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United will operate its 787 Dreamliner between San Francisco and Chengdu, China three times a week beginning June 9, 2014 according to Airline Route.

Boeing 787 United Airlines seating

I follow United’s Dreamliner route announcements because United has an awesome Business Class product (confusingly called “BusinessFirst”), United releases good award space on its own routes, and the Dreamliner is an awesome plane with great passenger comforts and environmental benefits.

What is the flight schedule? What is the award picture?

United will operate the route from San Francisco to Chengdu on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays departing SFO at 1:35 PM and landing at 6:50 PM the next day in CTU. This is a 14hr15min flight.

Chengdu to San Francisco will operate Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays departing CTU at 10 AM and landing in SFO at 8:50 AM the same morning. This is a 13hr50min flight.

The United Dreamliner is configured with two cabins. There are 36 BusinessFirst fully flat beds is a 2-2-2 configuration, 113 regular economy seats, and 70 economy plus seats with three extra inches of leg room. All seats have personal inflight entertainment and access to power outlets.

Award Space

Award space is awful on the flights as we’ve seen on all United international 787 flights. There are a few days in each direction with economy Saver award seats, but no Saver space in business class. Remember that United’s partners only have access to Saver award space.

Below are all of the dates with Saver award space on the direct flights in economy class, shaded yellow.

It looks like United is continuing to protect their 787’s beds. Hopefully as the product becomes more common, more award space will be opened.

Getting the Miles

To China, United charges 65k miles roundtrip in economy and 120k miles in business when Saver award space is open. US Airways has access to the same space and charges only 60k miles in economy and 90k in business.

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