MIAMI — United Airlines will introduce its new Boeing 777-300ERs on flights between San Francisco and Hong Kong on March 25, 2017, with the aircraft replacing the Boeing 747-400s used on the route.
The airline will initially offer one round trip six days each week between Newark and San Francisco between February 16 and May 4, for crew training and familiarization purposes.
The inaugural service is expected to be UA1920, which departs from Newark at 7:00 local. This would allow United to compete —at least temporarily— with all-aisle access for premium passengers on the transcon route. The 777-300ER flights were loaded into the Computer Reservations System (CRS) early Saturday.
The Boeing 777-300ERs will be the first aircraft in United Airlines fleet to feature the new Polaris Business Class cabin, with 60 lie-flat seats in a one-two-one configuration.
“Our 777-300ER fleet represents a new era in premium air travel,” Julia Haywood, Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer of United said in a statement. “With United Polaris business class we are providing (…) a tailored experience that prioritizes comfort and sleep.”
The introduction of the 777-300ER in United Airlines Pacific routes seem to be a part of the changes made by Scott Kirby, in order to upgauge its inflight product, and to be able to compete against carriers such as Cathay Pacific and Singapore Airlines, both of which offer daily non-stop flights on the San Francisco – Hong Kong route.
United expects to place into service all 14 aircraft in its 777-300ER order in 2017. These aircraft will eventually replace the carrier’s aging 747-400 fleet. The arrival of the 777-300ER into the fleet could explain partly why United is considering down-gauging its order from the A350-1000 to the A350-900.
The aircraft, registered N2331U (MSN 62642 • LN 1453) has completed its first C-1 (Customer Acceptance Flight) and is expected to be delivered to the San Francisco base on December 21.