United Debuts 777-300ER On San Francisco to Hong Kong Route: Farewell, Dismal 747s

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United has long offered pretty crap products to Hong Kong. For a long time, all they could offer from San Fransisco was their 747, which featured business class in a 2-4-2 configuration on the lower deck, as well as economy class without PTVs.

a large airplane taking off
United Boeing 747-400 Hong Kong Airport (courtesy JetPhotos)

Well, I’m quite happy to say that that’s about to change.

As of March 25th, 2017, United Airlines plans to debut their Asian 777-300ER network from San Francisco to Hong Kong. This will replace United’s daily 747 to Hong Kong.

United’s NewsRoom quotes (for more information about United’s new products, check out the link, which has pretty interesting information):

United Airlines will add the Boeing 777-300ER to its 2017 flight schedules this weekend, with the airline’s newest aircraft type featuring the all-new United Polaris business class seats starting regularly scheduled service in February 2017. The aircraft’s entry into service will also mark the debut of United’s new wide-body cabin design.

United 777-300ER taking off in air.

With the flight schedule update this weekend, United will offer one round trip six days each week between Newark Liberty International Airport and San Francisco International Airport between Feb. 16 and May 4. The airline expects to begin 777-300ER intercontinental service between San Francisco and Hong Kong on March 25, with the aircraft replacing a Boeing 747-400 currently being used on the route. Flight and aircraft schedules are subject to change.

United expects to place into service all 14 aircraft in its 777-300ER order in 2017.

Now, I’ve long known about United’s Polaris product, so I’ve gone from actively avoiding United to thinking that they may start being competitive on the Hong Kong to San Francisco route. The flight will also feature WiFi, which puts them at an edge over Cathay Pacific (well, since they’re introducing 3-4-3 economy, we’ll wait till Cathay Pacific does the same on the route). I’m happy about the change either way, as I’d definitely take a narrower seat with loaded entertainment and power ports over a slightly wider seat with no entertainment and no power for such a long flight.

an airplane with rows of seats
United Boeing 777-300ER Polaris Business Class (courtesy One Mile at A Time)

With United’s gorgeous new lounge at Hong Kong, this seems like a substantial improvement. I’m excited to see what they’re going to offer.

IMG_0011United Club/Polaris Lounge Hong Kong

Bottom Line

This will definitely raise interesting competition between United and the two other key players in the market, Singapore and Cathay Pacific. Ultimately it’ll be hard for either United or Cathay to compete with Singapore, especially in economy, though this is a good step forward. I’m interested to see how the pricing will change as United ups their game.

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