United Will Fly 777-300ER Between Newark & Hong Kong

Filed Under: United

United initially introduced their Polaris experience as of December 1, 2016, which was exactly two years ago today. The airline was slow with rolling out their new lounges and seats at the beginning, though they’ve really picked up the pace. United now has four Polaris Lounges open, and they’ve increased the speed at which they’re reconfiguring their international aircraft.

United’s Polaris Lounge Houston

The only United plane guaranteed to have the new Polaris seats is the 777-300ER (which I’ve reviewed between San Francisco and Hong Kong), and shortly the 787-10, since these planes are being newly delivered with the seats installed. Here’s their Polaris seat progress across their fleet:

  • All 18 Boeing 777-300s feature new Polaris seats (for whatever reason the Polaris tracker doesn’t show the last one as having been delivered, but it has been)
  • 40% of Boeing 767-300s feature new Polaris seats (this should be complete by 2020)
  • 12% of Boeing 777-200s feature new Polaris seats (this should be complete by 2020)

While this is great progress, unfortunately none of United’s 767-400s have been reconfigured, and also none of their 787-8s and 787-9s have been reconfigured, which is a shame, since those planes are used to operate United’s longest routes, where the improved product would be most valuable.

United’s 777-300ER Polaris seat

So far United has based their 777-300ERs out of San Francisco and Newark. While they still haven’t reconfigured any 787s, there is some good news — United’s third longest route will soon be operated by a 777-300ER, featuring the new Polaris seats.

United will fly the 777-300ER between Newark and Hong Kong as of March 30, 2019. The flight operates with the following schedule:

UA179 Newark to Hong Kong departing 3:15PM arriving 7:10PM (+1 day)
UA180 Hong Kong to Newark departing 10:25AM arriving 2:05PM

United currently flies a 777-200ER on the route, featuring their old 2-2-2 business class, so this is a significant improvement in business class. Furthermore, we’re seeing an increase in business class capacity from 50 seats to 60 seats.

United’s old 777-200ER business class seat

If you’re looking to redeem miles on this flight, the good news is that there’s a fair amount of business class award availability. You could book a seat on this flight for 75,000 miles with either Air Canada Aeroplan, Avianca LifeMiles, or United MileagePlus.

While this aircraft change will no doubt be popular with those traveling in business class between Newark and Hong Kong, in economy it’s a different story, since United’s 777-300ERs are in a 3-4-3 configuration, making it one of the least comfortable United rides in economy.

Looking at the schedule next spring, United will fly the 777-300ER from Newark to Hong Kong, Mumbai, Tel Aviv, and Tokyo Narita, so the 777-300ER is now pretty evenly split between Newark and San Francisco.

In order to make this route upgrade possible, United will be downgrading their flight between San Francisco and Beijing from a 777-300ER to a 777-200ER as of March 30. Fortunately it looks like that route is confirmed to at least have the new 777-200ER Polaris layout.

Does anyone plan on flying United’s 777-300ER between Newark and Hong Kong?

  1. I think it’s worth pointing out that this equipment will also feature the new premium plus. While generally Y is still gonna stink, that should be a nice option for those not up front.

  2. Lucky,

    I’ve ready on Flyertalk that SFO-PEK is one of the few (if not the only) routes that will have a designated Polaris retrofitted sUA 777-200 for the route.

  3. Ooohhh, yay!

    15+ hours (s)trapped in a 17” wide, 31” pitch 10-abreast, hard as cement, Slimline seat!

    Bring on the Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT).

    **NO, THANKS!**

  4. The 18th 77W has been delivered to United, but it has not been inducted into the fleet thus the Polaris Tracker does not include it as it’s not operating revenue flights. It’s currently undergoing induction in San Francisco.

  5. I’m just here to see when those delta losers would show up and claim HKG, the only airport in Asia where Amex has a centurion lounge, is a yield hell hole not worth flying to hahahahaha

  6. Glad to see Polaris seats on this route. It was overdue.
    At the same time, bad news for economy passengers.

  7. Good to see UA upgrade the plane for this route, where it has to compete with 4x daily NYC-HKG services on CX (1 A350 from EWR and 3 x 77W from JFK). Cathay’s product is solid, if a bit dated on the look and feel of the cabin interiors. Nice to see UA up the ante here as this is a very long flight to be on the old CO configured 777-200ER.

  8. I’m curious if this is a denfence or offense play. UA still has the most seats to HKG among US3. AA has LAX/DFW-HKG while UA flies from SFO ORD and EWR. The EWR-HKG is fairly easy for upgrades and lately UA introduced bonus for HKG bound travel. Trying to recapture share? (Still wish the mighty CX add even more freqs to NYC)

  9. I’ll do this flight again in Polaris in April. I am no stranger to UA179/180. It’s a great flight.

  10. Not only are the people exposed to cramped conditions in the back – everyone is exposed to United’s crews who have the charm of a pair of Crocs (which outside West Virginia is not a compliment).

  11. I am flying to Hong Kong on UA179 and obviously UA180 on the 29th of October, returning on the 12th November. Our seats are 1K&L, the old 777-200E 2+2+2 version. As our seats will disappear in the new 1+2+1 version my wife called United reservations yesterday. They told her that the information was false and that United was not changing their plane or times. Not that I have any confidence in United reservation staff, but has anything changed since you wrote this article?

  12. I am flying the 777-300ER in Polaris Business from EWR to HKG on 4.3.19. I had already flown this same airplane type and cabin from SFO to FRA in May of 2018 and I have to say it is a very very nice and comfortable ride.

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