United Airlines Plans Singapore Relaunch In January

United Airlines will relaunch flights to Singapore in January. Flights will initially resume four times per week as the carrier plots its first flights to the destination since the crisis started. United will connect San Francisco and Singapore using a Boeing 787-9 offering the airline’s latest Polaris cabin and a dedicated premium economy offering. Until flights from Houston to Sydney resume, this will be United’s longest route.

United Boeing 787-9
United Airlines has announced that it will be relaunching flights to Singapore in January. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying

United Airlines to resume Singapore flights

United announced that its flights from San Francisco International Airport (SFO) and Singapore Changi Airport (SIN) will resume from January 5th, 2022. The first flight back to San Francisco from Singapore will operate on January 9th. Flights will initially operate four times per week with a Boeing 787-9 operating the route. United plans on flying the following schedule to Singapore:

  • UA001 departs SFO at 22:30 and arrives two days later in SIN at 07:40
  • UA002 departs SIN at 10:10 and arrives in SFO at 08:50 the same day

Flights to Singapore will operate on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. The return flight will operate on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays. United offered the following statement on the relaunch:

“United looks forward to resuming flights between San Francisco and Singapore beginning January 5 in accordance with the Singapore Government’s Vaccinated Travel Lane program (VTL), which requires all passengers traveling to Singapore to be vaccinated against COVID-19. United is the only U.S. carrier to serve Singapore and will operate four weekly flights with a Boeing 787-9 equipped with Polaris and United Premium Plus cabins. Tickets for these flights will be available for sale this evening on united.com and United’s mobile app.”

United Airlines Plans Singapore Relaunch In January
United will only operate four flights per week to start. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying

United’s Boeing 787-9

United will be using retrofitted Boeing 787-9 aircraft to operate the route. These planes seat 257 passengers in a three-class configuration. At the front of the plane are 48 Polaris business class seats. This is the airline’s latest hard product offering a lie-flat product with direct aisle access from every seat.

Following this are 21 premium economy seats branded as Premium Plus. This cabin offers a hard product that is similar to a domestic first class seat. These seats are wider and offer a more generous recline than standard economy seats. This cabin is in a 2-3-2 configuration.

United Airlines Plans Singapore Relaunch In January
United is working on rolling out its new product across its fleet. Singapore will get the airline’s new Polaris hard product. Photo: United Airlines

Following this are 39 extra-legroom economy seats. These seats offer about three extra inches of pitch compared to economy class seats, but the overall seat itself remains the same. Lastly, there are 149 standard economy seats. These two cabins are in a 3-3-3 configuration.

All passengers onboard will have access to entertainment via seatback screens. Power outlets and USB ports are also available throughout the cabin. WiFi is available for purchase in all cabin classes.

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United’s historical Singapore service

United has served Singapore for many years. However, until 2016, United Airlines served Singapore via a stop in either Hong Kong or Tokyo. While this allowed the airline to serve the destination, it did not allow it to be competitive, given that there is no shortage of one-stop options between the West Coast and Singapore. Data from Cirium shows that United has flown both Boeing 777 and Boeing 747s to Singapore via a stop in one of those two Asian cities, flying up to two daily flights via one stop to Singapore.

However, in 2016, things changed. United Airlines finally had a plane that could make the hop nonstop: the Boeing 787 Dreamliner. The first nonstop route to Singapore from the West Coast on United Airlines launched in 2016, with service between San Francisco International Airport (SFO) and Singapore (SIN). It discontinued service to Singapore via Tokyo then.

United Airlines Plans Singapore Relaunch In January
The Dreamliner helped unlock the potential for United to fly nonstop to Singapore. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying

In 2017, it made another big announcement. United Airlines discontinued its last one-stop service to Singapore in favor of a new daily nonstop flight between Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) and SIN, also using a Boeing 787-9. It maintained two daily operations to Singapore, though now both operate nonstop from the US.

In 2018, United shook up its service to Singapore again. With Singapore Airlines announcing plans to relaunch nonstop service to Los Angeles using an Airbus A350-900ULR, United Airlines decided to discontinue its service. It wanted to maintain two daily flights to Singapore, so it bulked up its flights from San Francisco, offering two flights per day using a Boeing 787-9.

When the crisis hit, United shut down the route, waiting for conditions to improve to relaunch these flights. With Singapore now reopened under specific protocols, United has announced its return on the route. While its four weekly flights are a far cry from the two daily operations pre-crisis, it will take time for demand to recover. A route like this relies heavily on business travel from large corporate customers, which have been slower to return. As demand comes back and restrictions continue to ease and assuming it has the planes to do it, United will likely look to get back to two daily operations to Singapore.