United Airlines to introduce the Boeing 787-9 internationally from Los Angeles to Melbourne, Australia on October 26

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 Schedule

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.

United Airlines (current): AG Slide Show


One thought on “United Airlines to introduce the Boeing 787-9 internationally from Los Angeles to Melbourne, Australia on October 26

  1. No Fly Zone

    That’s a great update from UA. While the 787 is designed for those super-long hauls on a cost-effective basis, cutting back to 252 seats on the -9, replacing 744 and 772 aircraft will probably mean very full airplanes: great for UA, but possibly unpleasant for customers on a 15:45 west-bound trip. While not a record, that is a loooong flight. Attempting to start that route with only their first -9 is a stretch. I wonder what they will use as backup aircraft when the single, brand new -9 needs some break-in maintenance. (We know that it will…) Life will be easier when the second airplane arrives. Of course UA will make a big splash when this service begins, but for the longer term, they are NOT known for excellence in long-haul, international service. When a long flight is blocked at 6-8 hours, some pax will just suffer in silence. When the flight is close to **16** hours, a measure of improved human services and comforts simply are necessary. Can (or will) UA deliver? At the very least, I hope that they try to keep the interiors clean; after nearly 16 blocked hours, a lot of human debris will accumulate. And again, UA is not well known for their housekeeping. In the end, I suspect that UA’s introduction of the -9, from Los Angeles to Melbourne (with only one airplane at the beginning) is some kind of test for their own systems. Time will tell. My $0.05 bet says that they will delay this service until they have at least two, well-proven airframes full in service. And, as reliable as UA can be for U.S. domestic service, I avoid them for international when possible. IMO, they still don’t get the message about flights over 7-8 hours.

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