UA restart SFO-PEK flight on November 9

Old Nov 8, 2023, 1:38 pm
  #1  
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Post UA restart SFO-PEK flight on November 9

After more than 3 1/2 years, UA is returning to PEK with non-stop flight commencing on November 9th using 773.

Looking at the seat map, quite a number of seats available in all three classes. Upgrades look promising. Fare is also competitive.
I could not find the return flight from PEK, though!

I am sure demand will come back but may not be at the pre-Covid level (also Russian space impact EWR/IAD-PEK services). when UA had four daily flights per day. Limited slots also impact the number of frequencies.

This is the route I often fly pre-Covid, but now I have moved on from China related assignments. Probably won't fly to PRC for a long time.

For those who fly often on this route, congratulations on getting the route back. Feel free to share your travel experience here.
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Old Nov 8, 2023, 1:42 pm
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Originally Posted by UA_Flyer
This is the route I often fly pre-Covid, but now I have moved on from China related assignments. Probably won't fly to PRC for a long time.
Unfortunately, I think a lot of business travelers are in the same boat as you, and we're not going to see pre-COVID levels of traffic between China and the US for some time. Kind of amazing now to think that at one time UA flew to Chengdu, Xian and Hangzhou.
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Old Nov 8, 2023, 1:51 pm
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I am probably never going back to China despite my close connections, but I wish United (and other airlines) best of luck.
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Old Nov 8, 2023, 3:43 pm
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Originally Posted by UA_Flyer
Fare is also competitive.
Hang on, not so fast!
It's not quite as simple as that (in typical UA style). I've been eyeing this flight for a while: they have relatively low Economy fares as a G fare (80 PlusPoints upgrade Y to J), but as soon as you select anything higher than a G fare, the price jumps up to twice or threefold! This has been consistent ever since the flight has been loaded; never seen something like this to that extent before on any other UA flight.
Hopefully this will change/normalize soon.


Originally Posted by UA_Flyer
I could not find the return flight from PEK, though!
Flights have a gap (maybe because of crew or positioning of aircraft?): first flight is November 9, then nothing on November 10, then daily from November 11th.


Originally Posted by UA_Flyer
For those who fly often on this route, congratulations on getting the route back.
Thanks! Waiting a LOOOONG time for this one. Unfortunately still need to go through SFO, for anyone needing to get to the East Coast, so it's not ideal.


To counter the above mentioned pricing somewhat, I've switched to originating in PEK now, and booked PEK-SFO-EWR-SFO-PEK. Flying this starting on November 12.
The advantage of originating in China is a lower price, although the issue with the G fare being inexpensive and the huge jump to anything higher is still there.



Originally Posted by UA_Flyer
Feel free to share your travel experience here.
Will do.
For us "East Coasters", I suspect this flight still won't be the answer. I detest the connection in Tokyo to get to PEK or PKX from EWR, which is what I've mostly been flying this year, but suspect after flying this new United PEK flight on Sunday, I may still prefer Tokyo as opposed to SFO for the connection. We shall see...
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Last edited by narvik; Nov 8, 2023 at 4:01 pm
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Old Nov 8, 2023, 6:38 pm
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Happy and safe travel narvik!
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Old Nov 10, 2023, 3:23 pm
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An unusual amount of upgraders on the list for both Polaris (~27) and Premium Plus (~24) on a quite empty plane for Sunday's PEK-SFO.
Never seen that before.
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Old Nov 10, 2023, 3:33 pm
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Originally Posted by narvik
An unusual amount of upgraders on the list for both Polaris (~27) and Premium Plus (~24) on a quite empty plane for Sunday's PEK-SFO.
Never seen that before.
Great for upgraders for a change.

It reminds me of my own experience in 1997 when UA started a second daily flight between NRT and LAX. I was the only one of the 12 passengers on the almost brand new 744. Two of us in F (the other person was a nonrev). I did not walk back to C or Y cabins, so not sure the distribution of the remaining ten passengers. They could put all of them on the upper deck of the 744 and it would still be a half empty upper deck.
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Old Nov 10, 2023, 5:36 pm
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Originally Posted by narvik
An unusual amount of upgraders on the list for both Polaris (~27) and Premium Plus (~24) on a quite empty plane for Sunday's PEK-SFO.
Never seen that before.
Non-revs appear on the upgrade lists, but not on the standby list (until T-24 h). You can verify this guess tomorrow when the standby list is visible.
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Old Nov 10, 2023, 5:49 pm
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Originally Posted by UA_Flyer
Great for upgraders for a change.

It reminds me of my own experience in 1997 when UA started a second daily flight between NRT and LAX. I was the only one of the 12 passengers on the almost brand new 744. Two of us in F (the other person was a nonrev). I did not walk back to C or Y cabins, so not sure the distribution of the remaining ten passengers. They could put all of them on the upper deck of the 744 and it would still be a half empty upper deck.

