United upgrades Sydney flights to LA, San Francisco with Boeing 777

Sydney is set to be treated to United’s best business class seat

By David Flynn, October 18 2021
United upgrades Sydney flights to LA, San Francisco with Boeing 777

United Airlines will boost its daily flights between Sydney, Los Angeles and San Francisco to its flagship Boeing 777-300ER from late December 2021 through to February 2022.

It's a short-term upgrade from the mid-sized Boeing 787-9, with the bigger 777 helping United cater for an expected surge in demand as both Sydney and the USA remove travel restrictions for fully-vaccinated flyers.

As previously reported, New South Wales will end all quarantine for the double-jabbed from November 1, while the US will open its borders to vaccinated visitors on November 8.

(And as is becoming increasingly common, would-be travellers will also need to show not only an internationally-recognised vaccination certificate upon checking in for their flight, but a negative result from a Covid-19 PCR test taken within 72 hours prior to the flight.)

United has continued flying to Sydney from both Los Angeles and San Francisco throughout the pandemic, mainly carrying cargo back and forth across the Pacific due to inbound passenger caps and general travel restrictions.

Bigger plane, better seats

From December 16 to February 10 (based on US departures), the Star Alliance member will shift its Los Angeles-Sydney and San Francisco -Sydney flights to a Boeing 777-300ER.

And while the Boeing 777 has a hundred more seats than the 252-seat Dreamliner, the real difference is in the type of seats.

For starters, in business class you can look forward to the airline's latest flatbed Polaris design, with a 1-2-1 layout where every passenger has 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."

Executive Traveller review: United Airlines Polaris business class (Boeing 777-300ER)

That's quite the change from the Dreamliner's business class seat, which adheres to a decidedly last-gen 2-2-2 layout.

Another point in the Boeing 777's favour is the appearance of Premium Plus, United's premium economy seat, located in its own mini-cabin of 24 seats.

Like the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, the Boeing 777 also offers Economy Plus, which is the standard economy seat with a bit of extra legroom.

But Premium Plus is a wider, more comfortable seat, with a better legrest and copious legroom, along with a more snooze-friendly recline, upgraded meals and comfortable Saks Fifth Avenue bedding.

Also noteworthy are United's Polaris lounges at Los Angeles and San Francisco, which remain closed at the time of writing but will reopen early in the new year.

Exclusively for business class travellers, the lounges have a 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.

Executive Traveller reviews: United Airlines LAX Polaris lounge and United Airlines SFO Polaris lounge

United Airlines - Mileage Plus

12 Sep 2011

Total posts 251

I like this seat   a little narrow  but  beats the old UA 2-4-2 , and the current 2-2-2 on the 787  Its just a little narrow, so only really possible to side sleep  

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

20 Mar 2018

Total posts 7

Certainly a better way to get to the west coast, but I'm not sure the Polaris lounges are open yet. I looked at the w/end and they only had a club lounge open in SFO (no showers in the club lounges). With a 7 hour stop on the way to London the Polaris lounge would be a godsend

24 Oct 2010

Total posts 2568

United says its Polaris lounges will be reopening after the US re-opens on November 8; we're told that the Newark, Chicago and Houston Polaris lounges will unlock their doors before the end of the year, with Los Angeles and San Francisco early in the new year (surprising that's not for December).

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

20 Mar 2018

Total posts 7

Thanks David - with a bit of luck they will open west coast earlier as travel opens in Nov and more traffic goes there. 

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