United Airlines has announced a change of aircraft type when it recommences it's seasonal route between Auckland (AKL) and San Fracncisco (SFO) at the end of October.
When the route originally launched in July 2016 it was operated by a Boeing 787-8 aircraft and later changed to a Boeing 777-200ER. In January 2017 it was suddenly announced the route would be suspended for the Northern Hemisphere winter and would begin flying again in October 2017 with a Boeing 787-9 aircraft.
United has now announced that the route will be operated by its brand new Boeing 777-300ER aircraft. United have received 14 of these aircraft since the start of the year, and have another 4 aircraft due for delivery by the end of 2017. This aircraft includes an entirely new cabin fitout featuring it's all new Polaris business class offering.
The new Polaris business class features 1-2-1 seating with direct aisle access and premium bedding. Those sitting at the pointy end may well find the Polaris offering better than Air New Zealand's current Business Premier offering on its Boeing 777-200ER and 777-300ER aircraft that it operates on the Auckland to San Francisco route. Polaris customers will also have access to the new United Polaris lounge at San Francisco International Airport that is due to open in early 2018.
For those flying in Economy you'll find 3-4-3 seating giving a 17" seat width with 3" recline and 31" seat pitch. Those sitting in Economy Plus will find the same seats but with a 4" recline and 34" seat pitch. All seats feature touchscreen inflight entertainment along with USB and mains power. United has onboard WiFi, something Air New Zealand will begin trialling later in 2017 before a launch in 2018.
Flights will operate 6x weekly from October 29th thru December 17th, and 7x weekly from December 18th thru March 22nd 2018.
UA916 departs Auckland at 1530 arriving in San Francisco at 0650 on the same day
UA917 departs San Francisco at 2245 arriving in Auckland 0855 (+2 days)
*All images courtesy of United Airlines