That Was Fast: United Will Stop Flying Los Angeles – Singapore on Route’s One Year Anniversary

United just launched non-stop Los Angeles – Singapore service on October 27. They’ve been flying with a Boeing 787-9 using old business class seats.

At 8770 miles it is slightly shorter than Dubai – Auckland (Emirates, 8824 miles) and Doha – Auckland (Qatar, 9032 miles).

United’s Existing B/E Aerospace Diamond Business Class Seats As Shown on a Boeing 757, Similar to Their Existing 787 Business Class

United also flies non-stop San Francisco – Singapore and dropped Tokyo – Singapore service once they started doing so. Singapore Airlines also competes non-stop San Francisco – Singapore.

Image courtesy United Airlines

Via the assiduous Brian Sumers United will be dropping Los Angeles – Singapore on that route’s one year anniversary, and adding a second San Francisco non-stop.

That means there will be three San Francisco – Singapore non-stop flights, as United doubles down on competition with its intra-alliance frenemie Singapore Airlines.

As for opportunities in the Los Angeles – Singpapore market American Airlines said in March they wouldn’t consider the route and that ultra long haul flying takes up too much aircraft time and has too high an opportunity cost.

Singapore Airlines on the other hand launches non-stop Newark – Singapore service October 12 potentially capturing some of the New York connecting traffic that might have gone through Los Angeles. They’ll be adding Los Angeles – Singapore non-stop next year as well. Both flights will be operated by ultra long range versions of the Airbus A350.

Cost aside, it’s genuinely hard to imagine choosing to fly United non-stop to Singapore over Singapore Airlines, doubly so in business class with United’s old seats and no announced plan to add new Polaris seats to Boeing 787 aircraft. Singapore, by the way, offers perhaps the world’s best long haul economy product.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. I’ll take SQ seats and their friendly caring flight attendants any day over the surly United flight attendants who like to shame their customers on the Internet.

  2. Ugh, the latest example of United half-assing it in LAX. IIRC they flew LAX-HKG for a short while before dropping it. More recently LAX-LHR was to get a second frequency – but I think it was dropped before it even began flying. I could be imagining it but didn’t UA fly LAX-CDG back in the day, too? It’s always one step forward one step back with United in LAX, it seems

  3. I am not surprised, those seats in economy are horrendous. Nothing would get me flying that route in the back of the bus. Flight that nightmares are made of, if you could sleep without leg pains.

  4. A big duh! As seat comfort in Y and B on UA has tanked, and its F&B Service has never been anything to call home about, UA could offer 3 x miles on its devalued mileage program and non-stop; and Singapore Air could revert to a one-stop; but who in their right mind would still not pick Singapore Air??!!

    Obviously, the legacy US 3 suck and perpetually fail in all aspects of any sense of competition with world carriers! Like who would pick any one of the US3 against Lufthansa, Swiss, Austrian, Quantas, New Zealand Air, SAS, etc?

    The US3 fly overseas with the same nickel & dime mentality they invoke flying ORD-LGA. It’s like the executives of the US3 cut their teeth at Amtrak!

    Keep your miles UA—I want a great seat with terrific F&B service on a clean plane with everything properly working. Welcome Singapore Air!

  5. Well that didn’t last long…mediocre service, seats, food, LAX lounge (fine just for domestic flights)…great other than that though!

  6. For someone like me who has to connect from mid-West, a morning departure out of LAX or SFO is out of the question, so Singapore are idiots for having only that one option available. Not to mention their prices are 2x of United.

    I flew UA in the very back in coach once, it’s really pretty decent considering I got last minute flight with one week notice with miles. If SQ actually got their head out of their a$$ and made awards available or cash prices reasonable, I’d fly them too.

    As for business class, why would ANYONE pay cash or miles to fly Star Alliance from Asia if they have a connection in US? You get no lounge access on arrival, and have to fly in a junk domestic UA plane for a good portion of the trip.

  7. The UA flight will be filled with corporate contract travelers that have no choice but to fly United. With the UA and SQ flights operating at about the same time, these travelers won’t be able to manipulate the flight timings to only show the flights they want to take.

  8. I will take UA seats any day. If they used Polaris it would be game over. SQ seats are horrible – can’t even sleep without calling an FA to make the bed. And if you want to recline halfway (my fav) gotta deconstruct the bed. PITA and SQ food choices are horrible from SFO. Overhyped.

