United: 2 new long-haul routes from SFO

BusinessFirst seats configured 2-1-2 on United’s 767-300ER

This morning United Airlines broke news to The BAT that it will add new nonstops from San Francisco International (SFO) to Paris and Taipei starting next April.


United has not offered nonstops between SFO and Paris-CDG since it shelved the route in October 2005.

“The Bay Area is doing very well right now and we’d like to capitalize on that good fortune, and the Paris route is a good example of how we are doing that. Our corporate clients have been asking for this service,” said Greg Hart, United’s SVP of Network.

Starting April 11, 2013, United will deploy Boeing 767-300ER aircraft in a two-class configuration on the 11.5-hour, 5,600-mile flight to Paris.  The revamped 767-300 will offer 30 true-lie-flat BusinessFirst sleeper seats, 49 Economy Plus seats and 135 standard coach seats, but no first class.

Passengers will enjoy United’s new AVOD system, which offers individual seatback video entertainment systems in both business and coach, with hundreds of choices of movies, TV shows and games. All business class seats on the 767 have electrical and USB outlets for charging personal electronics. There’s one electrical outlet per row in coach.

“All of these 767’s were originally configured for mainland-Hawaii and hub-to-hub flying. With the reconfiguration currently under way, the airplanes are getting new seats, new (and larger) overhead bins,” said Hart.

Currently, only Air France offers year-round nonstops between San Francisco and Paris. XL Airways offers summer seasonal flights. Interestingly (and perhaps not coincidentally) just last week United announced that it would shelve its Houston-Paris nonstop in October, which observers say is part of an ongoing spat United has with Houston’s city leaders.

*Have YOU signed up for email delivery of The BAT yet? All we need is your email address! DO IT today!* 


United will begin daily year-round nonstop service to Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport in Taipei on April 9, 2013, its eighth nonstop Asian destination from SFO.  Currently, United flights from SFO to Taipei stop over in Tokyo for about two hours making for a grueling 15-to-17-hour journey.

The new nonstop flights will operate using Boeing 777-200ER aircraft with 269 seats – eight in first, 40 in business (both front and rear-facing, true lie-flat), 104 in Economy Plus, and 117 in coach. As in the recently revamped 767s flying to Paris, all seats in all classes get their own seatback entertainment system on this 777.

There are 40 front and rear facing business class seats on United’s 777-200ER (Photo: Chris McGinnis)

Currently there are two carriers, China Air and Eva Air, offering nonstops between SFO and Taipei. Neither of these carriers are members of the Star Alliance, so United will have a strong competitive advantage among hard-core Mileage Plus fans on the 6,500 mile, 13-hour route. [Update: EVA will soon be a full fledged member of the Star Alliance.]

Have you had a chance to fly on one of United’s revamped B777s yet? If not, take a peek at what The BAT saw at SFO’s maintenance base where these 11-13 year-old 777’s are getting their makeovers.

In related news, United announced this week that it will take delivery of its very first Boeing 787 Dreamliner this September, but has yet to divulge a specific inaugural route.Unfortunately, Hart told The BAT that there are no current plans to deploy the much anticipated Dreamliner at SFO this year.

Where would YOU like to see United fly nonstop from SFO?? Please leave your comments below. 

If this information was helpful to you, please subscribe to The BAT via e-mail- and tell your friends about it, too!


Subscribe to The BAT via e-mail!

Follow @cjmcginnis



  • Bob

    I’d love to see more non-stop flights to Europe from SFO all around. Rome would be a good start.

  • John

    I think a 747-400 would be too big with AF, and XL airways now in the running to Paris. Guess United’s 767-300s are within 15 years of age. Seems like the newer versions of the 777 would be suitable, but are likely assigned to other routes and for backup on those routes. The 787 situation hasn’t helped, but SFO wasn’t due for one for awhile, I guess ? Too bad with this 787 situation. It may be awhile as they seem to have to go through each of the flown aircraft with a fine tooth comb.

  • Ori

    SFO-TLV would be a winner- lots of silicon valley business

  • Adam

    United should discontinue their 2x daily to Tokyo Narita(NRT), and should just keep one daily 747 service, instead of a daily 747+777. And they should bring back discontinued routes!

  • Armando Chavez

    United should fly to Manila. Haven’t they seen the long lines for every flight to Manila? Almost every Philippine Air Lines flight to Manila is full.

  • Brad

    @Peter J: Don’t forget Swiss! Nonstop to Zurich. :)

  • chris

    Hi Wonder Woman: It’s confusing, but there we are talking two different carriers here. China Air is Taiwan-based. Air China is based in Beijing- Mainland China- and is indeed a Star Alliance partner.

