United postpones launch of San Francisco – Bengaluru non-stop flight to October 2022

In September 2020, United Airlines had made a big splash by announcing that they were going to launch flights between San Francisco and Bengaluru, potentially upsetting the applecart for American Airlines, which was planning a flight launch between Seattle and Bengaluru. While the American Airlines Seattle – Bengaluru flight is now postponed indefinitely, United is not having any great luck with its flight launch.

United’s 787

United first announced the launch of a non-stop flight between San Francisco – Bengaluru, which will be its longest flight when launched at 8,701 miles flown, setting a date for May 6, 2021. This announcement was made in September 2020. This announcement followed United’s launch of a non-stop between San Francisco and New Delhi in 2019 and Chicago and New Delhi in December 2020. Here are the original flight timings:

UA152 San Francisco (SFO) to Bengaluru (BLR) departing 6:55 PM arriving 12:50 AM (+2 days)
UA153 Bengaluru (BLR) to San Francisco (SFO) departing 3:55 AM arriving 8:30 AM

With the second wave of Covid-19 going strong in India at the time, however, United never got around to flying SFO-BLR, and it instead reset the date for the launch of the route to May 26, 2022 in a clutch of announcements made on October 14, 2021. Now, it turns out, United has pushed the route by another five months to October 2022.

In various schedule filings made by United over the weekend, United’s new SFO-BLR service will now kick off on October 28, 2022. The schedule for the flights is as follows:

UA152 San Francisco (SFO) to Bengaluru (BLR) departing 6:45 PM arriving 01:00 AM (+2 days)
UA153 Bengaluru (BLR) to San Francisco (SFO) departing 3:55 AM arriving 8:30 AM

Incidentally, Air India launched a flight on this route in January 2021 and has been developing the route for a long time. United is the most significant American airline offering services to India, and for a long time, they have known the market well and will launch when they are ready.

United will serve the route with a Boeing 787-9 aircraft, where certain modifications were to be made to the aircraft’s software to allow for increased engine thrust to allow for the (very) long flight. The 787-9s that United will use on the route will bring 257 passengers on board, including 48 in the Polaris business class. Behind the curtain, there are 21 premium economy seats, 39 extra-legroom economy seats and 149 standard economy seats. WiFi, power, and seatback IFE are available to all passengers.

United’s Polaris Cabin (Image Courtesy United.com)

It is not like these aircraft are held up at Boeing’s end due to the FAA Embargo on 787 deliveries, so the reason has to be either that United found a better route to use the 787-9 aircraft between May and October, or initial trends are not giving them the feeling that this flight would do well currently.

Bottomline

United has (yet again) postponed their non-stop flight between San Francisco and Bengaluru, moving the launch to the end of October 2022. If you were booked on this flight before then, reach out to United, and they should be able to reroute you on a different flight via Europe, or on their non-stop services from New York etc.

Have you heard about the reschedule of United’s new service to later in 2022?


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About Ajay

Ajay Awtaney is the Founder and Editor of Live From A Lounge (LFAL), a pioneering digital platform renowned for publishing news and views about aviation, hotels, passenger experience, loyalty programs, travel trends and frequent travel tips for the Global Indian. He is considered the Indian authority on business travel, luxury travel, frequent flyer miles, loyalty credit cards and travel for Indians around the globe. Ajay is a frequent contributor and commentator on the media as well, including ET Now, BBC, CNBC TV18, NDTV, Conde Nast Traveller and many other outlets.

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