Tag Archives: premium service

Burn, United (Miles), Burn: United PS Business Class New York JFK to San Francisco

Introduction
Planning
United Global First Lounge Washington Dulles (IAD)
Lufthansa Business and Senator Lounge Washington Dulles (IAD)
ANA First Square Class Washington Dulles to Tokyo Narita
ANA Suite and Business Class Lounges Tokyo Narita (NRT)
ANA Business Class Tokyo Narita to Beijing
IBIS Beijing Capital Airport Hotel
Air China First Class Lounge Beijing (PEK)
BGS Premier Business Class Lounge Beijing (PEK)
Business Traveler’s Lounge Beijing (PEK)
Lufthansa A380 First Class Beijing to Frankfurt
Lufthansa First Class Terminal Frankfurt (FRA)
Lufthansa B747-400 First Class Frankfurt to New York JFK
United PS Business Class New York JFK to San Francisco


UA 504
New York (JFK) to San Francisco (SFO)
Tuesday, November 5th
Depart: 9:00am
Arrive: 12:35pm
Duration: 6h 35m
Aircraft: Boeing 757-200 (old config)
Seat: 9B

This flight was on one of the few remaining old configuration United PS planes with three classes of seats, although it’s sold and served as two classes of service. I selected a seat in row 9, which is renowned for its unlimited leg room, and while not actually unlimited, it’s far more leg room than a single person could need. One of the other passengers in row 9 was at least 6’5″, and he had no problems, and you could probably lie down in the space between seats and still not reach the seat in front.

Old business class seats (not row 9)

Old business class seats (not row 9)

Unlimited leg room for row 9

Unlimited leg room for row 9

These planes and seats are definitely showing their age. The seat controls were pretty old school, and my seat mate was alarmed that some of the plane parts around the emergency exit seemed to be falling off.

Very old seat controls

Very old seat controls

Power ports and open storage space

Power ports and open storage space

The service on the flight was typical for a US carrier i.e. adequate but not great. They passed out the tablets used as in-flight entertainment soon after takeoff, and I asked if I could get one later if I declined to take one now, and they told me that no, they’d be too busy to give one to me later. Of course, later in the flight, since the cabin was only half full, they spent most of the flight sitting in row 5 and talking to each other…

In-flight entertainment

In-flight entertainment

The choices for breakfast were an omelette, french toast, or cereal, but I had pre-ordered an Asian vegetarian meal (well, when I called, I just asked for a vegetarian meal, but I’m pretty sure the phone agent was Asian and saw my Asian last name and said, “Asian vegetarian meal, right?”, and I just kinda went along with it). The AVML was some sort of chana masala-like chickpea sauce on top of fritters, which was pretty tasty for United food.

Breakfast menu

Breakfast menu

Asian vegetarian meal (AVML)

Asian vegetarian meal (AVML)

After eating, I tried to get some sleep. While the seat reclines very far back and there’s unlimited leg room, I could get the leg rest to go up very far, so the ample leg room went to waste. I slept okay for a recliner seat, but I’m looking forward to flying the flat-bed config early next year.

Seat 9B in reclined position

Seat 9B in reclined position

Overall, the flight was fine. Almost anything is going to be a let down after three long-haul flights in ANA and Lufthansa first class, but the food on this flight was decent enough and the in-flight entertainment kept me entertained when I chose to use it. The most remarkable parts of the flight were the very tall man also sitting in row 9 and my very talkative seat mate who had much more anxiety/neuroticism about flying than I would typically expect from someone flying in business class and seated in one of the best seats in the cabin.