10 June 2014

United Airlines becomes first carrier to fly non-stop from US to Chengdu in China

United Airlines has launched a new non-stop service linking its San Francisco hub with Chengdu, China, the fourth-largest Chinese city and the capital city of Sichuan province, becoming the first carrier to fly non-stop from the US to Mainland China beyond Beijing and Shanghai and the first US carrier to serve Chengdu.

Said Dave Hilfman, United's Senior VP of worldwide sales: "With more than 250 of the Fortune 500 companies located in the area, and as home to the giant panda and Sichuan cuisine, Chengdu will be a popular destination for both business and leisure travellers."

Flight 9 will depart San Francisco International Airport at 1:25 pm on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays and arrive at Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport at 6:40 pm the following day (all times local). Flight 8 will depart Chengdu at 9:50 am on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays and arrive at San Francisco International Airport at 8:40 am the same day. Flying times will be approximately 14 hours, 15 minutes westbound and 13 hours, 50 minutes eastbound. This new non-stop flight will shave nearly four hours off the typical travel time between the two cities. 

United will use the Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner to operate the three-times-weekly service. United's Boeing 787 aircraft are configured with 219 seats – 36 in United BusinessFirst and 183 in United Economy, including 70 United Economy Plus seats with added legroom. To date, United has flown its 787 fleet more than 30,000 hours on more than 4,400 flights. The airline now operates 10 787 Dreamliners with an additional 55 on order, including the 787-9. 

United's China flights feature additional amenities and services designed especially for Chinese customers, including: Mandarin-speaking flight attendants; personalised in-flight entertainment options, including Chinese-language services; and a wide selection of in-flight meals and beverages, including Chinese-style cuisine. 

United started non-stop services to Mainland China in 1986 and today serves Beijing with non-stop flights from Chicago, New York/Newark, San Francisco and Washington/Dulles; Shanghai with non-stop flights from Chicago, Los Angeles, New York/Newark and San Francisco; and Hong Kong with non-stop flights from Chicago, New York/Newark, San Francisco, Guam, Singapore and Ho Chi Minh City. Chengdu is the ninth destination United serves in the Asia Pacific region non-stop from San Francisco, from which United offers more non-stop trans-Pacific flights from the United States than any other carrier. The airline recently announced it will add a new twice-weekly service between Guam and Shanghai beginning October 28, 2014.

As a member of Star Alliance, United has a bilateral partnership with Air China that includes code-sharing on selected routes and provides customers of both carriers additional travel benefits, such as airport lounge access and frequent-flyer-programme reciprocity. Air China offers flights to 62 cities from Chengdu, many of which will offer same-day connections to United's new Chengdu service.