Starting June 1, 2016, United will fly daily nonstop between San Francisco and Singapore.

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This will be the first nonstop flight between Singapore and the United States since Singapore Airlines dumped routes to Los Angeles and Newark in 2013.

  • UA1 (flight #1? they must be proud): Depart San Francisco at 11:25 PM, arrive in Singapore at 6:45 AM +2 days
  • UA2: Depart Singapore at 8:45 AM, arrive in San Francisco at 9:15 AM (the same day)

That’s 16:20 westbound and 15:30 eastbound.

You can already search award space on united.com. The flight is operated by a 787-9 Dreamliner, so ignore the First Class columns, since the plane only has economy, Economy Plus, and Business.

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United 787-9 Dreamliner

The United 787-9 Dreamliner has 48 beds in Business class in a 2-2-2 configuration. In 2-2-2 configurations, I always choose a middle seat, since both have direct aisle access. If you choose a seat on either side of the plane, you’ll either need to climb over your seatmate or be climbed over during the flight.

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Each seat converts to a fully flat bed with 6’6″ of sleeping space.

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Award Space

Currently there is good award space in economy on the route, but I haven’t seen any Business Class award space. (I haven’t searched every day because United made that 30 times slower last year.)

For instance, July 1st, there is economy Saver award space, but only Business Standard space.

Screen Shot 2016-01-29 at 7.19.59 AM Even when the calendar shows a lot of space between San Francisco and Singapore in Business Class (green and blue days), that space is not on the direct flight. I checked every day in November 2016 and came up completely empty.Screen Shot 2016-01-29 at 7.30.43 AM

How to Fly Business Class on the Dreamliner to Singapore

Since no Saver Business Class is being released yet to Singapore, if you really want to fly it, I’d recommend using United Plan B.

The basics of Plan B are that:

  1. You book United-operated flights with United miles. In this case, you can book from your home airport to Singapore in economy for 40,000 United miles one way or 80,000 United miles roundtrip. I repeat: Plan B only works when redeeming United miles for United-operated flights.
  2. You call United and ask to be waitlisted for a higher cabin on the flights you booked.
  3. The agent takes extra miles from your account as if you were confirmed in the higher cabin. In this case, that would be an extra 30,000 miles each way, since United Business Class to Singapore is 70,000 miles.
  4. You are given top priority on the waitlist as if you were a displaced Business Class passenger. That means you have higher priority than attempted upgraders.
  5. Since United will rarely (ever?) sell all 48 beds on its Dreamliner to Singapore, and you are at the top of the upgrade list, you are very likely to fly Business Class.
  6. If you don’t fly Business Class, you are refunded the extra miles (30,000 each way in this case) that you paid at the time of being waitlisted.

This is an ideal route for a Plan B award because economy award space is so wide open, the Business Class product is good quality and fairly priced, and the Business Class cabin is so large that an upgrade seems very likely.

Here are the first hand experiences of other people who have booked Plan B awards.

How to Get United Miles

The United personal, business, and Club cards plus the Sapphire Preferred and Ink Plus all earn United miles.

Bottom Line

United is launching a direct flight to Singapore with its newest plane the 787-9 Dreamliner. Economy award space is fantastic, but Business Class space is not yet available.

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Use United Plan B awards to turn an economy award magically into a flat bed.

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