  • chris

    Ramon: I’ve heard UAL say that they plan to have DEN-NRT as a 787 route, but that it won’t start until next Spring, therefore not the inaugural since UAL announced that they’ll get their first 787 this Sept.

  • WonderWomanUSA

    >>Currently there are two carriers, China Air and Eva Air, offering nonstops between SFO and Taipei. Neither of these carriers are members of the Star Alliance, so United will have a strong competitive advantage among hard-core Mileage Plus fans on the 6,500 mile, 13-hour route. [Update: EVA will soon be a full fledged member of the Star Alliance.<<

    Air China is apparently part of the Star Alliance; do you think there's room for two China-based airlines? I just booked a flight using United FF miles to Delhi via Beijing on Air China.

  • Peter J

    Looks like 2013 will be great for Star Alliance members in SFO. Going from 3 (FRA, LHR, MUC) to 5 direct destinations in Europe with United reopening Paris and SAS opening a CPH - SFO route. I think many are going to stop over in CPH instead of FRA on their way to Europe.

  • Ramon

    United has actually announced a new Denver-Tokyo non-stop, for the inaugural route of the Dreamliner.

  • P lam

    Please add BER Berlin when new single airport opens 2013 also

  • P lam

    United. Please add no stops SFO to
    SJU San Juan. Gateway to Caribbean
    LGW Gatwick. Lhr a mess for connections in Europe
    SIN Singapore. or BKK Bangkok
    MIA Miami. Gateway to Latin America
    SXM St Maarten
    CPT Capetown. When range permits or JNB Johannesburg gateway to southern Africa
    MAD Madrid or better, BCN Barcelona
    GIG Rio or Sao Paolo
    EZE Buenos Aires
    MRS Marseille
    Moscow. Gateway to Russia and former CIS

  • Scott

    I would like to see US increase its coverage of SFO (nonstop) flights to the following:
    - DXB (Dubai)
    - CAI (Cairo)
    - MNL (Manila)
    - SIN (Singapore)
    - HAM (Hamburg)
    - MXP (Milan)

  • MissouriMike

    I believe Alitalia had a brief non-stop SFO-Milan several years ago and then ran into some financial trouble right? Also a shout out to Tony’s list and especially the wish for a nonstop SFO-Tel Aviv route. That would be incredible!

  • chris

    +1 on Aer Lingus coming back, Brad! I miss seeing that big green plane flying over SF! Always an easy one to spot.

  • Brad

    +1 for wishing Alitalia would fly to SFO, but not sure how the Air France KLM takeover might affect this. Also crossing my fingers that Aer Lingus will one day return.

  • Tony

    Hopefully the Boeing 787 can open up new destination possibilities.

  • MissouriMike

    Good news about SAS starting up non-stop service into Copenhagen next year. New airline & city!

  • chris

    I def agree about Rome. I bet Alitalia will jump on SFO>Rome FCO if UAL does not…. and that’s based on the number of Italian tourists I see in my neighborhood in SF these days! AND… the number of folks I know here that go to Italy often.

  • MissouriMike

    Yeah, I was hoping for flights to places SFO has never served before. Like “Blah” said these are reinstatements of past offerings. Nice, but I’d love to see SFO non-stops to Bangkok, Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City), Singapore, Mumbai, New Delhi, Bangalore, in Asia & a non-stop to Rome. Why don’t we have any non-stops into Italy for crying out loud?

  • Tony

    Good news about the increased international service from SFO.

    My UAL wish-list:

    SFO-Manila (non-stop both ways)
    SFO-Brisbane (the one in Queensland)
    SFO-Tel Aviv
    SFO-Sao Paulo

  • chris

    Thanks Rod! Good point. Sorry I missed that. Which carrier would you prefer to fly, EVA or UAL?

  • Rod

    EVA’s application to join the Star Alliance was approved back in March. http://www.staralliance.com/en/press/eva-air-prp/

    Since then, they have begun a partnership agreement with UA for miles and award flights. It’s nice that UA will be flying this route, but what’s really needed is the restoration of the LAX-HKG flight and the start of the SFO-CAN flights, said flight was grabbed by UA several years ago and sat on since.

  • Blah

    These aren’t new routes, they’re merely reinstating routes that they used to fly.

  • chris

    Hey Brad: I agree. I was hoping United would announce SFO-Sao Paulo or SFO-Mumbai.

  • Brad

    Great news to see the new flights, but it’s a shame that United’s offering service on routes that are already served by other carriers. It would be nice to see flights into markets that aren’t currently served by SFO, like southeast Asia, Brazil, or even northern Africa.