United Airlines is pulling back on its non-stop service between Auckland and San Francisco, instead making it a seasonal route.

The US airline confirmed today that Auckland to San Francisco flights will be unavailable between April 18 and October 30 this year, and passengers are being encouraged to fly the route on Air New Zealand.

"This change is in response to seasonal variations, which will also see United Airlines adding an additional three flights per week starting December 18, 2017 after resuming its daily Auckland to San Francisco services on October 31, 2017. This will increase services to a total of 10 United's flights per week during the high seasonal demand period," United Airlines said.

Passengers who have already purchased tickets during the suspended period are being contacted by the airline and offered flights on the Air New Zealand service instead.

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We apologise to customers for any inconvenience and advise that customers will not be out of pocket as a result of this shift in scheduling and will retain all frequent flyer benefits," the airline said.

The United Airlines route came to New Zealand last July as Air New Zealand sought to deepen its partner relationship with the airline. The airlines, both members of the Star Alliance, have anti-trust immunity to work closely with each other.

The deal was touted to deter American Airlines - from the rival Oneworld alliance and a potential threat to Air New Zealand - from entering the transpacific market.