United Airlines is about to resume its longest flight — for now

Nov 17, 2021

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

United’s longest route is making a comeback in the new year.

The carrier’s flight from San Francisco (SFO) to Singapore (SIN) is set to resume four times a week effective Jan. 5. The 8,500-mile journey will be operated using a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner featuring the airline’s latest Polaris business class seat and its premium economy product, Premium Plus.

Want more airline-specific news? Sign up for TPG’s free new biweekly Aviation newsletter!

United’s 787-9 features the airline’s latest Polaris business class seat. (Photo by Zach Honig/The Points Guy)

The westbound flight, United Flight 1, will depart SFO at 10:30 p.m. and arrive two days later in Singapore at 7:40 a.m., a 17-hour and 25-minute trip across the Pacific Ocean. The eastbound return flight, United Flight 2, departs Singapore at 10:10 a.m. and arrives in San Francisco at 8:50 a.m., a significantly faster 14 hours and 35 minutes — due to tailwinds.

The route debuted in 2016, and was included in an early wave of COVID-19-related route suspensions that United announced at the beginning of March 2020.

For now, it’ll take the spot as the longest in all of United’s network – taking back the title from the Houston-Sydney route that the carrier launched just in 2018. However, that route was pulled down at the beginning of the pandemic – and the prospects for its return are thought to be shaky, at best. But even that could be short-lived. United’s planned San Francisco-Bangalore route will be even longer if it begins as currently planned on May 26. That route was originally slated to begin in the summer of 2021, but has been postponed because of the pandemic.

As for the relaunched Singapore service, these flights will operate in accordance with the Singapore government’s Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) program, which allows travelers to avoid quarantine upon arrival. Before booking, know that these VTL requirements are quite stringent.

More: When will international travel return? A country-by-country guide to coronavirus recovery

Proof of vaccination is required, and not just a CDC vaccination record card. Americans must produce either a digital SMART Health Card linked to their vaccination record, a digital vaccination record retrieved through a state or local public health database or the physical vaccination records and a letter from the vaccination provider attesting to vaccination status. A series of PCR tests are also required: one taken with two days of departure, and another taken on arrival at Singapore. Finally, travelers must present proof of a health insurance policy that is valid for the duration of their stay in Singapore and covers a minimum of SGD $30,000.

Redeeming MileagePlus miles for a Polaris seat on this route will run you 180,000 miles and $5.60 in taxes and fees, round trip. TPG currently values MileagePlus miles at 1.3 cents/mile, and with the equivalent cash fares as high as $5,000, this represents an excellent redemption. A Polaris ticket also gains you access to the Polaris Lounge in San Francisco, which is set to reopen early in 2022.

Featured photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy.

Editor’s note: This post has been updated to reflect where United’s Singapore-San Francisco route compares to two other long-haul United routes that are not currently operating.

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Earn 90,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer ends 8/3/2022.

With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer ends 8/3/2022.
  • Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs up to two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
  • Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide including takeout and delivery in the U.S., and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $80 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck® after you apply through any Authorized Enrollment Provider. If approved for Global Entry, at no additional charge, you will receive access to TSA PreCheck.
  • Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $250 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Regular APR
17.24%-26.24% Variable
Annual Fee
Balance Transfer Fee
Recommended Credit
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.