WOW: United Is Launching Nonstop Flights Between Los Angeles And Singapore

United Airlines has just announced that they’ll be introducing their new longest route. United will be launching daily nonstop flights between Los Angeles and Singapore as of October 27, 2017. At ~8,770 miles, this flight will be about 300 miles longer than their current longest flight, between San Francisco and Singapore. This will also be the longest nonstop flight operated by any US airline.

Singapore
The Singapore skyline

This announcement comes on the one year anniversary of United launching nonstop flights between San Francisco and Singapore, which happened on June 1, 2016.

The new flight will operate with the following schedule:

UA37 Los Angles to Singapore departing 8:55PM arriving 6:50AM (+2 days)
UA38 Singapore to Los Angeles departing 11:00AM arriving 10:15AM

The flight is blocked at 17hr55min westbound and 15hr15min eastbound, so it’s quite a haul. Those flight numbers are very interesting — UA37/38. Back when Singapore Airlines flew between Los Angeles and Singapore, the flight numbers were SQ37/38. Coincidence? I think not. 😉

The flight will be operated by a Boeing 787-9, featuring 48 business class seats, 88 Economy Plus seats, and 116 economy seats. Like all longhaul flights, the flight will feature United’s new Polaris service, though won’t feature the new seats, which as of now are only available on 777-300ERs (they’ll eventually be installed on United’s over longhaul planes, but they’re having issues with the seat manufacturer).


United’s 777-300ER business class seats, NOT available between Los Angeles and Singapore

Instead United’s 787s feature B/E Aerospace Diamond seats, in a 2-2-2 configuration. They’re fully flat, but not ideal for such a long flight, especially if traveling alone.


United’s 787 business class seats, available between Los Angeles and Singapore

Back in the day United didn’t offer nonstop flights from the US to Singapore, but rather only through Hong Kong and Tokyo. In the meantime they’ve terminated their flight between Tokyo and Singapore, though still operate flights between Hong Kong and Singapore. I guess they found it more advantageous to operate a nonstop flight from the US to Singapore, which is only feasible thanks to planes like the 787. The 787 is fuel efficient and not that high capacity, making it a great plane for such a “long and thin” route.


United 787 at LAX

I’m pleased to see United doing so well on an ultra longhaul flight. At least I assume they’re doing well, given that they’re adding a second route to Singapore.

It’s also interesting to see United launch this route out of Los Angeles. Lately it sure seems like United has been deemphasizing LAX, instead focusing on building their presence out of their other hubs. So this is one of the first international gains we’ve seen for United out of LAX in quite a while. In fairness, though, the 787 doesn’t have the range to fly nonstop from Chicago, Houston, or Newark, to Singapore.

Meanwhile American has been making LAX their transpacific gateway, as they’ve launched a bunch of service to Asia out of LAX. However, there haven’t even been rumors of American considering a Singapore flight.


Tom Bradley International Terminal LAX

As of now United is one of only two airlines to offer nonstop flights between the US and Singapore. In 2013, Singapore Airlines canceled the longest two flights in the world, from Newark and Los Angeles to Singapore. They were operating the flights with A340-500s, which they returned to Airbus as part of a larger deal.

They didn’t have another plane that could operate the routes, so their only option was to cancel them. Singapore Airlines said they would restart nonstop flights between the US and Singapore in 2018, once they take delivery of their first ultra-long range Airbus A350.

However, once United announced their nonstop flight between San Francisco and Singapore, Singapore Airlines quickly matched, and added the same route (which was just barely within range for their existing A350s). It sure seems like United is trying to get out ahead of Singapore Airlines here, as they know they’ll launch a Los Angeles to Singapore flight in the next couple of years.

What do you make of United’s new Los Angeles to Singapore route?

Comments

  1. They said the big issue preventing LAX growth is gates. I figure one flight per day will not have a big impact on the gate issue, but shows they are growing LAX. Looking forward to the torture chamber of 18 hours in economy plus on the inaugural.

  2. Wow, that’s impressive– nonstops from SFO and LAX.
    Must be significant premium demand.
    I wonder when the physical seats on the 789s will be switched to the Polaris seats.

  3. Lucky, you should change “WOW” to something else. I keep thinking that the article is about the airline WOW. 🙂

  4. I view this flight as borderline torture. I did SFO-SIN on SQ on Business Class and it was a great flight for the first 12 hours. The last 4 seemed to go by like 1 year per hour! lol

    This is WAY too long for United’s smooshed up economy class. They would need 2-4-2 to make this journey even close to bearable. I cannot believe people do it from SFO-SIN. I think of this as a flight you take if you have an emergency situation and this is your only other option.

