Philippines welcomes inaugural United Airlines SFO-MNL flight

Philippine Tribune
Philippine Tribune

Rosette Adel – Philstar.com

October 31, 2023 | 6:56pm

This Oct. 30, 2023 photo shows the crew of the inaugural SFO-MNL flight of United Airlines.

United Airlines / Facebook

MANILA, Philippines — The first-ever direct flight of United States carrier United Airlines between San Francisco, California and Manila, Philippines has arrived on Monday.

This inaugural direct flight has been regarded by the Transportation Undersecretary for Aviation and Airports Roberto Cecilio Lim as “historic” as it is the first and only American airline to fly directly to Manila.

“This is the new non-stop transpacific flight. It is a testament to the strong bilateral relations,” Lim said.

The Department of Transportation posted about this on social media, sharing that a water canon salute welcomed the United Airlines Boeing 777-300ER aircraft direct from San Francisco.

The Manila International Airport Authority reported that the flight arrived at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3 at 5:50 a.m. on Monday, bringing in 325 passengers. The flight took 15 hours.

It said that Lim and US Ambassador to the Philippine MaryKay Clarkson graced the arrival ceremony.

‘Love from the Philippines’

Prior to this, the Philippine Department of Tourism-San Francisco hosted an intimate sent off ceremony for the passengers, pilot and crew of the inaugural United Airlines flight on Sunday.

They were treated to some Filipino folk dance performances that included the traditional Tinikling, as well as Filipino snacks and treats found in a sari-sari store.

There was also a United Airlines jeepney standee set up for them to enjoy.

The passengers, pilot and crew were given “Love the Philippines” tote bags and destination brochures.

The DOT also gave them a warm welcome upon their arrival to Manila early Monday morning where they were greeted with Filipino smiles, welcome leis, Filipino snacks and dried mangoes while a suite of rondalla serenaded them.

The welcome reception was organized by the DOT-National Capital Region, led by Regional Director Sharlene Batin.

To promote the new route, PDOT-SFO Tourism Attaché Soleil Tropicales, shared plans for a familiarization trip with United Airlines next year.

Meanwhile, four hours after its arrival, the inaugural flight departed from Manila at 10:20 a.m. on Monday.

According to United Airlines, the San Francisco to Manila and Manila to San Francisco flight is one of the most requested routes in its history.

It is now operating with one direct flight daily. The carrier offers 60 seats in the United Polaris business cabin, 24 seats in the United Premium Plus cabin and 266 seats in the United Economy cabin. 

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