  9. @rail provocateur

    You lost me in this statement “Like who would pick any one of the US3 against Lufthansa….:”.

    Lufthansa has a lousy biz class product and most of it still angled not flat. Even Swiss isn’t that good IMHO.

  10. The flights are well-timed such that from both westbound and eastbound has 1 morning and 1 evening departure, and the same for arrival. at least the nonstop was simply moved to another hub instead of cutting total PEK capacity (like AA) or cutting HKG as a station completely (like DL). There’s ZERO loss of nonstop SIN seats, and close to zero loss in connectivity (other than those super bespoke cases where an airport is connected only to LAX not SFO in the UA system), and definitely made it a much stronger offering.

    If my count is correct, this will be the 5th destination where UA offers double daily long-haul from SFO : PVG SIN TYO (HND+NRT 1 each) on Asia side and LHR FRA on European side. (HKG used to have it waaay back in the mid 90s). If you think UA is all about retreating to their partner hubs, 2 out of the 5 I’ve just listed are definitely rival fortresses.

    (and this wasn’t a shocker cuz I’ve gotten whispers of the route’s struggling performance back around mid-Feb already)

  11. Considering how mediocre the Singapore business class seats are, and how subpar the service and food and IFE are, I would choose United over SQ any day. I’d probably pick a united with 1 stop over an SQ non-stop.
    Recently a meal service on the A380 in business class from JFK to FRA took 2.5 hours on a 6-hour flight. Flight attendants were not friendly. The inflight entertainment system is horrible and the movies are censored (“edited for content” – which means I won’t watch them).
    There was no amenity kit and they wouldn’t give me one. What?? Granted, this may have been an unusually crappy service compared to the norm, but based on seat and IFE alone, I’m avoiding SQ.

    UA has a good IFE system, and the food, while not very good, is no worse than the crap I was served on SQ. I find those PMCO seats quite comfortable, but nothing special. Based on seat comfort, I’d pick AA’s 777-200 seats. My favorite business class seats for sleeping are actually the PMUA seats (yes, the ones with the 8 across) because of the softness of the seat and how long it is, making it the best business class seat for tall people in my opinion.

    I don’t care about aisle access (it’s probably the last consideration for me, after seat comfort, service, routing), but of course if you want aisle access from every seat, then UA business class is not for you. Personally, as long as it’s lie-flat and comfortable for the back, does it really matter? The comfort seems to be an issue with so many products that look good at first glance. Air Canada, Swiss, Singapore, British Airways – so many airlines have lie-flat seats that are awful for the back, with uncomfortable ridges or seams.

  12. @Golfingboy – LH hasn’t had an angled seat in the fleet for at least a year now

  13. Generally I’d choose an Asian airline over a US Domestic airline for a long haul to Asia anyday. But I have yet to fly Singapore. United seems to know what they are doing. Adding the Polaris seats would have been a nice choice though.

  14. @GolfingBoy. I’ve flown business on LH on the 380 twice and the seats are so narrow that I could not fit into the seat lying in my back. I’m not huge or overweight but do have broad shoulders. No such problems with UA even in the 8 across 777, so I do agree that the seats in United are in some cases better than the more lauded airlines like LH. I would take UA business class before any LH 380 biz seat. LH widebody airbases are better but you end up practically playing footsie with your neighbor. H

  15. @GolfingBoy. I’ve flown business on LH on the 380 twice and the seats are so narrow that I could not fit into the seat lying in my back. I’m not huge or overweight but do have broad shoulders. No such problems with UA even in the 8 across 777, so I do agree that the seats in United are in some cases better than the more lauded airlines like LH. I would take UA business class before any LH 380 biz seat. LH widebody airbases are better but you end up practically playing footsie with your neighbor. H

  16. I don’t know what the above poster ate, but this flight is barely tolerable as is. We chose this United iten from the East Coast because of last minute family emergency. Flew there in row 40 (last row) split 2 + 1 + 1 for a family. Just got off the return leg a few hours ago. Food is terrible and limited in quantity compared to SQ. Seats are well, quite uncomfortable and do not recline far enough to sleep well. And man, I’ve not seen that many people unhappy about their jobs. Service that I am not sure I would call adequate.

  17. Why could not lax just get the flight time changed to the am departure as people requested —.?

    Many of us used to do the lax nrt sin that departed lax in am

    Even the old lax Hong Kong sin

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