United 777-300ER With Polaris Seats to Fly San Francisco-Tokyo Route
Despite issues and delays with its Polaris seat manufacturer Zodiac, United's new Boeing 777-300ER's continue to be rolled out on the airline's international routes. The aircraft is already flying between San Francisco (SFO) and Hong Kong (HKG), and United previously confirmed the launch of 777-300ER flights between Newark (EWR) and Tel Aviv (TLV) starting May 5.
We now know the next city pair for the 777-300ER — San Francisco and Tokyo/Narita (NRT). Starting June 14, the new United aircraft will replace the 747-400 currently flying on the route. The schedule shows the flight, designated as United 837, departing daily from San Francisco at 11:45am and arriving at Narita Airport in Tokyo at 2:35pm the next day.
The return flight, numbered as United 838, departs Narita at 5:10pm and arrives back in San Francisco at 10:55am. Since it's highly unlikely the airline would be able to turn the same plane around for the 11:45am flight back to Japan in just 50 minutes, it seems the actual 777-300ER planes will rotate between the Tokyo and Hong Kong routes out of SFO.
Needless to say, saver-level award space is nearly impossible to find at this time, though if you're desperate to fly the Polaris seats using miles, you can pay the exorbitant standard one-way award price of 170,000 MileagePlus miles. But we don't recommend it.
United 777-300ER aircraft are configured without a first class cabin, so first class seats disappear on this route after June 13. Instead, there are 60 Polaris business class seats, 102 Economy Plus seats and 204 standard Economy seats in a rather tight 10-across 3-4-3 seat configuration.
TPG Editor-in-Chief Zach Honig has already flown four legs in the new Polaris seats on the 777-330ER — on the media preview flight, from Newark to San Francisco on a special inaugural flight, on the route between Hong Kong and San Francisco and onward to Newark. He writes that this is his "favorite business-class seat offered by a US airline at this moment," so it's certainly welcome news that the delays by Zodiac don't seem to be preventing United from adding 777-300ER routes for now.
H/T: Routes Online