Well the big news today is that United Airlines is launching a non-stop Singapore to San Francisco Route, which is the only non-stop route between Singapore and the US (for the time being).
Singapore Airlines cancelled its Non-Stop flights to 2013 but was holding the two longest flights in the world to Newark and LA. At the time there wasn’t an aircraft that was capable of replacing their A340s. This meant that all flights to the US would involve a stop at either Frankfurt, Hong Kong, Moscow, Seoul or Tokyo.
Singapore Airlines then announced that they would be restarting the non-stop flights using an upgraded Airbus A350 – an ultra long-range version.
United has now beaten them to operating the only non-stop flights to the US between Singapore and San Francisco.
I haven’t flown with United for probably 6 years which funnily enough was to San Francisco (but from London). I was flying in business class but really didn’t enjoy my experience as the aircraft was ancient and the service was poor.
This new service is being launched with the 787-9 which is specially designed for these long and high yield routes.
The 787 is fitted with 252 seats with 48 in BusinessFirst (it’s just business class in reality), 88 in Economy Plus (Premium Economy), and the rest in Economy.
This is the business class seat which is in a 2-2-2 configuration:
Flight Schedule for Singapore to San Francisco
United Airlines will operate UA2 from Singapore Changi Airport at 0845 arriving into SFO at 0915 the same day. The flight time is 15 hrs 30 minutes.
The return flight is UA1 which departs SFO at 2325 arriving into Singapore at 0645 two days later, with a longer flight time of 16 hrs 20 minutes.
The flight times are decent with both arriving in the morning meaning that you can check in to your hotel at either destination.
United Airlines will terminate the flights they currently operate between Singapore and Tokyo on the 2nd of June – you can still book their codeshares with ANA which is another Star Alliance partner.
Implications for Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer Members
United Airlines is a Star Alliance partner so these flights will earn you KrisFlyer miles. It’ll be a good option for those flying to regional destinations in the US as you’ll have one less stop to do potentially.
In terms of Miles and Elite Miles accrual its a longer distance flying with Singapore Airlines via Hong Kong so you’d be better off with that route assuming SFO is your final destination.
For those flying in Economy United Airlines offers 100% miles accrual on Economy Class tickets so if you’re booking the cheap discounted tickets – particularly K and V class on Singapore Airlines it might be worth looking at United instead if they are competitive.
When I checked the prices for later in the year United was around $S400 cheaper in business and a few dollars less in Economy (but Super Economy which is K Class – so 10% miles).
Whether you’d want to fly this distance for 16+ hours in Economy and United might ask you how much you want to earn the miles!
In terms of spending miles Singapore Airlines and United are on two different charts. With the 15% online booking discount applied the prices for Singapore Airlines are excellent:
Economy – 31,875
Business Class – 72,250
First/Suites – 93,500
The Star Alliance chart is less lucrative with business class being 35% more expensive:
Economy Class – 55,000
Business Class – 97,500
So really the only reason why you’d book United Airlines for an award is going to be availability and/or convenience.
What do you think of this? Are you going to try out this route?