The San Francisco expansion includes nonstop year-round service from SFO to places like Auckland, New Zealand, Tahiti, French Polynesia, Amsterdam and Netherlands next year. It is also adding year-round service from SFO to Toronto and Melbourne, seasonal nonstop service to New Delhi, and daily flights to Seoul.
United CEO Oscar Munoz also announced that the company was in the final stages of testing an updated mobile app that will make flying much easier for United passengers. The new app could roll out as early as January, according to him.
“This route expansion solidifies United’s position at San Francisco as the gateway airline serving destinations across the Pacific, the continental United States, as well as to Europe and beyond,” United CEO Oscar Munoz stated.
With the announcement, United has made it clear that the company is laser-focused on transforming its growing hub at SFO into a major locus of international flying — not only to the Asia Pacific region but to other international destinations in North America and Europe.
United has also continued to aggressively add new international destinations from its largest East Coast hub at Newark Liberty International Airport.
According to a fact sheet about the Houston hub, United serves an average of 91 daily nonstop flights to 59 international destinations from there, including 50 destinations across Mexico, Latin America and the Caribbean; four European destinations; four in Canada; and one in Asia. In January, United launched a nonstop flight between Houston and Sydney. It was United’s third nonstop route between the U.S. and Sydney.
United’s announcement of new routes out of SFO comes on the eve of a global day of protest on December 13 by United’s 24,000-plus flight attendants over plans to cut a flight attendant from Polaris international business class cabins starting February 1.
“Instead of leading U.S. carriers and distinguishing United Airlines with superior safety and enhanced customer service, the airline is lowering its standards to follow American Airlines (Nasdaq: AAL) and Delta Air Lines (NYSE: DAL),” stated Ken Diaz, president of United’s flight attendant union.
In a conference call with reporters December 12, Munoz conceded the move to cut onboard staff was largely done to match onboard staffing at Delta and American.
United Airlines is a unit of Chicago-based United Continental Holdings Inc.