United Airlines (Chicago) today announced that it will introduce nonstop flights between its hub at Los Angeles International Airport and Melbourne, Australia, effective on October 26, 2014 (westbound), subject to government approval. The airline will fly the route six times weekly with new Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft. United is the North American launch customer for the 787-9, and this will be its first international deployment of the aircraft type.
Flight UA 98 will depart Los Angeles at 10:30 p.m. (2230) daily except Tuesday and Thursday and arrive in Melbourne at 9:15 a.m. (0915) two days later (all times local). On Thursday, flight UA 98 will depart Los Angeles at 9:30 p.m. (2130) and arrive in Melbourne at 8:15 a.m. (0815) two days later (all times local). The flights to Melbourne will not operate on Tuesdays.
On the return, flight UA 99 will depart Melbourne at 11:15 a.m. (1115) daily except Thursday and Saturday and arrive at Los Angeles International Airport at 6:50 a.m. (0650) the same day. On Saturday, flight UA 99 will depart Melbourne at 3:15 p.m. (1515) and arrive in Los Angeles at 10:50 a.m.(1050) the same day. The flights to Los Angeles will not operate on Thursday.
Flying times will be approximately 15 hours, 45 minutes westbound, and 14 hours, 35 minutes eastbound.
Sydney Schedule Changes
With the launch of nonstop Los Angeles-Melbourne service, United will end service between Melbourne and Sydney. The airline will seek to retime its daily departures from San Francisco and Los Angeles to Sydney in order to allow a greater range of connections beyond the hubs and to provide more convenient arrival times for customers on connecting flights from Sydney to New York and other East Coast destinations.
Onboard Products and Services
The Boeing 787-9 aircraft operating the new Los Angeles-Melbourne service will offer a total of 252 seats – 48 in United BusinessFirst and 204 in United Economy, including 63 Economy Plus seats with added legroom and increased personal space.
United BusinessFirst offers a superior business-class service. The BusinessFirst flat-bed seat reclines 180 degrees and features an on-demand entertainment system with touch-screen monitors. BusinessFirst amenities include power outlets, USB ports and multi-course meals with complimentary premium wines and spirits.
Economy Plus seats offer up to five inches of extra legroom, and both Economy Plus and United Economy seats feature adjustable headrests, power outlets and personal seat-back monitors delivering a multi-channel inflight entertainment system on demand.
Boeing 787 Dreamliner
The 787 Dreamliner is revolutionizing the flying experience for United customers and crews while delivering unprecedented operating efficiency, comfort and lower emissions. Customers experience greater comfort with improved lighting, bigger windows, larger overhead bins, lower cabin altitude and enhanced ventilation systems, among other passenger-friendly features. The aircraft’s use of lightweight composites, together with its modern engines and improved aerodynamic design, allow it to fly farther, faster and more efficiently than similar-sized conventional aircraft.
United is the 787 North American launch customer and now has nine Dreamliners in its fleet. The airline has a further 56 Dreamliners on order and expects to take delivery of five more from Boeing, including its first two 787-9s, by the end of 2014.
United in Australia
United started service to Australia in 1979 and today operates more flights to more destinations in Australia than any other U.S. carrier, with daily flights from its San Francisco and Los Angeles hubs to Sydney and Melbourne and twice-weekly service to Cairns from Guam. The airline will begin introducing Boeing 777-200 aircraft to replace Boeing 747-400s on its trans-Pacific services to Australia at the end of March 2014.
Copyright Photo: Michael B. Ing/AirlinersGallery.com. United currently operates the original 787-8. 787-8 N27908 (man 36400) departs from Los Angeles International Airport.