New United nonstop to China 成 都

Chengdu is home to China's giant panda as well as 14 million residents (Photo: Martha de Jong-Lantin)

Chengdu is home to China’s giant panda population as well as 14 million residents (Photo: Martha de Jong-Lantin)

成 都

United Airlines will begin flying nonstop from San Francisco (SFO) to Chengdu (CTU), China’s fourth largest city, starting next June pending approval from the Dept of Transportation. United intends to use its new Boeing 787 Dreamliner on the route, which will run three times weekly.

United will be the first US carrier to serve Chengdu, the capital of the southwestern province of Sichuan with a population of 14 million. Sichuan is perhaps best known for its spicy cuisine such as Kung Pao chicken…it’s also the stomping ground of the giant Panda bear.

Current roundtrip economy fares for one-stop flights from SFO to Chengdu are in the $1300 range. Business class is around $4200.

chengduThe proposed flight will depart SFO at 1:35 p.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays and arrive at Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport at 6:50 p.m. the following day (all times local). Service from Chengdu will depart at 10 a.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays and arrive at SFO 8:50 a.m. the same day.

Flying times will be approximately 14 hours, 15 minutes westbound (phew!) and 13 hours, 50 minutes eastbound.  This new nonstop flight will shave nearly four hours off the current travel time between the two cities which requires a stopover and plane change.

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United’s China flights offer amenities designed for Chinese customers, including: Mandarin-speaking flight attendants; personalized in-flight entertainment options, including Chinese-language services; and Chinese-style cuisine.

Have you ever been to Chengdu? What did you think? Please leave your comments below.

-Chris McGinnis

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