On 28 October United Airlines introduced a second flight connecting San Francisco with Asia’s ‘Little Red Dot’, Singapore, following the great success of its initial service between the popular destinations, launched in June 2016.
Wanting to find out a little more I grabbed some face time with Laurence Chin, United’s country manager in Singapore – not to mention an experienced and knowledgeable veteran of both cities, to pick his brains about the new flight and what passengers touching down in San Francisco for the first time, can expect from the known locally, as simply, ‘The City’.
What has been the main drive for UA to introduce a second route between SIN and SFO?
Well, the booking rate of the SIN-SFO route has matched our original expectations for the route and we have decided to commence an addition of a second daily nonstop flight to help meet the increasing demand for travelling between Singapore and the US
By adding-on to the current morning departure from Singapore, customers can choose to depart in the evening; allowing for more flexibility and ease of travel.
What are the advantages of flying at night?
Now, that’s a great question and deserves a great answer. Following more than 12,000 hours of research, United identified sleep as a priority for its business class passengers. And the United Polaris experience provides international travellers with what they’ve asked for: better sleep in the sky.
We’ve spent years gathering feedback from our customers, incorporating it into everything from seat design to dining options, and fine-tuning each element of our service to ensure that we’re providing an experience that not only meets customers’ needs, but goes above and beyond.
By adjusting the schedule to twice-daily service between SIN and SFO, we can now offer customers travelling between SIN and the US more choice with optimal departure and arrival times to meet their needs. Night flights will allow customers to check-in to their accommodation upon arrival, allowing them to have a good night’s rest and avoid the effects of being jet-lagged.
How does the new flight fit with UA’s Asia strategy and will there be any further new routes coming to the region in the next few months?
Our immediate focus is to have successful twice-daily SIN-SFO service. But, Singapore is an important business and leisure destination for United and we remain committed to serving the Singapore market. However, we will also continue to closely monitor the region and are ready to add capacity whenever we see profitable demand.
For passengers flying in from Singapore SFO is our largest hub on the West Coast and United’s premier gateway to Asia Pacific, providing Singapore travellers an easy and convenient connection to the US, both domestic and international destinations. Indeed, United serves 31 daily nonstop flights to 24 international destinations from SFO, including: nonstop flights to four destinations across Mexico, Latin America and the Caribbean; three destinations in Canada and six cities in Europe and the Middle East.
What can passengers flying to San Francisco for the first time expect from the city?
Wow, so much. Picture yourself driving across the Golden Gate Bridge. Now see yourself sitting down to eat something for dinner caught fresh that day at Fisherman’s Wharf. Or, you could start your day watching the sea lions at Pier 39 and dining at the Presido after strolling through the gardens of the Golden Gate Park. There’s plenty to pack into the rest of your day as well, including a trolley ride to Haight Ashbury or Chinatown or a boat ride to Alcatraz.
If visitors are wine fans then our daily flights from San Francisco to Santa Rosa, a super short flight, just 16 minutes, takes them to California’s Sonoma wine country – a perfect weekend escape destination.
For something little further out; with our strong SFO hub — United has the best connectivity in the US – we provide Singapore customers with access to nearly 80 cities throughout the US including New York, Boston, Philadelphia and Dallas all via San Francisco.
So what about the other way, what will passengers new to Singapore find when they touch down?
For first timers, it is the perfect introduction to Asian culture and is a remarkable location. Imagine a city where you are empowered to follow your passions, whether you’re a foodie, adventurer or socialiser at heart; Singapore connects you with like-minded people and experiences. No matter what you choose to explore.
Some insider tips for foodies, make sure to try the world’s first Michelin-starred street food in Singapore – Chef Chan’s award-winning Soya Sauce Chicken Rice & Noodle in Chinatown, and Hill Street Tai Hwa Pork Noodle in Kallang – along with all the other irresistible street food dishes like Laksa, Nasi Lemak, Rojak and Roti Prata which can be found in Singapore’s famous hawker centres (indoor food markets) all over the city.
Singapore is also home to six of the 50 best cocktail bars in the world – these include the Manhattan, Atlas, Operation Dagger, 28 HongKong Street, Tippling Club and Native.
Why fly United?
At United, it is our mission to not only meet, but exceed our customers’ travel needs by increasing the ease of doing business and providing customers with more flexibility and choice. The addition of a second flight on the SIN-SFO route enables our Singapore customers to arrive in the evening and ample time to rest up before proceeding with their plans in San Francisco.
Can you tell me more about Polaris?
It’s is a reinvention of our international premium cabin travel experience, offering elevated comfort and service, from lounge to landing, for restful sleep in the air. With that in mind, along with features like access to our exclusive United Polaris lounges, there is also a custom-designed personal onboard suite with added privacy, comfort and convenience; sleep-focused amenities like custom Saks Fifth Avenue luxury bedding and spa-quality Cowshed products from Soho House & Co.
On United’s 787-9 Dreamliner, customers will experience greater comfort with improved lighting, bigger windows, larger overhead bins, lower cabin altitude and enhanced ventilation systems, among other passenger-friendly features. Travellers can also enjoy United Polaris business class inflight service, from enhanced dining to restful sleep, on any long-haul international flight across our global network.