I’m very excited to be writing about my very first (and hopefully not the last) experience on a Business First flight from Newark to London on United Airlines. But before I review my experience, I should tell you about why I chose this flight in particular.
As a long time Mileage Plus member and also a Mileage Plus Explorer cardholder, I am part of the Star Alliance Network when booking flights. I had finally saved up enough miles to do either a round trip economy ticket to Europe, or do a Business Class ticket on one of the legs. So as soon as I decided that I was going to take this trip (which I will be posting about over the next week), I started researching my flight options.
When I first started searching, my initial results included a couple of flights on Lufthansa, United, TAP Portugal and Turkish Airlines. Whenever I take long haul flights, I always see which planes are going to be on the list of options. Some people don’t care about the equipment but for me, it can make or break the experience. And being that I was about to use pretty much all of the travel miles I had saved up, I wanted to make sure that I was going to get the best experience possible.
Flights appear and disappear on websites all the time. I’ve noticed that sometimes the same flight will appear during the beginning of the week and then disappear during the weekend. I’m sure there’s a reason for that. I was booking my ticket about three months prior to the travel date so I took my time to see if anything good was going to appear. At one point, Turkish Airlines was going to be the best option with a flight on a Boeing 777. However they have two different versions of Business Class. The desired version uses the herring bone style seating where you get your own little “booth”. Of course, I waited a day too long and when I went back to check after finding out they use the herringbone layout, it disappeared. Back to the drawing board, and time was running out!
I checked the United website everyday and for about a week, and the only option was going to be Lufthansa. I was almost about to book with them until the flight that I took on United popped up! Initially, when I realized it was going to be a Boeing 767, I was hesitant because its a smaller plane. However, I failed to realize that it was a two-cabin aircraft. And that means I would be sitting in “Business First” and not “Business”! Again, I went online and researched the plane. There are two different layouts on this particular plane. I learned that United has been in the process of upgrading their fleet of 767s with the 2-1-2 layout. I also read some reviews and they all mentioned what I was hoping to find. Lie-flat seats! That was all I needed to see and I booked my ticket immediately. I was early enough that I had many options. I chose seat 1D. I was so excited!
Fast forward to the day I waited months for. I arrived at Newark early enough to sit in the United Club Lounge for about an hour. I finished up a few things online and had some snacks. I must say that it was pretty big and even had showers, but overall it wasn’t anything too impressive. There was some fruit, crackers, cheese, some candies, and thats about it. Also you could enjoy free beverages but I decided not to have any.
The flight turned out to be slightly delayed due to the lighting in the middle cabin not working properly. It was a short wait and we finally boarded the plane. A flight attendant was nice enough to hang my jacket and I immediately stowed my carry on. To my surprise, my duffle bag fit under the footrest! I got comfortable and a flight attendant quickly asked me if I wanted something to to drink. I asked for a glass of white wine.
The touch screen was a decent size (about 15 inches), and noise-canceling headphones are provided. There was definitely a large movie selection as well as TV programs and games. Along with your amenity kit (which I forgot on the plane!), dinner menus were handed out and shortly after we were off the ground, a flight attendant came around taking our entree orders. Everything else you see on the menu comes out automatically, which means you get two appetizers and dessert. I must say that the wine selection was pretty decent. I opted for a Bordeaux with my meal since I was going to be enjoying a beef tenderloin. And as expected, the service was definitely different than what you get when sitting in economy. But I digress. I must say that the food was very tasty and the flight attendant even took the time to ask me if my steak was hot enough because they were having problems with the oven. Here are some photos of the food I got to indulge in.
Lets just be honest here. I probably won’t fly in Business Class or even First Class again for while. So I savored every moment, especially because it was my first time. For those of you who have flown Business/First Class before, I’m sure you remember your first experience. For those of you who haven’t, I highly recommend saving up dollars and/or miles for it. Its definitely worth it!
Another great perk is that you get access to any lounge that might be available at all airports you land at during your leg of the trip. I was lucky enough to check out the Star Alliance lounge in Heathrow when I landed. It was a step up from the United Club Lounge in Newark, though not as big. It also had showers and offered the usual snacks. But I did notice they had breakfast food too!
All in all, my experience was great. I’ve read reviews by other fliers who frequent Business and First class and of course, there are always opinions that other airlines have better service. United wasn’t all that bad. But then again, what do I have to compare it to, right? Well actually, I do have another flight to compare it to which I will post about later. I even have two more flights to compare it to as well! If you’re wondering why, its because I purposely booked as many connections as possible because my Business Class ticket applies to every leg until my final destination, which is Barcelona. I have already taken my flight from London to Lisbon, which is where I’m writing from now. I have yet to take a flight to Zurich, and then to Barcelona on SWISS.
So with that, I look forward to posting my next experience which was on TAP, and my following experiences on SWISS. Until then, ciao!