    Otherwise…
    – Take a connecting flight and break up the journey
    – Fly JAL though Tokyo for a very comfy economy seat
    -Fly SQ through SFO (Still a long flight but the A350 in economy and SQ service would make ti more bearable)

  5. Call this flight the DVT express. Blood thinner offered with meals for middle seat economy passengers.

  6. They are really just trying to go ahead Singapore, because in terms of hard and soft product United is lagging way way behind.
    This Polaris seat should be spread throughout the 789 at least by now….

    When flying long haul flights like these I prefer the seat that are currently offered by AA/CX on their 77W or the one that JAL/Korean/Oman Air have. Second to these seats I would go the ones on the Qatar 77L and JJA350. They are 2-2-2 like United, but you have enough foot space. The JJ one really is flat and quite wide.

  7. The flight numbers are significant as that’s the same number as SQ’s direct flight back then

  8. Glad to see this add, and might help with award availability, it is non-existent on the SIN-SFO flight even within T-24

  9. Second to change title and get rid of WOW. I almost bypassed this article because it had “WOW” which on my feed usually means WOW airlines.

  10. UA press release says they will cancel the SIN-HKG flight which is UA’s last 5th Freedom Flight

    “With the launch of new nonstop service between SIN and LAX on Oct. 29, the airline will terminate service from Hong Kong (HKG) to SIN on Oct. 27, and from SIN to HKG on Oct. 28. United will continue to operate daily service between SIN and SFO.”

  11. One thing I am unclear on is why SQ requires the the ULR variant of the A350 when UA is doing the 789 who has a shorter range? Or is UA imposing weight restrictions on their flights?

  12. Back in my youth, flew to Singapore couple times in economy. Planes less crowded then. Now wouldn’t consider it, and business seats are better on Singapore Air than United. They really shouldn’t even start the service until the new seats are in.

  13. I rather have three stops with another airline then fly non-stop in United Economy! 14 hours is brutal enough when I flew ORD to PEK but add ANOTHER 4 hours to that? Good luck to whomever tries this…

  14. These flights will almost certainly be cargo free, and might even have seats blocked. Very much at the extreme end of the range. On the plus side, blocking out middles in Y will make those 18 hrs slightly less unbearable!

  15. SQ: “We are going to start flying SIN-SFO non-stop”
    UA: “Sounds like a great idea” *launches SIN-SFO as well*

    SQ: “We’ll add LAX-SIN in 2018”
    UA: “Sounds like a great idea” *launches SIN-LAX*

    I guess, UA will start flying SIN-NYC too…

  16. @potato, actually SQ had never said anything about SFO-SIN nonstop. They had said that in 2018 they want to bring back LAX and NYC. UA was the first mover on SFO, which makes sense given that its UA’s TPAC gateway.

    I applaud UA for continuing to beef up what is already by far the best transpacific network of any US carrier. UA’s strength is in its network, which at the end of the day is most important to business travelers. For me on the East Coast, I think I’d rather fly JFK-FRA-SIN on SQ or LH, or JFK-NRT-SIN on ANA than fly a UA aircraft in J for 18 hours, after already flying EWR-SFO or EWR-LAX. It just sucks that I cannot buy that SQ ticket on UA stock, so for status purposes I’d book Lufthansa or ANA.

  17. is it possible to add on an SQ segment for SE Asia countries onto this award(one itinerary) using UA miles?

  18. The product in biz class is very poor compared to the seats offered by Asian carriers. I think it’s a flop unless the biz price is at a value. Privacy is a premium and that configuration is a letdown.

  19. Wouldn’t fly even Polaris for this super long haul, but if it causes Singapore Airlines to add the route, I’d happily fly them.

  20. surprise surprise. United announces a cool new route and lots of people just complain because it’s United.

  21. No thank you!!! Too many hours on a United plane with United service. Well, even a 1 hour flight on United is too much for me. 🙂 If I fly to Asia I only fly on Asian airlines.

  22. I am really surprised. Because they got the SFO-SIN route and they are adding this, it just blow you away.I agree with others, WOW!

  23. Those flight numbers are *very* intentional. UA1/2 pairs with SQ1/2, SFO-SIN, and now UA37/38 to replace SQ37/38. They can’t even use the argument “they were the only ones empty”, because right now, UA37/38 is occupied by EDI-EWR v.v.

    Internal *A rivalry between UA and SQ?

  24. I flew UA on the SFO-SIN route in December, in Economy Plus, first bulkhead behind Business, it was decent with that extra space. One thing to note is those 789 seats don’t recline as far as other UA seats! Regular Economy was probably torture.

