Executive Traveller exclusive
United Airlines is locking in its latest business class seats for all flights between Australia and the USA, in recognition of the importance of the fresh alliance between the Star Alliance member and Virgin Australia.
This includes the soon-to-resume Melbourne-San Francisco service, to be followed later this year by Melbourne-Los Angeles.
Marcel Fuchs, United Airlines’ Managing Director of International Sales, also confirmed to Executive Traveller the Sydney-Houston trek would return in October.
And while United Airlines’ revamp of its Boeing 787-9 jets to the latest Polaris business class spec is still underway, Fuchs said all of United’s Dreamliners bound for Australia would sport the flatbed seats, which provide every passenger with direct aisle access...
... along with convenience features such as extra shelf and storage space, a large personal video screen and even more privacy to create what our review of United’s Polaris business class described as “a cosy cocoon for relaxing, working and sleeping.”
United’s flights from Sydney are generally departing with a full cabin in business class as well as the Premium Plus – the airline’s premium economy offering with wider seats, extra legroom, a greater recline and upgraded meals – as leisure flyers opt for greater comfort during their trans-Pacific trip.
On the return leg to Australia, business class travellers enjoy exclusive entry to United's Polaris lounges at Los Angeles, San Francisco and Houston, all of which boast dedicated dining room with à la carte menu, a well-stocked serviced wine and cocktail bar, spacious well-appointed showers and even a quiet area with relaxing daybeds.
In short: there's everything you need for freshening up or resting up, enjoying a restaurant-grade meal and relaxing with with a cocktail before ascending the skies back to Sydney or Melbourne.
Capped by United’s commitment to 100% Polaris business class for Australian passengers, Fuchs sees all the pieces as falling into place.
“We’ve got great product, great lounges and now a great partner in Virgin Australia,” he remarked to Executive Traveller.
The return of United’s Sydney-Houston route will fully deliver on the airline’s ‘triple gateway’ promise, alongside its Los Angeles and San Francisco hubs, giving travellers a one-stop journey “to virtually anywhere in North or South America,” Patrick Quayle, United’s senior vice president of international network and alliances, tells Executive Traveller.
“Because of United’s vast network, they’re not having to double-connect or even triple-connect.”
In the domestic US alone, United lists almost 40 US destinations from Los Angeles, 65 from San Francisco and over 100 from Houston.
“Then you add on all the Mexican cities, where we serve 24 different cities in Mexico – and you add on our services to Central America and South America – and you can see how it’s very, very broad,” Quayle says.