Starting October 30 SFO PEK service on UA gets upgraded from a 777 to a 747. The aircraft is in flight from 30 to the 31st of October then overnights before returning! There for the return flight doesn't start with the -400 till November 1. Great news for UA and China!
it makes sense to put a 744 from nov onwards because in winter traffic demand between the two cities is huge and especially during the chinese new year...ual would want to uplift as many pax as it can and mint $$$ whilst doing it...so business wise this move is well thought of and very sensible.
only problem is that like someone pointed out the IFE of the UALs B 744s are inferior to its B 777 fleet.
Don't forget also, the lease rates on the 744 are cheaper than the 777, pay rates are the same... so as long as the passengers are there to pay for the extra fuel burn, UA will continue to shift to 744's.
Just a minor correction...the -400 fleet is owned so as long as the pilots are being paid the same now the extra cost of the fuel burn is more then made up when you look at the lease rates of the 777. The last 4 whales come out of the desert this winter and will be in service soon!