United Airlines to introduce Melbourne - San Francisco route

United Airlines has announced they will start flying from Melbourne to San Francisco in 2019.

The service will operate on a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner and will begin from October, 29, 2019, running three days a week.

It will compete with the Qantas service to San Francisco which began in September last year, also on a Dreamliner.

However, Qantas runs an overnight service which arrives in the evening. United's service will fly during the day, like most regular flights to Los Angeles.

Departing Melbourne at 11.40am, flight UA61 will fly every Monday, Thursday and Saturday.

The flight will arrive in San Francisco at 6.50 am the same day.

Business class passengers will be able to enjoy United's Polaris seats and experience the Polaris San Francisco lounge coming back.

Flights will depart at 10.50pm on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, and arrive in Melbourne two days later at 9.40am.

The move is part of an international network expansion for United Airlines from its hub at San Francisco International Airport.


The airline will offer the most service between the west coast of the US and Australia by any US carrier.

It also offers a non-stop service to Sydney from Houston, Los Angeles and San Francisco and provides a non-stop service between Los Angeles and Melbourne.

Meanwhile, Qantas is evaluating direct flights from Australia to Chicago as the next step in its plan to add more ultra-long-haul destinations using an expanding fleet of Boeing 787 jets.

The airline is turning its attention to the US with the next batch of four 787s due for delivery this year.

The 787s will replace 747 jumbos on Qantas's existing Brisbane-Los Angeles-New York route. But also in the carrier's thinking is a direct Brisbane-Chicago service or flights from the Queensland city to Seattle or Dallas, CEO Alan Joyce revealed recently.

Analysis of wind and weather data has shown that all three destinations would be reachable with a standard passenger load, though flights wouldn't begin until Qantas wins antitrust immunity for a joint venture with American Airlines.

Oneworld alliance partners American and Qantas in February asked US regulators for a second time for permission to coordinate fares and schedules and share costs and revenue on trans-Pacific flights.

"We're hopeful we could get through that in six months," the CEO said, adding that the chosen service "could start as soon as the peak season, which is at the end of the year."

Meanwhile, Qantas' first Dreamliner flight to Hong Kong took off on Wednesday morning from Melbourne, marking the airline's first 787 to fly an Asian route. 


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