United’s New 777-300ER Is Now Bookable — Here’s What You Need To Know

Filed Under: United

Yesterday United officially announced their first 777-300ER routes. This is significant since the 777-300ER will be the first plane featuring United’s new Polaris seat, which looks like a huge improvement over United’s current business class product(s).

United Polaris seat (PRNewsFoto/United Airlines)
United Polaris seat (PRNewsFoto/United Airlines)

Specifically, United announced that the 777-300ER will fly between Newark and San Francisco between February 16 and May 4, 2017, and will then begin flying between San Francisco and Hong Kong starting March 25, 2017. There’s a good chance that United will use the 777-300ER for some short domestic hops prior to February 16, though.

We didn’t know exactly which flights would get the plane between Newark and San Francisco, though, or what fares and upgrade space would look like.

United 777-300ER (PRNewsFoto/United Airlines)

Well, United has now loaded the 777-300ER into the system, and here’s what we know:

United’s 777-300ER flights Newark to San Francisco

Between February 16 and May 4, 2017, United’s 777-300ER will operate the following flights:

UA1920/497 Newark to San Francisco departing 7:50AM arriving 10:45AM
UA443/970 San Francisco to Newark departing 1:30PM arriving 9:46PM

The flights will operate 6x weekly — every day except Wednesdays. I list both flight numbers since there seems to be a flight number switch as of March 2, 2017.

While the inaugural flight isn’t blocked in any way, fares between Newark and San Francisco just aren’t great at the moment. Economy fares are decent, but then again sitting in 10-abreast economy on a 777 isn’t exactly aspirational. 😉

Here’s an example of the one-way business class fares for this particular flight from Newark to San Francisco:


So on Tuesdays you can snag a $649 one-way business class fare, while on some Saturdays you can snag a $669 one-way fare. Other than that, however, the one-way fares seem to be more than double that.

United’s 777-300ER flights San Francisco to Hong Kong

United’s 777-300ER flights from San Francisco to Hong Kong start as of March 25, 2017, and will operate with the following schedule:

UA869 San Francisco to Hong Kong departing 1:00PM arriving 6:50PM (+1 day)
UA862 Hong Kong to San Francisco departing 11:15AM arriving 8:45AM

I’m sure it will come as no surprise, but unfortunately fares between San Francisco and Hong Kong in business class aren’t cheap, and at the moment I’m not seeing any award or upgrade space that’s confirmable (over time I suspect that will change somewhat, though at the same time San Francisco to Hong Kong is one of the more premium-heavy routes in United’s network).

Even in looking at fares out of other cities (like Colombo, Bangkok, etc.) that might incorporate this segment from Hong Kong to San Francisco, I’m still not seeing anything.


Bottom line

I’m sure a lot of us would like to experience the “real” Polaris sometime soon. There are some opportunities to book reasonably priced business class tickets between Newark and San Francisco, which gives you the Polaris seat but not the Polaris service.

While San Francisco to Hong Kong is a great route on which to try Polaris in terms of the experience, I haven’t yet figured out a way to get a decent deal on a Polaris seat on the flight.

Anyone have plans to fly the 777-300ER in the first few months it’s in operation?

  1. Amazing that people are getting excited about United getting a plane that’s been around a decade.

  2. @Dan .. crikey .. really? Lucky was never banned from flying on United planes. Let’s put this one to rest finally?

  3. @Dan He was banned from MileagePlus but, not UA and has flown them twice since August.
    You should start constantly looking out for space on the SFO-HKG route everywhere after March 25 (ANA, Lifemiles, Aeroplan, etc.) and you will eventually find that seat that you’re looking for.

  4. I live in Silicon Valley, working for a company headquartered 25 miles west of EWR, so yes, I’ll probably be on this. I’ll try to avoid it (10 across? Ugh!), but those are convenient times for me. I don’t see corporate travel policies covering Polaris. Will CPUs be available for million milers, I wonder?

  5. @vand @Hugh – Perhaps you should read the Rolling Stone article:

    “He was banned from flying [United], he recalls the letter saying, unless he paid the company $4,755 — the amount it claimed as losses through Schlappig’s techniques.”

    If he was just banned from MileagePlus then why no reviews of UA for years? I’m guessing he has now paid UA hence UA news/reviews suddenly re-appearing..

  6. I checked out the seats at a UA event and both Polaris hard and soft products are a huge improvement for them…dare I say I might not miss Global First when they finally axe it?? The odd numbered window seats will definitely be the ones to pick in Polaris (for privacy). As soon as award space opens to HKG I’ll be booking a seat!

  7. Dan, Rolling Stone is not exactly the NYT or Washington Post. As for the reappearance of United posts, it probably has to do with the the AAdvantage program being as bad as United’s now.

  8. I would have thought that with ORD being UA’s primary hub, their HKG-ORD flight #896 on a 772 I am taking in mid-January and is my usual return path to the US from SE Asia would have been a prime candidate for Polaris test runs…

    Oh, well, it’ll get there soon enough…

  9. @chancer – True, but do you have a better source that he was just banned from MileagePlus?

    Lucky usually censors, deletes and bans people who comment about his own UA ban.. Perhaps UA forgave the debt in exchange for ‘advertising’.

  10. Dan, you’re missing the point. The only people being annoyed by incessant chatter about a United ban are the readers here.

  11. Certainly a huge improvement and I look forward to your review whenever that happens. It’s a shame it will take years to upgrade the fleet to Polaris standards and in the meantime, new technologies may become available. With the huge profits the big three are earning currently, it would be nice if they could speed up the process of these retrofits and new aircraft.

  12. United is such trash. And Polaris is a joke. Anyone that goes out of their way to fly this trash should have their head examined.

  13. Polaris appears to be a copy of the new international business class that ANA flies. I just did this from NRT-LAX on an ANA 777-ER and found it claustrophobic and not particularly comfortable.

  14. I fly the NYC/EWR to SF and LA transcon at least 1x/month. In fact in the last 3 months i was on this route every two weeks. I will test out Polaris but only at the sub $700 fare, not worth it IMHO to shell out 2x for a UA Polaris flight. I’m a DL Diamond, have been Plat in the past and will be Plat going into 2017 but only because i started flying UA and Jetblue as alternates b/c of price and availability. May be shifting most of my business to Jetblue, impressed with the company and wanted to try them out after reading Lucky’s reviews. I have noticed that this route is becoming increasingly competitive, UA, DL and Jetblue all offering one way lay flat/biz class between $600-$800 consistently.

  15. @Lucky Not trying to be mean or anything because I love your blog and I just want to help you out because I know you are a busy traveler.

  16. Lucky, you should book a Tuesday flight then catch JetBlue Mint on the way back, that would be the ULTIMATE test.

  17. So this means less premium seats on SFO-HKG route on UA compared to 747’s. The GPU’s are getting even more worthless ….. Or am I missing something?
    I’m the last one from a team of 50 that flies UA to HKG and PVG, 7 years ago we all used to fly UA. Even with Polaris nobody from my team is going back to UA, and I’m switching to SQ, CX, etc.. I don’t care about 1K status if UA doesn’t appreciate my loyalty.
    Goodbye UA, I waited too long, now it’s too late to win me back …

  18. @Bruce B I don’t think ANA has the same seats as United. Also it’s custom designed just for United (for now).

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