United Airlines is one the ‘legacy carriers’ of the United States. In 2010 they merged with Continental creating one of the largest airlines in the world by passengers carried, as well as the largest airline by number of destinations (close to 350)! They have seven hubs on mainland USA, as well as one in Guam and another in Tokyo. They also operate a massive fleet of over 700 mainly Boeing aircraft.
Name: United Airlines
Hubs: San Francisco, Los Angeles, Denver, New York (Newark), Chicago (O’Hare), Washington (Dulles), Houston (George Bush), Guam and Tokyo (Narita)
Rewards Program: Mileage Plus
NZ Routes: Auckland directly to San Francisco.
Partners: Codeshares with Air New Zealand, as well as being a Star Alliance member.
Classes of Travel: Business and Economy.
Meals: All meals and drinks (including alcohol) are included. Special meals available.
Entertainment: Movies, TV shows, music and games included with personal seatback screens.
Luggage Allowance: One piece of checked luggage up to 23 kilograms and one piece of carry on up to 7 kilograms included on all Economy fares. Increased allowances apply for higher classes (see below).
Seat Selection: Your House of Travel consultant can assign seats on most flights for no extra charge.
Connectivity: Power outlets inseat and WiFi available on most planes.
*Please note all the above info is for flights to and from New Zealand and Australia. Services on flights within North America vary wildly depending on what aircraft you’re on.
- United will be flying their brand new Boeing 787 Dreamliner on flights to Auckland.
- United flies to around 235 destinations in the US, and 140 international destinations in 60 countries around the world.
- United has over 300 Boeing 737 aircraft alone, and another 100 on order.
- At one stage, United owned hotel chains Westin and Hilton, as well as car rental company Hertz.
- When United went paperless in 2011, its 11,000 pilots were issued a 700 gram iPad to replace the 17 kilogram/12,000 leaf flight manuals/navigation charts etc they had been using.
- When Pan Am collapsed in 1991, United bought its entire Pacific operations.
New Zealand: Auckland directly to San Francisco.
San Francisco: To all major cities in North America, as well as dozens of regional centres. Also many flights to Asia (particularly Japan and China) and a couple of flights to Europe.
Business Class: United’s Business Class product is called ‘BusinessFirst’ and is available on all international flights excluding North or South American destinations. You’ll receive lounge access, priority check in, priority boarding, a larger screen on the entertainment unit, inseat USB port, noise reducing earphones, amenities kit, complimentary newspapers, hot towel service, a larger selection of food and drinks, pillow and duvet, and a 180 degree lie flat seat/bed. Luggage allowance is two checked pieces at 32 kilograms, and one carry on at 7 kilograms.
San Francisco International Airport: San Francisco is an older airport, but has recently been through some major renovations to bring it up to par. The queues at customs/security are rather hit or miss, sometimes you wait an hour, other times you fly through. Currently, not all terminals are connected so if you’re transferring to a domestic flight, you’ll most probably have to go through security twice. If you’re hungry, be sure to eat in the international terminal before clearing customs/security as options are limited beyond here. WiFi is good and fast, and there’s efficient transport between terminals and into the city.