[ Airlines ]October 5, 2020 6:15 am ET
By Pablo Diaz
United Resumes Nonstop Service to Shanghai
In an important ramp up following Chinese market recovery, United Airlines yesterday announced it will start a four-times-weekly nonstop service to China between San Francisco International Airport and Shanghai’s Pudong International Airport.
Beginning Oct. 21, the carrier will operate four weekly nonstop flights with Boeing 777-300ER aircraft from San Francisco to Shanghai on Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. Customers traveling from Shanghai will return to San Francisco on Mondays, Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays.
United will continue operating four weekly flights between San Francisco and Shanghai and beginning Oct. 21 but will eliminate the stop in Seoul. In 2019, the company operated five daily flights between Shanghai and its hubs in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago and New York.
“United continues playing a critical role in keeping people and global supply chains connected to Shanghai and to cities around the world,” said Patrick Quayle, United’s vice president of International Network and Alliances. “We look forward to resuming nonstop service and offering our customers greater convenience and shorter flight times between San Francisco and Shanghai.”
United was the first U.S. airline to mandate masks for flight attendants, quickly following with all customers and employees, and it is expected to enforce the same policy in this long haul flight. United was also among the first U.S. carriers to announce it wouldn’t permit customers who refused to comply with the airline’s mandatory mask policy to fly with them while the face mask policy is in place.
United was also the first U.S. airline to roll out touchless check-in for customers with bags and the first to require passengers to take an online health assessment before traveling. The airline also recently announced it will apply Zoono Microbe Shield — an Environmental Protection Agency-registered antimicrobial coating that forms a long-lasting bond with surfaces and inhibits the growth of microbes — to its entire mainline and express fleet before the end of the year.
There were reports that the company is evaluating a possible return to JFK airport for its international operations, after a 5-year hiatus, and the ramp-up of the route to Shanghai is a positive sign that a much-needed recovery is starting to show. After reaching an agreement with its Air Line Pilots Association chapter that will delay any furlough in the pilot group until at least June 2021 and with reduced exposure in terms of fleet renewal, United can only expect the upcoming months to become a challenging time but aimed at a slow rebuilding rather than just survival.