United Airlines Applies to U.S. DOT for Authority to Operate 787 Service to Chengdu, China Proposed route from San Francisco hub would be first service by a U.S. carrier to mainland China beyond Beijing, Shanghai
CHICAGO, Aug. 29, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- United Airlines today applied to the U.S. Department of Transportation for authority to begin nonstop service linking the airline's San Francisco hub with Chengdu, China, the fourth-largest Chinese city, effective June 9, 2014.
United intends to use the world's most advanced passenger airplane, the Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner, to operate three-times-weekly service to Chengdu. If approved, Chengdu will be the ninth destination United serves in the Asia/Pacific region nonstop from San Francisco, from which United offers more nonstop trans-Pacific flights from the United States than any other carrier – nearly twice as many as any airline from any West Coast city.
The proposed flights, subject to government approval, will depart San Francisco International Airport at 1:35 p.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays and arrive at Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport at 6:50 p.m. the following day (all times local). Service from Chengdu will depart at 10 a.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays and arrive at San Francisco International Airport at 8:50 a.m. the same day. Flying times will be approximately 14 hours, 15 minutes westbound and 13 hours, 50 minutes eastbound. This new nonstop flight will shave nearly four hours off the typical travel time between the two cities.
Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan province in southwest China, is the country's fourth largest city, with a population of approximately 14 million in the urban area. In recent years, Chengdu has been one of the country's fastest-developing cities economically, and more than 200 Fortune 500 companies have a presence in the city. Sichuan is famous as the natural habitat of the giant panda and home to one of China's most popular cuisines.
United's San Francisco Hub
From San Francisco, United provides access to more than 300 destinations worldwide, with nonstop service to 80 destinations on five continents – more than any other carrier. The airline operates more nonstop China-U.S. flights, and to more cities in China, than any other airline.
United's Service to China
United started nonstop service to mainland China in 1986 and today serves Beijing with nonstop flights from Chicago, New York/Newark, San Francisco and Washington/Dulles; Shanghai with nonstop flights from Chicago, Los Angeles, New York/Newark and San Francisco; and Hong Kong with nonstop flights from Chicago, New York/Newark, San Francisco, Guam, Singapore and Ho Chi Minh City.
United is a founding member of Star Alliance, the world's largest and most comprehensive airline alliance, whose other members include Air China. United and Air China have a bilateral partnership that includes codesharing on selected routes and provides customers of both carriers additional travel benefits such as airport lounge access and frequent flyer program reciprocity. Air China offers flights to 59 cities from Chengdu, many of which will offer same-day connections to United's new Chengdu service.
Boeing 787 Dreamliner
The 787 Dreamliner is revolutionizing the flying experience for United customers and crews while delivering greater operating efficiency and comfort and lower emissions than other aircraft. Customers experience greater comfort with improved lighting, bigger windows, larger overhead bins, lower cabin altitude and enhanced ventilation systems, among other passenger-friendly features. The aircraft's use of lightweight composites, together with its modern engines and improved aerodynamic design, allow it to fly farther, faster and more efficiently than similar-sized conventional aircraft.
United was the 787 North American launch customer and now has seven Dreamliners in its fleet. The airline has an additional 58 Dreamliners on order and expects to take delivery of one more from Boeing by the end of 2013.
Onboard Products and Services
United's Boeing 787 aircraft are configured with 219 seats – 36 in United BusinessFirst and 183 in United Economy, including 70 United Economy Plus seats with added legroom.
United BusinessFirst offers a superior business-class service. The BusinessFirst flat-bed seat reclines 180 degrees and features an on-demand entertainment system with a touch-screen monitor. BusinessFirst amenities include laptop power, USB ports and multi-course meals with complimentary premium wines and spirits.
Economy Plus seats offer up to five inches of extra legroom, and both Economy Plus and United Economy seats feature adjustable headrests and personal seat-back monitors delivering a multi-channel inflight entertainment system on demand.
United's China flights feature additional amenities and services designed for Chinese customers, including: Mandarin-speaking flight attendants; personalized in-flight entertainment options, including Chinese-language services; and a wide selection of in-flight meals and beverages, including Chinese-style cuisine.
United Airlines and United Express operate an average of 5,446 flights a day to more than 370 airports across six continents. In 2012, United and United Express carried more passenger traffic than any other airline in the world and operated nearly two million flights carrying 140 million customers. United is investing in upgrading its onboard products and now offers more flat-bed seats in its premium cabins and more extra-legroom economy-class seating than any airline in North America. In 2013, United became the first U.S.-based international carrier to offer satellite-based Wi-Fi on long-haul overseas routes. The airline also features DIRECTV® on 200 aircraft, offering customers more live television access than any other airline in the world. United operates nearly 700 mainline aircraft and has made large-scale investments in its fleet. In 2013, United will continue to modernize its fleet by taking delivery of more than two dozen new Boeing aircraft. The company expanded its industry-leading global route network in 2012, launching nine new international and 18 new domestic routes. Business Traveler magazine awarded United Best Airline for North American Travel for 2012, and readers of Global Traveler magazine have voted United's MileagePlus program the best frequent flyer program for nine consecutive years. According to the 4th annual Switchfly Reward Seat Availability Survey published by IdeaWorksCompany in May 2013, United has the most saver-style award-seat availability among the largest U.S. global airlines. United is a founding member of Star Alliance, which provides service to 194 countries via 27 member airlines. More than 85,000 United employees reside in every U.S. state and in countries around the world. For more information, visit united.com or follow United on Twitter and Facebook. The common stock of United's parent, United Continental Holdings, Inc., is traded on the NYSE under the symbol UAL.
SOURCE United Airlines