United Airlines Will Re-Launch The “Apple Shuttle”

United Airlines says it will resume flying San Francisco – Shanghai starting July 8 twice-weekly via Seoul.

Flight Depart Day Time Arrive Time
UA 857 San Francisco Weds., Sat. 11:00 a.m. Shanghai 5:45 p.m.+1 day
UA 858 Shanghai Thurs., Sun. 9:40 p.m. San Francisco 8:55 p.m.

Before the global pandemic, Apple was United’s largest corporate customer spending $150 million with the airline. Unsurprisingly United’s San Francisco hub captures a large amount of Northern California tech business, and Apple is one of the biggest spenders on travel.

With significant suppliers and manufacturing in China, Apple had been booking one quarter of total company spend on just the San Francisco – Shanghai route, a total of 50 business class seats a day.

United has been looking to re-start China flights since the beginning of April. This got caught up in geopolitics and souring relations between the U.S. and China over issues including trade, Hong Kong, and the global pandemic. The U.S. and China are currently limiting the number of flights each airline can operate between the two countries.

Shanghai Pudong Airport

With a continued ban on non-residents entering the U.S. who have been to China United’s flights will largely be limited to carrying U.S. passengers.

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 InsideFlyer.com, 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. The outbound flight will be carrying chinese looking to go back. Thousands are being strained in the U.S. due to lack of flights. The chinese airlines have been pocketing insane profits since the lockdown on international flights. A one way economy class ticket was easily $10K+. Why else do you think UA/DL want in? The inbound flight from China to US is mostly empty.

  2. What’s the over-under on how much Apple travel to China could be replaced by video?

    Let’s not forget Apple makes hardware choices that impair the reuse and recycle process.

    Yet Apple publicly champions environmental conservation.

    This is a good non-racial example of virtue signaling which is so disgustingly prevalent in America.

  3. Via Seoul? Copying Delta exactly? I’m surprised they didn’t schedule it via Tokyo to make their plan a wee bit different from Delta’s.

  4. As pointed out above, there’s going to be very few US citizens or Apple employees flying on this “Apple shuttle”. Just Chinese citizens, returning home and a few US citizens and Green Card holders, coming back to the States.

    Why via Seoul? Because China – South Korea have a travel bubble for business travel. No such arrangement exists for Tokyo as of yet.

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