United Adds Second Daily SFO To HKG Flight

Filed Under: United
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This is quite a significant development on United’s part. San Francisco to Hong Kong is a huge market, and nonstop flights are operated by Cathay Pacific, Hong Kong Airlines, Singapore Airlines, and United Airlines.

Hong Kong Airlines flies to SFO (for now)

United adding second daily San Francisco to Hong Kong flight

Historically United has operated one daily flight between San Francisco and Hong Kong, but as of October 26, 2019, United is adding a second daily flight between San Francisco and Hong Kong.

Currently United’s daily flight between San Francisco and Hong Kong operates with the following schedule:

UA869 San Francisco to Hong Kong departing 1:15PM arriving 8:20PM (+1 day)
UA862 Hong Kong to San Francisco departing 12:20PM arriving 8:40AM

United’s new daily flight between San Francisco and Hong Kong will operate with the following schedule:

UA877 San Francisco to Hong Kong departing 10:50PM arriving 5:55AM (+2 days)
UA878 Hong Kong to San Francisco departing 10:30PM arriving 6:50PM

It’s cool to see United alternating the schedule like that, and offering both a daytime and nighttime option in both directions.

I imagine another motivating factor here is how bad the aircraft utilization previously was for the route. The 777-300ER used for this route currently sits overnight in Hong Kong, which is not only a long time to “waste” that frame, but parking in Hong Kong is outrageously expensive.

United 777-300ER, which is currently flown daily from SFO to HKG

The two new flights will have less combined time on the ground in Hong Kong than United previously had with their one daily flight. Combined the two flights will have just about 10 hours on the ground in Hong Kong.

United is swapping planes on SFO to HKG

As of October 26, United will operate both daily flights between San Francisco and Hong Kong using 777-200ERs. Currently United’s one daily flight is operated by a 777-300ER.

United 777-200ER, which will be used for both daily SFO to HKG flights

This means that United isn’t quite doubling capacity in the market.

As far as premium capacity goes, United’s reconfigured 777s feature 50 business class seats and 24 premium economy seats.

United Polaris cabin

Award availability is wide open

This new flight is now bookable, and the great news is that United has wide open business class award availability on this new frequency.

While United now has dynamic award pricing, in general business class seats are bookable for 75,000 MileagePlus miles one-way, which is a great deal. United is transfer partners with Chase Ultimate Rewards.

Alternatively you can redeem plenty of partner airline mileage currencies for this, including:

  • 75,000 Air Canada Aeroplan miles (transfer partners with Amex and Capital One)
  • 75,000 Avianca LifeMiles (transfer partners with Amex, Capital One, and Citi)

Bottom line

It’s great to see United add a second daily flight between San Francisco and Hong Kong, and in particular to offer such a varied schedule in both directions. This will allow them to better compete with Cathay Pacific, and also greatly improves United’s aircraft utilization in Hong Kong.

I do find it interesting that this announcement comes now, rather than as part of United’s massive SFO international expansion announcement that was made late last year.

Which of the two flight schedules do you prefer between SFO & HKG?

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Comments
  1. United added second PVG flight couple years ago and only last for less than a year. Good to add second flight to Hong Kong, but with 3 other airlines has direct flight with better service and products onboard. I doubt the second route would work in a long term.

  2. @Matt SFO-PVG 2x daily flights are still in the schedule, and remain Apple’s most frequently booked corp route.

  3. I think that this might have some long term potential. Glad to see that SFO remains a growth hub for UA, but they should figure out a workaround for the rolling delays caused by low vis/runway closure. Flying through SFO when this happens is horrible, as flow control delays around half of the incoming flights, which leads to rolling delays. Not as bad as EWR, but still bad.

    Side note, has anyone else received possible scam mails around MilagePlus co-branded cards? The title reads:Share your opinion on United MileagePlus, as the sender is identified as ”
    United MileagePlus Feedback”, but the actual address is “[email protected]”. Does anyone know who is doing this?

  4. Is UA878 going to be using the airplane of UA869, and UA862 using the airplane of UA877? Otherwise, both flights would have the planes sit on the ground for 16+ hours??

  5. I wonder if this changes SQ’s SFO strategy and if they will just focus on the direct SFO-SIN flights rather than the connecting flights.

  6. United 4 mainland-HKG nonstops. Delta zero.
    Amazing DL cant make a single flight work to such a major global trade and financial hub.

  7. Oh sweet, this is music to my ears. I would take UA877 for sure. UA878 will have a tight layover or I am stuck in SFO overnight. I do like the new routes because its easier for me to recover from jetlag.

