MIAMI — It’s a busy weekend for United. This afternoon, United Airlines is launching new flights between San Francisco and Taipei, and tomorrow, it will launch its second daily flight between Houston and Tokyo.
Saturday’s inaugural flight to Taipei marks the beginning of a small transpacific expansion in San Francisco. On June 9, the airline will launch flights to Chengdu, China which will make United the first U.S. carrier to offer nonstop service from San Francisco to mainland China beyond Beijing, Shanghai.
However, United is not just growing its San Francisco hub with new flights. It is making several changes to its updates, and it recently completed a $138 million overhaul of Terminal 3’s boarding area E from what had been an otherwise “hum-drum concourse” into one of the nations top concourses.
“With the most extensive route network, the broadest alliances and hubs in the largest U.S. cities, United offers travelers more choices to more of the world than any other U.S. airline,” said Jim Compton, United’s vice chairman and chief revenue officer. “The new Taipei and Tokyo services strengthen our commitment to the Pacific, where United is already the leading U.S. carrier, and to the San Francisco and Houston hubs.”
Back in July 2012, United announced that it would launch 10 new routes, including San Francisco to Taipei, Taiwan. The start date was supposed to be April 9, 2013. However, April 9, 2013 came and went, and the carrier announced that it would launch flights on June 6. However, United postponed the start date to March 29, 2014. The two delays were due to “market seasonality and the availability of widebody aircraft as a result of the ongoing Boeing 787 delays.”
The new flight, United flight 871, will depart San Francisco daily at 1:50 PM and arrive in Taipei at 6:30 PM the next day. For the return, flight 872 will depart Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport daily at 11:10 AM and arrive at San Francisco International Airport at 7:30 AM the same day. (All times are local.)
United will operate the new flight to Taipei with a Boeing 777-200 aircraft. The aircraft will offer 269 seats – eight in United Global First, 40 in United BusinessFirst and 221 in United Economy, including 113 extra-legroom United Economy Plus seats.