess that UA entering the BNE-LAX route would be very well down the list of 'priorities'.
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  • Mike K

    Mjkcan

    13 Dec, 2018 11:51 am

    I wonder if it’ll be fitted with their “premium plus” product? I’d probably fly that if the price was right!
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  • Dan Ho

    djtech

    13 Dec, 2018 12:44 pm

    As far as i know, I don't think they currently have any plans to retrofit the existing dreamliners with the new Polaris seat. Only the new 787-10s will have the new seat and its really confusing because the old 2-2-2 config right now is also called polaris.
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  • David Flynn

    David

    13 Dec, 2018 01:00 pm

    United has always planned to upgrade the Boeing 787-8s and 787-9s with the new Polaris seat, it's just that these are sitting towards the back of the queue because they are relatively new compared to many older aircraft in its fleet. But yes, the fact that 'Polaris' is not just the new business class seat but the business class brand is very confusing, especially if you enter that into Google to see what seat you can expect, and then you step onto the aircraft and get something quite different!
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  • TZB88

    TZB88

    14 Dec, 2018 04:23 pm

    Agreed. Can be confusing. FFs and corporates know what they're getting though. New seat is on a lot of the Asia and Atlantic routes, as well as AKL. The soft product is on all longhaul routes/aircraft. More of the Polaris Lounges opening too which are great.
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Guest

23 Jul, 2019 11:54 pm

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