Nice one - those are the flights to remember!

My MUA upgrade for the important leg PEK-SFO just cleared; most likely everyone will clear their upgrade request. J will be full, the rest of the plane nearly empty.


Originally Posted by Kmxu
Non-revs appear on the upgrade lists, but not on the standby list (until T-24 h). You can verify this guess tomorrow when the standby list is visible.
Ah, thanks. The "until T-24 h" was the thing I wasn't aware of. Lots of non-revs then most likely. Cool.
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Old Nov 10, 2023, 7:35 pm
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Originally Posted by dw
Unfortunately, I think a lot of business travelers are in the same boat as you, and we're not going to see pre-COVID levels of traffic between China and the US for some time. Kind of amazing now to think that at one time UA flew to Chengdu, Xian and Hangzhou.
According to the map in Hemispheres, they still fly to Chengdu.
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Old Nov 11, 2023, 2:08 pm
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Originally Posted by narvik
Hang on, not so fast!
It's not quite as simple as that (in typical UA style). I've been eyeing this flight for a while: they have relatively low Economy fares as a G fare (80 PlusPoints upgrade Y to J), but as soon as you select anything higher than a G fare, the price jumps up to twice or threefold! This has been consistent ever since the flight has been loaded; never seen something like this to that extent before on any other UA flight.
Hopefully this will change/normalize soon.

Thanks! Waiting a LOOOONG time for this one. Unfortunately still need to go through SFO, for anyone needing to get to the East Coast, so it's not ideal.

To counter the above mentioned pricing somewhat, I've switched to originating in PEK now, and booked PEK-SFO-EWR-SFO-PEK. Flying this starting on November 12.

The advantage of originating in China is a lower price, although the issue with the G fare being inexpensive and the huge jump to anything higher is still there.

For us "East Coasters", I suspect this flight still won't be the answer. I detest the connection in Tokyo to get to PEK or PKX from EWR, which is what I've mostly been flying this year, but suspect after flying this new United PEK flight on Sunday, I may still prefer Tokyo as opposed to SFO for the connection. We shall see...
All these points are right on the money.

From the east coast I hare the SFO connection. BOS-SFO and EWR-SFO are very difficult to upgrade even for GS. It is no fun to sit in cramped Y for 6+ hours. I would rather fly EWR-NRT/HND. Granted, NRT/HND-PVG could be expensive unless you stay overnight. I see JL/CA biz class might cost as much as $2,000 one-way. Recently I booked RT business class Tokyo-Shanghai on MU for 7000 CNY. Booked UA Premium Economy EWR/IAD-NRT/HND and got easy upgrades.

I don't understand why UA charges so much for anything above G. Often W costs more than PP, and 3 times more than G. This is crazy.
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Old Nov 12, 2023, 12:07 am
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Just some info on SFO-PEK:

Today's UA888 SFO-PEK is pretty full. After having just started a couple of days ago, I am very surprised to see it this full in all cabins.
J had just about everyone upgraded from what I can tell (~17 or so), and went out full, as did PP.
The return, UA889, in comparison is pretty empty, with maybe ~100 or so total pax.
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Old Nov 12, 2023, 1:00 am
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Originally Posted by narvik
Just some info on SFO-PEK:

Today's UA888 SFO-PEK is pretty full. After having just started a couple of days ago, I am very surprised to see it this full in all cabins.
J had just about everyone upgraded from what I can tell (~17 or so), and went out full, as did PP.
The return, UA889, in comparison is pretty empty, with maybe ~100 or so total pax.
Any success in getting SFO-EWR upgrade?

G fare would be tough, even for 1K.
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Old Nov 12, 2023, 3:17 am
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Originally Posted by kb1992
Any success in getting SFO-EWR upgrade?

G fare would be tough, even for 1K.
Not a chance. Saw two open seats at one point, but couldn't buy up.
At one point I had both PlusPoints and the MUA for this segment. Not that that would have helped. Took 30+ minutes to have the PP request removed via phone.

It is this domestic segment flown in E that made me already switch back to HND-EWR for the next trip.
It was worth the try I guess.

Note: after 3.5 years, the PEK business lounge is open again! (passengers had been using the First lounge since reopen).
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Old Nov 12, 2023, 3:38 am
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Originally Posted by narvik
Not a chance. Saw two open seats at one point, but couldn't buy up.
At one point I had both PlusPoints and the MUA for this segment. Not that that would have helped. Took 30+ minutes to have the PP request removed via phone.

It is this domestic segment flown in E that made me already switch back to HND-EWR for the next trip.
It was worth the try I guess.

Note: after 3.5 years, the PEK business lounge is open again! (passengers had been using the First lounge since reopen).
Agree with that routing completely - the longer in J the better!
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