Changi Airport News Star Alliance

United goes double-daily from Singapore to San Francisco with Polaris Business Class

United Airlines will return to its pre-pandemic schedule on the Singapore - San Francisco route from October, and it's "new Polaris" Business Class all the way.

Flight capacity between Singapore and the USA continues to increase this year, with United Airlines confirming that it is returning to a pre-pandemic double-daily schedule on its San Francisco route from 30th October 2022.

ADVERTISEMENT

Better still, the Star Alliance carrier is retaining a 100% “new Polaris” Business Class configuration on all these flights, thanks to its ongoing cabin retrofit programme, which has continued even during COVID-19.

United first returned to the Singapore – San Francisco route back in January 2022, as part of the (happily now historic) Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) programme, and has been using Boeing 787-9 aircraft with its latest cabin products on the route ever since.

The schedule

From late October 2022, United will reinstate its daily UA28/29 service, supplementing existing daily UA1/2 flights, which will represent a return to its pre-COVID schedules out of Changi Airport.

“To meet the increasing customer demand, we’ve decided to resume our twice-daily service, which can provide our customers with greater choices and more options between Singapore and San Francisco and beyond with optimal departure and arrival times.

“Singapore is an important business and leisure destination for United, and we remain committed to serving the Singapore market.”

Walter Dias, Director of sales for Greater China, Korea and Southeast Asia, United Airlines

Here’s how the schedule will look for the upcoming northern winter season.

United Airlines Singapore Schedule
(from 30th October 2022)

New Flights Highlighted

  Days
M T W T F S S
UA2
787-9
SIN
10:15
SFO
09:50
UA28
787-9
SIN
22:20
SFO
22:00
UA29
787-9
SFO
11:40
SIN
20:15*
UA1
787-9
SFO
22:45
SIN
07:00**

* Next day
** Two days later

This reinstated flight will once again offer a late night departure from Singapore with a same-day 10pm arrival into San Francisco, plus a morning departure from San Francisco with an evening arrival in Singapore, one calendar day later.

United uses refitted Boeing 787-9 aircraft on all its Singapore flights. (Photo: Carlos Yudica / Shutterstock)

The schedule largely mirrors Singapore Airlines’ own SQ31/32 and SQ33/34 non-stop flights on this route, for a total of 28 weekly services in each direction between the two carriers.

Polaris Business Class

The main drawback of United’s older 787-8s and -9s, for Business Class travellers at least, was the older seats (which the airline, confusingly, also calls ‘Polaris’), installed in a rather dated 2-2-2 configuration.

United’s old Business Class on some 787-8 and -9 planes. (Photo: United Airlines)

The ‘real’ Polaris, which frankly is the only United Business Class product you should consider flying on a long-haul service, boasts a 1-2-1 direct aisle access layout (1-1-1 on the narrower Boeing 767, so couples might want to avoid that plane).

United Polaris Seat (United Airlines).jpg
The ‘real’ Polaris on a Boeing 777. (Photo: United Airlines)

It’s a significant evolution for the airline and is now installed on all Boeing 787-8s and 34 out of 38 Boeing 787-9s, not to mention all Boeing 787-10s, 777-300ERs and 767-300ERs.

United chose the Zodiac (now Safran) Optima seat for this cabin, with customisation and design by Acumen and PriestmanGoode.

ADVERTISEMENT

All the seats convert to fully flat beds, with bedding provided by Saks Fifth Avenue, and are aligned either slightly towards the aisle or are in line with the aircraft fuselage.

United Polaris Bed (United Airlines)
Even the side seats closer to the aisle get their own window. (Photo: United Airlines)

Whether you take a window seat aligned furthest from the aisle, or more closely exposed to the aisle, you won’t be spared a good external view as the design includes at least one actual window at most of these seats (though be warned, at rows 4, 8 and 12 the windows are misaligned).

United Polaris Overview (United Airlines).jpg
Polaris Business Class on the Boeing 777. (Photo: United Airlines)

Couples or friends travelling together get a nice middle pair option, but there’s a privacy divider between those seats in case you’re seated there alongside a stranger.

United Boeing 787-9 Business Class seat map. (Image: aeroLOPA)

There’s also a more intimate four-row mini-cabin behind the second pair of main doors, which may offer a quieter experience on these long flights.

Polaris Lounge San Francisco

If you do plan to fly on United from San Francisco to Singapore in Business Class, you’ll have the excellent Polaris lounge to look forward to there.

At over 28,000ft2, this is the largest United Polaris lounge on the airline’s network.

It’s truly a fantastic experience, beats any Singapore Airlines Business Class lounge hands down, and the great news is that you can even use it when flying SIA out of San Francisco (when flying in Business or First Class, not as a Star Alliance Gold status holder sadly).

‘Premium Plus’ is included

United’s refitted Boeing 787-9s also include United’s Premium Plus cabin, to compete against Singapore Airlines’ Premium Economy offering on the Singapore – San Francisco route.

United Premium Plus (United Airlines).jpg
Premium Plus on United’s Boeing 777-300ER. (Photo: United Airlines)

The Premium Plus cabin, United’s first dedicated Premium Economy product, features:

  • A 2-3-2 configuration on the Boeing 787
  • 38″ seat pitch
  • 6″ seat recline
  • 19″ seat width
  • Adjustable leg rest and footrest
  • Upgraded dining and free alcoholic beverages
  • A larger IFE screen
  • Saks Fifth Avenue bedding
ADVERTISEMENT

We can’t promise this is anything better than the Singapore Airlines Premium Economy seat on this route, especially if you can snag one of the ‘solo seats’ at the back of the A350 on the selected flights operated by the ULR variant, however you can read more about United Premium Plus here.

Redemption rates

Here are the award redemption rates using Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer miles to redeem on United flights (Star Award) compared to SIA flights on this route.

KrisFlyer Saver Redemption Rates
SIN to/from SFO
(one-way)
  This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is UA-Star.png
Saver Advantage
Economy 60,500
42,000
70,000
Premium Economy n/a
75,000
n/a
Business 119,000
107,000
128,500

Whether you redeem KrisFlyer miles for United or SIA flights on this route, taxes and fees of S$76.90 are payable in the Singapore – San Francisco direction and only around S$8 in the opposite direction, in addition to the miles outlay.

As far as we can see, United is only offering Economy Class redemption seats to partners on this route at this stage, but if Business Class comes up later it could be a good alternative to a Singapore Airlines Advantage award, if that’s the only available alternative.

You might even want to splash out an extra 12,000 miles vs. an SIA Saver award to try out the “new Polaris” experience.



 


 

Summary

United is the only US airline offering non-stop services between Singapore and the USA, with SIA dominating the North America market from Changi, and the carrier is restoring pre-COVID frequencies to and from San Francisco with twice daily flights from late October 2022.

The best part of the news is that all United flights on this route will feature the airline’s latest “new Polaris” Business Class seats up front in a 1-2-1 configuration, which we’re eager to try.

(Cover Photo: PriestmanGoode)

ADVERTISEMENT

5 comments

  1. How does the Polaris Lounge beat our home SilverKris Lounge? I have been there 101 times, the experience isn’t anywhere close to what Singapore offers?