United Airlines has made a further change to its San Francisco-Hong Kong route. Having been expected to return on February 10th, its 2 daily services are now scheduled and bookable to take off on March 3rd. While it may change again, and so is perhaps best considered with caution, it’ll mark its return after three years. It comes as United pushed back its Bengaluru service to next October.
United to Hong Kong
Passengers can again book San Francisco-Hong Kong with United. The first flight to Asia is scheduled for March 3rd, and on the 4th to the US. The 2 daily flights return to the frequency last offered in October 2019, just half a year before the route was postponed.
276-seat 777-200ER will operate both flights. These are United’s lowest-capacity 777 configuration. There are 50 Polaris business class lie-flat seats, a number surpassed only by its 777-300ERs, with direct aisle access for all passengers. Following this are 24 Premium Plus seats (premium economy), 46 extra-legroom Economy Plus seats, and 156 standard economy seats.
In mid-March, the schedule is as follows, with all times local:
- San Francisco to Hong Kong: UA869, 13:15-20:20+1
- San Francisco to Hong Kong: UA877, 23:50-05:00+2
- Hong Kong to San Francisco: UA862, 11:20-08:40 (same-day arrival)
- San Francisco to Hong Kong: UA878, 22:30-20:10 (same day arrival)
Click here for San Francisco-Hong Kong flights!
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United San Francisco-Hong Kong
The route has been operated for decades. According to US Department of Transportation data, United carried 221,423 roundtrip passengers between San Francisco and Hong Kong in 2019.
With 279,922 seats for sale, it achieved a seat load factor of 79%. That was down from 82% the year before because of 6% more capacity but only 2% more passengers. It had, after all, only offered 2 daily at the end of October.
Perhaps more interesting is that passenger traffic was down from 231,000-240,000 between 2010-2016 when higher-capacity 747-400s were employed.
Photo: Getty Images.
Where did passengers go?
In 2019, when United had 221,000 San Francisco-Hong Kong passengers, booking data reveals that approximately 118,000 (53%) were point-to-point; they traveled only between the two cities. They didn’t transit over United’s San Francisco hub. United had about a 30% share of the P2P market. A further 93,000 (43%) did transit, while about 10,000 (4%) connected over Hong Kong.
Booking data shows that Hong Kong over San Francisco to/from Los Angeles was the most popular origin and destination, followed in order by Las Vegas, Portland (Oregon), Denver, San Diego, Seattle, Houston, Mexico City, Salt Lake City, and Toronto.
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What about Cathay Pacific?
If United does return in March, it will compete against Cathay Pacific, whose San Francisco frequency will be 1 daily but will rise to 3 daily from March 26th, the first day of the Northern Hemisphere summer season. As with United, we’ll need to wait and see if it does develop like this.
Have you flown United on this route? If so, share your experiences in the comments.
- IATA/ICAO Code:
- Airline Type:
- Full Service Carrier
- Chicago O’Hare International Airport, Denver International Airport, Guam International Airport, Houston George Bush Intercontinental Airport, Los Angeles International Airport, Newark Liberty International Airport, San Francisco International Airport, Washington Dulles International Airport
- Year Founded:
- Star Alliance
- Scott Kirby
- United States