  25. Assuming it was way cheaper that a business class seat, but could I book 2 economy seats for myself, check my self in on both seats, and have some space on the plane?

  26. How do they intend to market the economy seats? Will they come with blood thinners and tranquilizers? If I ever got out of the points game and went back to paying dollars for coach, there’s no way in hell I’d ever book this.

  27. Could they use special 787s with 2-4-2 seating and increased legroom for this route?
    Otherwise it seems just cruel.

  28. I can’t see how this works out, anyone with a modicum of sense and the ability to pay for J or F would never take UAs crap product over SQ. I’d take a stop in NRT or ICN with SQ over UAs sorry excuse for a business class product. Given SQ matched in SFO and will have the LAX route soon not sure how UA thinks they will sell J tickets on these routes.

  29. This demonstrates just how bad United truly is. It was truly an epic failure for the airline to launch the 787 a couple of years ago with an inferior business-class product. That should have been the time to launch Polaris, which had to have been in the pipeline when the 787 rolled out. Who wants to spend upwards of $4-5,000 on United’s business-class airfares to Singapore to sit in a business-class product that is akin to premium economy, minus the food and beverage? There isn’t even a new Polaris lounge at LAX.

  30. Had a horrible experience with them flying first class from SFO- NRT, sent them an email, took them 19 days to respond. Even with miles, I will avoid United from now on. Horrible products and even shittier customer service

  31. HAHAHA such a joke. Why would anyone ever want to fly United on that long of a flight? I will GLADLY fly LAX-SFO, and then SFO-SINGAPORE on Singapore Airlines.

  32. I like how so many ask who would ever fly United on this route when clearly enough are flying the exisiting SFO-SIN flight (with strong yields) to warrant an additional service.

  33. Does LAX have a UA Arrivals lounge like SFO? I came in on XIY-SFO in C and was nice to have a hot shower and hot breakfast before my connecting flight to the east coast.

  34. C’mon Lucky you’ve been here enough times, that is nowhere near the Singapore skyline. It’s MBS taken from the float! CBD is right of that! I know S’pore is small but c’mon

  35. It was my worst flight ever on the SFO-SIN in economy plus. The seats do not recline that much and no one bothered to clean the toilet at all for the 17hr journey. Never again….

  36. I wish Delta would launch a SEA – SIN, it’s 700 miles shorter and I’d much rather be sitting in a Delta One Suite than UA’s poor excuse. Perhaps when they get their A350-900’s…

  37. “potato says:
    June 1, 2017 at 11:39 am
    I guess, UA will start flying SIN-NYC too
”

    Actually SQ operates to NYC via Transatlantic ocean not Pacific – they have service stop in Frankfurt,Germany. And while back Singapore – Houston had a service stop in Moscow,Russia and everyone was wondering – why so long flight,now i think the service stop is in Manchester,United Kingdom. (at least there are SQ flights MAN – IAH directly).
    So if UA would launch any of these 2 routes i think it wouldn’t be a “nonstop” one,possibly a service stop (either fuel up or add/drop some passengers in somewhere)

  38. sounds like torture…especially in the back of the bus. I’d take a connecting flight on a good airline 100 times out of 100 over this one.

  39. @Ch LOL you wanted a US airline to clean the lav mid-flight….hahahahahahhaha that’s not in their union contract so regardless of class of service: Its. Not. Going. To. Happen. The lav will [maybe] get cleaned on the ground but there’s a 0.00% chance a UA FA is going to clean a lav regardless of the length of flight.

  40. Those business class seats look terrible. With those seats and United’s abysmal service, there’s not a chance I would take this flight.

  41. I sat in Economy on the SFO-SIN flight on United on June 28. I have to say that the flight was bearable and seemed shorter than 16 hours 25 minutes. The service was good and the food, too. I look forward to taking the LAX-SIN in December.

  42. Yeah- what Thomas said- I just took economy on the SFO-SIN flight yesterday, and it was fine. Certainly the 15 hr 50 min flight time was much preferable to the ~19 hours going via Tokyo/Hong Kong, and the timing is good as well- just feels like a long night.

    The flight attendants were actually pleasant in the back of the bus- maybe UA longhaul economy is a sweetspot between the 30 year dragons working longhaul F/C and the disgruntled attendants battling US domestic passengers. Food was inedible as usual, but I always bring my own when flying United…

    I just jumped on Christmas flights on the SIN-LAX flight returning- still availability for 4 people on Dec 22, which is great- not even one redemption available on SQ economy, even though they have 3x the capacity on this route…

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