Sydney-San Francisco remains one of the most popular Australian routes for United Airlines, so much so that the Star Alliance member and Virgin Australia partner will offer two flights a day from October 28.
And there won't much difference between them: the new UA830 flight will slot in with a 12.10pm departure from Sydney to reach San Fran at 8am, while the long-standing UA870 leaves Sydney at 1pm and arrives into SFO at 8.50am.
Both flights feature United’s flagship Polaris business class, which our review rates as “a cosy cocoon for relaxing, working and sleeping”, on its largest Boeing 777-300ER jet.
In addition, United will launch Brisbane-Los Angeles flights from December 1 and bump its Brisbane-San Francisco service up to a daily frequency.
And all these additional flights will open up more seats for Virgin Australia loyalists to book using their Velocity points.
Late October will also see the return of United's non-stop seasonal Sydney-Houston service, which will run until March 2024, while Sydney-Los Angeles continues to show solid bookings – and all flights feature those Polaris business class suites.
That ‘triple gateway’ approach of San Francisco, Los Angeles and Houston “gives Virgin customers much more travel via one stop to virtually anywhere in North or South America,” Patrick Quayle, United Airlines’ Senior Vice President of Global Network Planning and Alliances, previously told Executive Traveller.
“Because of United’s vast network, they’re not having to double-connect or even triple-connect. It’s a real win for Virgin.”
Travellers now have access to a huge number of connections, including around 37 destinations from Los Angeles, 65 from San Francisco, and more than 100 from Houston – “and that’s just the domestic US,” Quayle adds.
“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,” at around 300 destinations in total.