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United Airlines to resume China flights on July 8

June 29, 2020
3 min read
United Airlines to resume China flights on July 8
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United Airlines will resume its service to Shanghai on July 8, making it the second US carrier to return to China.

The Chicago-based carrier will operate twice a week between its San Francisco hub and Shanghai Pudong (PVG) with a crew stop at Seoul Incheon (ICN). The flights will depart on Wednesdays and Saturdays and will return from Shanghai on Thursdays and Sundays.

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  • UA857: outbound departs San Francisco at 11 a.m. Wednesdays and Saturdays (all times local) and arrives Shanghai at 5:45 p.m. the next day. The itinerary includes a stop in Seoul.
  • UA858: inbound departs Shanghai at 9:40 p.m. Thursdays and Sundays (all times local) and arrives San Francisco at 8:55 p.m. on the same day. The itinerary includes a stop in Seoul.

The flights will be operated on a Boeing 777-300ER (77W), which has 60 lie-flat Polaris business-class seats in a modified 1-2-1 configuration. However, passengers may not get the full Polaris experience that they had hoped for just yet — many airlines have still shuttered their lounges, including the Polaris Lounge in SFO. At the moment, only the United Club is open in Terminal 3 near Gate F11.

"Resuming service to Shanghai from the United States is a significant step in rebuilding our international network," Patrick Quayle, United's VP of International Network and Alliances, said in a press release.

Review: A review of United 777-300ER in Polaris business class

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The carrier's Shanghai service comes after Delta had resumed its own service last Thursday from its Seattle hub. Unlike United, Delta plans to split its Shanghai routes to Seattle and Detroit. Delta's flights also include a stop in Seoul.

United is also resuming some of its other Asia-Pacific routes during July from San Francisco, such as Seoul, Hong Kong and Singapore.

Prior to the pandemic, United offered the most services to China of all U.S. carriers and the carrier seemed eager to reclaim that throne. Specifically, United was hoping to re-launch its service to Shanghai from both Newark (EWR) and San Francisco — as well as service between Beijing Capital (PEK) and San Francisco.

The airline had to swallow its ambitions, however, as the Civil Aviation Authority of China (CAAC) is only allowing two round-trip flights per week for U.S. carriers. The U.S. Department of Transportation is matching that policy at this time for Chinese carriers to "maintain the parity in scheduled passenger services," the latest update in a back-and-forth aviation spat between the countries.

United's focus on the SFO to PVG route suggests the airline's desire to recapture the lucrative Silicon Valley market, as reports have shown that Apple alone used to buy 50 business class seats on that very route every day.

Despite the resumptions, passenger traffic on the routes is still expected to be limited. Foreign nationals remain prohibited from entering China, and the U.S. government is forbidding entry for anyone who has visited China within the 14 days prior to departure — though U.S. citizens and green card holders are exempt.

Related: A country-by-country guide to coronavirus recovery

Featured image by Frederic Tiberghien

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Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
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10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
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The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

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  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023