UA1 Becomes United Airlines’ Longest Route For 2 Months

United resumed UA1 – from San Francisco to Singapore – on January 5th. It is currently the airline’s longest route, although that’ll change in March. While the Star Alliance carrier has served Singapore for decades, historically via Hong Kong and Tokyo, it wasn’t until 2016 that non-stops began.

United B787-9
United has resumed San Francisco to Singapore after an absence of almost two years. It is expected to return to twice-daily from March 26th. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying.

UA1: San Francisco to Singapore

United inaugurated the very long non-stop link from San Francisco to Singapore on June 1st, 2016. With a distance of 8,446 miles (13,593km), it is the USA’s eighth-longest non-stop service this winter. It has a block time to Asia of 17 hours and 10 minutes, but ‘just’ 14 hours and 40 minutes back because of the difference in wind direction.

The route currently operates four-weekly with the following schedule (all times are local). However, it will rise to once-daily from early March and – somewhat optimistically – twice-daily from March 26th, the last day of the aviation winter season. It competes head-to-head with up to two daily flights by Singapore Airlines.

  • UA1: San Francisco to Singapore, 22:30-07:40 two days later
  • UA2: Singapore to San Francisco, 10:10-08:50 the same day

It uses the 257-seat B787-9, which features the airline’s latest Polaris business class seat and its premium economy product, Premium Plus. Over a quarter of the total seats are Polaris and Premium Plus, helped by having just 147 in regular economy.

UA1 to Singapore
On January 5th, UA1 took off at 22:48 and arrived on day three at 07:40. It used N24979, a B787-9 delivered in April 2020. Image:

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Inside United’s SFO to Singapore operation

According to the USA’s Department of Transportation’s T-100 dataset, some 303,732 round-trip passengers used United’s non-stop in 2019. It had a seat load factor of 84%, about the carrier’s system-wide average for the year.

Booking data suggests that about 73% of passengers (222,000) transited San Francisco, United’s Asia-Pacific hub. Singapore to Houston Intercontinental was the most-trafficked origin and destination (O&D), followed by Toronto, Chicago O’Hare, Washington Dulles, Los Angeles, Newark, San Diego, Austin, Denver, and Las Vegas.

Singapore-Houston’s dominance was despite Singapore Airlines’ one-stop service to the Texas airport via Manchester, which resumed in December 2021. Los Angeles was the fifth-largest O&D, with United ending Los Angeles-Singapore non-stop in October 2018 after a year. Instead, it increased San Francisco-Singapore to twice-daily on October 27th, 2018.

Airbus A350, Singapore
Singapore Airlines began San Francisco non-stop in October 2016 using the A350-900. Later in 2022, the two Star Alliance members will have up to four daily services from the California airport. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying.

It is currently United’s longest route

In January 2022, San Francisco-Singapore is United’s longest non-stop route by distance, ahead of Newark to Johannesburg, Newark-Cape Town, Newark-Mumbai, and San Francisco-Delhi, OAG data confirms.

However, things will change soon. On March 26th, Houston to Sydney will return, pushing UA1 to second-longest. On May 26th, San Francisco to Bangalore is expected to commence, reducing UA1 to third-longest.

What transpacific routes have you flown? Share your memories and experiences in the comments.