  8. @James : that’s cuz pro-DL losers love taking both sides of the coin

    at launch : “SEA will be great cuz zero nonstop competition”
    at death : “YVR and SFO is where the demand is”

    who knows …. between legacy NW and current DL they’ve tried MSP DTW SEA, places with O&D PDEW you can count with just a few hands. So next time, if there *is* a next time, they might even go insane and try ATL-HKG.

    (I skipped mentioning LAX-HKG cuz if they wanted to do it they would’ve done it already)

  9. Strange indeed DL has no Hong Kong flights. Microsoft and Amazon don’t send enough professionals between Seattle and Hong Kong?

  10. @henryLax

    Hold on that a bit – HKG-ATL used to be insane but who knows if its with A350. SQ flies it from SIN to New York.

    What disappoint me is that Delta seems not even trying to make this route work. They never reached out to HX (To get connect passengers from SE Asia) and they can’t also successfully get enough Chinese passengers from MU.

    If it’s me I will take the reference from SQ, and try to make BKK-HKG-ATL/DTW possible.

    As an international airlines that based in the largest economy in the world, hardly can one imagine they are not flying to one of the largest financial center in the world.

  11. @Matt,

    Does Cathay really have better product in premium cabin? Mediocre lounge, mediocre meal on board, on par entertainment, similar hard product, worse amenities…
    Polaris have decent bedding, great lounge experience, pajamas, similar food as cathay business.

    Sure Cathay service is more consistent but that doesn’t mean you can’t get better service in polaris given the same price, will take united any day unless need to fly first with Singapore or Cathay.

  12. @henry LAX

    You are half correct. Delta indeed think of making SEA their Asian gateway when they de-hub NRT. Delta stopped SEA-HKG because the they had strong partners with MU and KE (doesn’t mean us flyers like it) and they didn’t expect TPAC prices to go down this much. Delta being Delta, would rather put 777 on a higher load higher yield route and cut cost of maintaining a distant destination.
    Let’s face it HKG yield is very low in coach and Delta does have a decent size coach cabin.
    RT SFO-HKG few months out is around $500. Much shorter SFO-ORD goes around $300.
    or put the same plane the Delta way and fly, SFO-HND $800 or or or SFO-MUC for $1200.

    YVR SFO demand didn’t stop Delta, low yield did.
    MSP DTW SEA was never intended for O&D ever. They were always feeder for the lower 48.

    What sucks here is not Delta not knowing what they are doing but rather they are good at what they are doing too much that it’s not best for passengers but for profits.

  13. Why doesn’t United fly it’s EWR HKG flight overnight instead of daytime and sitting on the ground

  14. The award calendar that Lucky screenshot (on June 26?) and displays above bears no resemblance to award availability available at 5:35pm June 27. Only two saver awards in business remain.

  15. Dear HenryLAX,

    Congrats! You are our employee/contractor of the month for (supposed, attempted) online influence activity, in your campaign to always praise United and bash DL/AA/any other airline on the planet. We will send you an e-coupon for a bag of Freshpoo coffee.

    Regards,
    United HR Department

  16. Glad to see this new route. With talks of Hong Kong airlines scaling back their US routes, helps to have more options.

    @lucky – SQ 2 departs HKG at 11 : 30 pm and arrival at SFO 9 15 pm.

    The new United flight departs HKG at 10:25 pm and reaches SFO at 6:50 pm.

    Planned flight duration seems to be 1 hr shorter than SQ 2 – quite interesting.

  17. With my work schedule, UA 877 is better for me and I’m glad it is finally coming. I sleep better during overnight flights and even if my seat is in economy (window seat). I do quite a bit of flying on the SFO to SIN on UA1. So this is another option to Asia.

  18. Just reading United will also be stopping the HKG – Guam flight on the same date. I guess that’s how they get the slots but the Guam flight wasn’t daily?

  19. @Eskimo :

    the “low yield did” airline is the one who announced SEA-KIX at the exact same moment SEA-HKG was cancelled, and wanting to pretend they know anything about KIX that AC UA/NH JL/AA hasn’t already discovered for themselves already, then have SEA-KIX flounder before it even began.

    No idea why you’ve even bothering to mention the drawdown of NRT since no one is suggesting DL to route SEA-NRT-HKG here except inside your head. I’m laughing even louder at your assessment that the MU partnership is actually all that strong considering there’s no JV whatsoever, and looking at US-CN relations, won’t be happening anything soon.

    What a bunch of stable geniuses Atlanta has indeed.

  20. @Eskimo : ps smartie pants, the “low yield” environment already existed at the point when SEA-HKG was announced, so that’s not something new. you sound exactly like those losers blaming nighttime slots for failures of DTW/SEA-HND even though the night-time portion has been there before DOT opened up the bidding process.

    Wow it really takes a major loser to love DL doesn’t it.

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