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United Leads In South Pacific With Most Flights From Any U.S. Carrier 

The U.S. carrier is adding more flights to Australia, along with new routes to Christchurch and Auckland

by Rachel Dube

April 19, 2023

Photo: Courtesy of United Airlines

United Airlines is set to become the largest U.S. carrier in the South Pacific amid a massive global expansion. The airline is adding the first nonstop service between Christchurch and San Francisco, along with new routes from Los Angeles to Brisbane and Auckland. 

With the new expansion, United is also set to increase service from San Francisco to various destinations in Australia. These new winter additions will increase the airline’s service to Australia and New Zealand by 40%, larger than any other U.S. airline. It will also increase United’s number of flights between the U.S. and the South Pacific to 66 flights every week. 

Queenstown, New Zealand / Photo: ChameleonsEye/Shutterstock

United passengers who fly the routes are eligible to connect to more than 50 destinations within the region, thanks to partnerships with Air New Zealand and Virgin Australia. 

Patrick Quayle, Senior Vice President of Global Network Planning and Alliances at United, said: “This past winter, United enhanced our network and became the largest carrier to the South Pacific region. Now, this upcoming winter, we will expand even further. Our strong partnerships with Air New Zealand and Virgin Australia provide unparalleled connectivity, and with our historic expansion across five destinations in New Zealand and Australia, United is the clear choice for customers’ travel to the region.” 

New South Pacific Offerings 

From December 1, the carrier will begin operating its new nonstop service between its San Fransico (SFO) hub and Christchurch (CHC). A Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner, which has a total capacity of 242 passengers, will be used to fly the route. This addition is part of the airline’s broader expansion efforts into New Zealand. It also marks the first time any U.S. airline has had direct service to the South Island of New Zealand from the United States. 

Photo: Brisbane, Australia. Courtesy of Romain Terpreau / Unsplash

The airline will also begin flying new nonstop routes from Los Angeles (LAX) hub to Brisbane, Australia (BNE), and Auckland, New Zealand (AKL). The LAX-BNE route will begin operations on November 29 and fly thrice weekly. It will make United the largest U.S. carrier to fly to Brisbane. 

On the other hand, the LAX-AKL route will begin service on October 28 with four weekly flights to the city from the U.S.

Increased South Pacific Flight Routes 

At the end of last year, United launched a new direct service to Brisbane (BNE) from San Fransico. It now plans to increase this route to daily beginning October 28, allowing the airline to fly nearly triple the number of customers than it did when it first launched the route in 2022. In addition, service from SFO to Sydney will be increased to twice daily onboard the airline’s Boeing 777-300ER beginning October 28. 

Photo: United Airlines Boeing 777-300. Courtesy of Chris Leipelt / Unsplash.

With fourteen weekly roundtrip flights to Melbourne, the airline also plans to deploy its largest airplane between San Fransico and the Australian city, adding nearly 100 more seats every day on the route, which flies daily from both SFO and LAX. 

In conclusion, the increased frequency of current flight routes and new flight paths mark a significant step for the airline and its South Pacific expansion.