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The 777-300ER may be United’s flagship, but good luck actually managing to fly it — the airline only has 14 of Boeing’s largest jets in its fleet, and, with the exception of a couple 767-300ERs, this particular 777 is your only opportunity to experience UA’s much-improved Polaris biz seat.
For that reason, it’s especially exciting when the airline adds its new 777 to an existing route. So far, it’s available on:
- Newark to Tel Aviv
- Newark to Tokyo
- San Francisco to Hong Kong
- San Francisco to Tokyo
- San Francisco to Taipei
- San Francisco to Beijing
- San Francisco to Frankfurt
- San Francisco to Auckland
- San Francisco to Tel Aviv (launching May 23, 2018)
And now United has added the 777-300ER to another route out of Newark. Seasonal service to Frankfurt is scheduled to begin on March 24, running through July 31, at which point the flight will be operated by a 777-200ER with the old 2-2-2 business-class seats.
This 777-300ER is likely coming from the seasonal San Francisco-Auckland (AKL) route, which runs through March 22 and resumes on October 27, 2018. Given that two aircraft are required to operate that flight, it’s possible that we’ll see the new 777 pop up on another summer flight as well.
There’s plenty of upgrade availability, including on the “inaugural” flight:
Miraculously, there are even a couple dates with business-class awards, priced at 60,000 MileagePlus miles, though I’m only seeing space in March at this point.
This is easily my favorite United business product — seats are arranged in a 1-2-1 configuration, and there’s decent privacy regardless of which you pick.
Note that while the 777-300ER represents an upgrade in business class, it’s definitely a step down in coach. Economy and Economy Plus seats are arranged in a dense 3-4-3 configuration, allowing United to carry more customers at the expense of passenger comfort.
That said, TPG contributor J. Keith van Straaten loved his Economy Plus flight to Taipei on this same plane, and if you end up with an empty seat next to you as he did on his transpacific journey, the 17-inch-wide seats may actually be manageable.
If you’re interested in booking a biz-class award or confirming an upgrade from economy at booking, I’d make a reservation sooner than later, since this plane is likely to be a hit once passengers catch wind of the comfort boost — and business availability.
Know before you go.
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