After suffering major blowback following the David Dao controversy, United is attempting to redefine its image in the aviation industry. Coming this fall, United Airlines is expected to add a route that would become the longest of any carrier flying to or from the United States, according to USA Today.
The 8,700 mile-route will connect Los Angeles and Singapore, surpassing Qantas' 8,576-mile Dallas/Forth-Worth-Sydney non-stop flight and United's own 8,446-mile San Francisco-Singapore route.
The roughly 18-hour flight, which will be flown with a Boeing 787 "Dreamliner," would also rank as the longest non-stop flight ever flown by a U.S. airline.
“It’s the longest route from the U.S. to anywhere in the world,” Patrick Quayle, United’s vice president - International Planning, told USA TODAY’s Today in the Sky blog about the new L.A.-Singapore route. “It’s definitely prestigious.”
United is also expected to steal the title of world's longest flight from Qatar Airways, which accounts a flying time of 17 hours, 40 minutes for its 9,032-mile flight from Auckland, New Zealand, to Doha, Qatar.
But United's nearly 9,000 mile flight does more than provide bragging rights. The LA-Singapore route also further solidifies United's growing market in Asia.
"What makes United unique is our Asia-Pacific network," Quayle said. "This Singapore flight is just a further example of solidifying that presence from our Los Angeles hub."
He continued, "San Francisco has exceed our expectations in terms of performance. There has been a growing chorus in the L.A. area who have been asking for United service to Singapore. Singapore is a global city our corporate traffic wants us to serve non-stop" from the United States.
United's newest flight, however, may not last long. Singapore Airlines, a Star Alliance frequent-flier partner of United, announced its plans to restart service from both Los Angeles and Singapore when it launches its new "ultra long-range Airbus jets in 2018.