United Airlines today announced that it will introduce non-stop flights between Melbourne and its Los Angeles International Airport hub, effective Oct. 28, 2014 (eastbound), subject to government approval. The airline will use Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft to operate the six-times-weekly service. United is the North American launch customer for the 787-9 and this will be its first international deployment of the aircraft type.
“We are excited about using the newest version of the game-changing Dreamliner, the 787-9, to provide non-stop trans-Pacific service from Melbourne for the first time,” said Jim Compton, United’s vice chairman and chief revenue officer. “This new service will benefit all our customers in Australia. Our Melbourne customers will enjoy faster journeys to Los Angeles and beyond, as well as improved inflight comfort and amenities, and at the same time we will seek to make changes to our Sydney schedule which will enable faster connections via our San Francisco and Los Angeles hubs to destinations throughout the Americas.”
Flight UA99 will depart Melbourne Airport at 11:15 a.m. on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday, arriving at Los Angeles International Airport at 6:50 a.m. the same day. On Saturday, UA99 will depart Melbourne at 3:15 p.m. and arrive at Los Angeles International Airport at 10:50 a.m. the same day.
The return flight, UA98, will depart Los Angeles International Airport at 10:30 p.m. on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, arriving in Melbourne at 9:15 a.m. two days later. On Thursday, UA98 will depart Los Angeles International Airport at 9:30 p.m., arriving in Melbourne at 8:15 a.m. two days later.
During the period when U.S. daylight saving time does not apply (early November to March), flights will arrive and depart from Melbourne one hour earlier. Flying times will be approximately 14 hours, 35 minutes eastbound and 15 hours, 45 minutes westbound.
Convenient Connecting Flights
United has timed the new flights to connect conveniently at Los Angeles with an extensive network of service throughout the U.S.A., Canada and Latin America. United and United Express jointly operate nearly 200 flights daily from Los Angeles to more than 65 destinations. With this new service, United will provide convenient one-stop service between Melbourne and more than 37 U.S. cities.
Sydney Schedule Changes
With the launch of non-stop Melbourne-Los Angeles service, United will terminate service between Melbourne and Sydney. The airline will seek to retime its daily departures from Sydney to San Francisco and Los Angeles to allow a greater range of connections beyond the hubs and more convenient arrival times for customers travelling on connecting flights to New York and other East Coast destinations.
Onboard Products and Services
The Boeing 787-9 aircraft operating the new Melbourne-Los Angeles service will feature 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 seat reclines 180 degrees into a 1.98-m lie-flat bed and features an Audio/Video on Demand entertainment system with a 39-cm touch-screen monitor. BusinessFirst amenities include laptop power, USB ports and a multi-course meal with complimentary wines.
United Economy offers complimentary food, soft drinks, juices, tea, coffee and inflight entertainment. Seats feature an adjustable headrest and a 22.8-cm personal seat-back monitor delivering a multi-channel Audio/Video on Demand inflight entertainment system.
United Economy Plus offers up to 12.7cm of extra legroom. Located near the front of the Economy cabin, the seats give the added benefit of allowing a swifter exit from the plane upon arrival.
Power outlets are available throughout the aircraft.
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 daily flights from Sydney and Melbourne to its San Francisco and Los Angeles hubs. United also operates a twice-weekly service from Cairns to Guam. The airline will start introducing Boeing 777-200 aircraft to replace Boeing 747-400s on its trans-Pacific services from Australia, effective Mar. 29, 2014 (eastbound).