Singapore Airlines plans to compete United Airlines’ direct Singapore-San Francisco route

Frequent travellers with United would probably know that they have become the first airline to re-launch a direct flight between San Francisco and Singapore, using the 787-9 Dreamliner. Prior to this, Singapore Airlines was the only airline to have provided a direct Singapore to North America flight on the Airbus A340s with an all Business class cabin. United Airlines, though offers Economy class on top of the Business class cabin, though I am not sure I would be enticed to fly this long route on United Airlines’ economy. I would rather take a connecting flight with Singapore Airlines or other Asian airlines for that matter to cross the Pacific.

United Boeing 787
United Boeing 787 at Denver

Even though Singapore Airlines and United are part of the same Star Alliance, this United flight does not have any code share, and with the lesser capacity of a 787, there really is no need to share the capacity with other airlines I guess.

SIA A350
Rendering of Singapore Airlines’ Airbus A350. Picture from Airbus

According to Singapore Airlines’ press release, they will fly direct from Singapore to San Francisco and this flight will be operated daily beginning from 23 October 2016 using the new Airbus A350-900.

With the changes as a result of the direct routing, Singapore Airlines will also alter its flight schedules. Currently Singapore Airlines flies from Singapore to San Francisco via Hong Kong (SQ 1/2 flight) and via Seoul-Incheon (SQ 15/16 flight). Singapore Airlines will re-route SQ 15/16 to fly to Los Angeles instead. This will result in 2 flights daily leaving from Singapore to both San Francisco and Los Angeles.

It should be noted though that these flights are subject to regulatory approvals and Singapore Airlines’ A350 would not be expected to feature any First class seats. Currently, Singapore Airlines have a fleet of 3 A350s that plies the Singapore-Amsterdam route along with some regional flights to Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur and Jakarta, and they have a capacity of 42 Business class seats, 24 Premium Economy seats and 187 Economy class seats. With the full flat and all-aisle access onboard Singapore Airlines’ A350, the Business class cabins would be supremely more comfortable than United’s 2-2-2 seating arrangement on the 787. This should give the United flight immense competition.


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