UNITED Airlines inaugurated its non-stop service between Singapore and its hub at San Francisco International Airport on Friday, making it the only carrier to presently offer direct flights between Singapore and the US.
Travellers using the service can shave off up to four hours' each way between the two cities.
The inaugural flight took off from Changi Airport on Friday morning, with celebrations marked by a traditional lion dance and attended by guests, including officials from Changi Airport Group and the deputy chief of mission of the US Embassy.
Singapore Airlines (SIA), which used to offer direct services to the US, will recommence non-stop flights to New York and Los Angeles in 2018.
Marcel Fuchs, United's vice-president (Atlantic & Pacific sales,) said: "We are excited about the potential for increased travel between Singapore and San Francisco, two cities that continue to develop apace as centres of commercial activity and as popular leisure destinations."
Blair Hall, deputy chief of mission of the US Embassy, said: "This year marks the 50th anniversary of Singapore and the United States formalising diplomatic ties, and the enhanced interaction between the two nations truly cements our commitment to deepen our commercial and cultural ties."
The Singapore-San Francisco flight, UA2, departs Changi Airport at 8.45 am daily, arriving at San Francisco International Airport at 9.15 am the same day. UA1 departs San Francisco at 11.25 pm daily, arriving in Singapore at 6.45 am two days later (local time). Flying times are approximately 15 hours, 30 minutes eastbound and 16 hours, 20 minutes westbound.
From San Francisco, passengers can connect onwards to other parts of the US, Canada and Latin America.
The new service is operated using Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft, featuring a total of 252 seats - 48 in business and 204 in economy, including 88 economy plus seats.