UNITED AIRLINES: Increased flights between USA, Australia and New Zealand.
Increased flights between the USA and Australia on United are only two months away. Although announced back in April, the new routes and frequencies start in roughly two months’ time, on 30 October 2023.
Given all the shenanigans of last week, this is another substantial body blow to the bottom line of Qantas
Content of this Post:
United Pacific services
The increased flights between Australia and New Zealand will bring the total United flights to 66 per week. Compiling infromation from news releases by United, and information published by ET and Stuff, the push into the pacific includes the following city pairs:
- Auckland – Los Angeles – adding four weekly flights
- Brisbane – Los Angeles – new service – 3 x Boeing 787-9 flights/week, starting 1 December 2023 (Qantas runs old Airbus A330s on this route)
- Brisbane– San Francisco – moves to daily from 30 October, Boeing 787-9, UA96/UA96 (this is a unique route – Qantas has not restarted its service post-pandemic)
- Christchurch – San Francisco – new service, three times per week on a Boeing 787-8 from 1 December 2023
- Melbourne – San Francisco – twice daily flight
- Melbourne – Los Angeles – moving from three flights per week to daily from 30 October
- Sydney – Houston, route return from 31 October for three per week. Moves to daily from 1 December on Boeing 787-9
- Sydney – San Francisco – twice daily flight from 30 October, UA830/UA870 on a Boeing 777
With these increased flights between the USA and Australia, United becomes the largest US based carrier to service the Australian and New Zealand markets
The Cabins and Lounges
All fo the United services to Australia will feature the Polaris Business Class Suites, which many reviewers regard as amongst the best seats of any USA carrier. The cabins also feature ‘Premium Plus’ premium economy seats.
As for lounges, eligible passengers can access Star Alliance lounges in Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney. These include Air New Zealand and Singapore Airlines lounges. In the USA, business class passengers can access the Polaris lounges in Los Angeles and San Francisco.
United Status Match
United will match your Qantas Frequent Flyer status via a status challenge if you hold are a Silver, Gold and Platinum tier member. You get 120 days of status in the Mileage Plus program, which you can extend for a full year by taking qualifying flights with United, and earning PQPs (Premier Qualifying Points).
Virgin Status Match
You still have time to match your Qantas premium status with Virgin Australia before 15 September, 2023. Again you can match to three months of Velocity Gold Status, and parlay that into 12 months by taking a flight and earning minimum 80 status credits. You can enter this match through the Velocity/ Luxury Escapes promotion.
All these increased flights between the USA and Australia on United, are going to add capacity. And we know that increased capacity or routes tends to put some downward pressure on airfares. Given that fares between Australia and the USA are still at record levels, that can only be a good thing.
The last time I travelled on United, I think was back in the 1990’s. Anyone with more recent experience who would like to provide their opinion on the United flying experience, especially if you have sat in a ‘Polaris’ seat would be greatly appreciated.