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United Airlines hasn’t operated either of its routes between the United States and Melbourne since the pandemic put life on pause but in a move that appears to be aimed at getting a head start on Qantas, the airline has now scheduled the return of its route between San Francisco and Melbourne.
In recent months we’ve started to see travel picking up at pace on various routes around the world but the routes to/from Australia have continued to be troublesome for the US carriers despite the lifting of some of Australia’s travel restrictions.
All three of the big US carriers currently offer some level of service to/from Australia but all of them have been focusing on Sydney and not Melbourne and despite the announcement that most of Australia will be welcoming vaccinated visitors from 21 February, that hadn’t appeared to be a situation that was about to change.
Something has changed, however, as United has now added the San Francisco – Melbourne route is back in its schedule.
From 7 May 2022, United Airlines will operate flights between San Franciso and Melbourne using the following flight timings:
UA60 SFO 23:00 – 07:30+2 days MEL (Tue, Thu & Sat)
UA61 MEL 09:30 – 07:00 SFO (Mon, Thu & Sat)
The route will be operated by a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner and assuming that the currently posted seat map remains, this will be an aircraft fitted with true Polaris Business Class seats.
To the best of my knowledge (which means I may be wrong!), this isn’t news that United has actually announced so there’s a chance that the schedule and the route’s restart date may change. Having said that, these flights are currently bookable on United.com so there’s every reason to believe that this route reboot will be going ahead.
Disappointingly, there doesn’t appear to be any saver award availability between San Francisco and Melbourne with the only Business Class awards I’ve found pricing up at an eye-watering 200,000 miles one-way…but at least the taxes and fees for roundtrip travel are under $100 🙂
United Airlines has scheduled a return to Melbourne with the first flight on the rebooted San Francisco – Melbourne route taking off from the West Coast on 7 May 2022. As things stand, United Appears to be the only airline interested in operating this route as not even Qantas, the Australian flag carrier, has shown any signs of restarting its flights between Melbourne and San Francisco. This move by United, however, may make Qantas rethink its strategy so oneworld loyalists hoping to book flights to Melbourne should probably keep an eye on the news in the coming weeks.
Featured image courtesy of Denise Jans