United is looking to give is current daily flights between New York (Newark) and Shanghai a major frequency boost that would see the service become a double daily offering from June 2020 onwards.
The US carrier has submitted an application to the US Department of Transportation (DoT) to increase frequency of the route and already has particular time slots in mind, though the boost is still subject to government approval.
According to United’s proposed schedule, the additional service will take off from Newark Liberty International Airport in New York (UA109) in at 1545 and arrive in Shanghai the following evening at 1840. The return leg (UA108) will then fly out of Shanghai the morning after at 1010 and land back at Newark at 1245 the same day.
United has faced challenges with its services to mainland China in recent years, having been forced to axe both its Hangzhou and Xian flights from San Francisco due to them no longer being economically viable.
The New York-Shanghai route, however, appears to be faring much better, with United’s CEO, Oscar Munoz, describing the double-daily boost as being “in response to the demand for travel between each country’s financial centre, which has grown annually for the last several years”.
While travellers will have quite a wait on their hands until mid-2020 to see the additional daily flight, its addition undoubtedly will be a welcome one for regular travellers between New York and China.
United is currently the only US carrier that flies non-stop from New York to the Chinese mainland, and one of just two airlines that fly non-stop between New York and Shanghai, the other being China Eastern.
As with the existing daily flights, United’s Boeing 777-200 aircraft will fly the additional service, which as part of its ongoing fleet revamp process should all eventually be getting the airline’s new Polaris fully flat seats in the business class cabin.
That being said, the 777-200 currently flying daily between New York and Shanghai continues to offer United’s older business class seat product, though hopefully all 777-200s will have been retrofitted with the new Polaris seat by mid-2020.
This would complement the opening in June this year of the carrier’s new Polaris Lounge at Newark airport – one of a number of new Polaris Lounges that United has opened this year across its hubs in the US.
United currently operates more than 90 flights per week between the US and Greater China.