MIAMI — United Airlines (UA) announced a new nonstop service between San Francisco (SFO) and Pape’ete (PPT), the capital of Tahiti, starting on October 1, 2018, through March 28, 2019; subject to government approval.
Tahiti becomes the 13th international route announced by the airline in 2017 as Pape’te is considered South Pacific’s gateway to 118 islands in the French Polynesia.
United has also launched nonstop services from San Francisco to Auckland, New Zealand; and beginning in June 2018, nonstop seasonal summer services between San Francisco and Zurich.
“We are excited to announce Tahiti as our 13th new international route this year, and we are even more thrilled about offering our customers a whole new world of vacation opportunities,” said Patrick Quayle, United’s vice president of International Network.
The three-time a week flight will be operated with United’s Boeing 787 Dreamliner between SFO and Fa’a’ā International Airport (PPT).
According to UAL, United is the only U.S. carrier offering nonstop service to Tahiti from the mainland United States with a “love affair” that started 70 years ago.
— United (@united) December 13, 2017
United’s first flight across the Pacific was in 1947 from San Francisco to Honolulu. Today, UAL offers more flights between the U.S. and multiple destinations in the Pacific than any other U.S. carrier.
Even though the first flight was in 1947, the network was expanded in 1968 linking the Hawaiian Islands, the Marshall Islands, Micronesia, and Guam.
Nowadays United has an Island Hopper service—also known as Flight 155—which departs Guam in the morning and makes a series of five, one-hour hops to the islands of Chuuk, Pohnpei, Kosrae; Kwajalein and Majuro. It also connects customers from Guam to other islands like Palau, Yap, and the Philippines.
The departing service, Flight 154, stops at four or five locations in the Marshall Islands and the Federal States of Micronesia. The operations last 14 hours, kicking off from Honolulu and Guam.
About 50 years ago, Continental Airlines (CO) agreed to fly the route as part of an agreement with representatives of the islands and the U.S. It became a UAL flight after the merger in 2010.
More details about United’s Flight 154 may be found in our August issue of Airways:
United began nonstop service from its West Coast hubs in the U.S. to Sydney and Melbourne, Australia in 1986. The carrier has daily nonstop service from San Francisco and Los Angeles.
This route was once served by American Airlines and Pan Am. Today, United will compete with Hawaiian Airlines.
Additionally, the airline is a founding member of Star Alliance, which provides service to more than 190 countries via 28 member airlines.