United Airlines » United Global First » User reviews
Class rating 6.7
- Boarding 7.6
- Seat for sitting 6.7
- Seat for sleeping 6.6
- Service 6.2
- Entertainment 5.6
- Food & drink 6.0
- Punctuality 7.1
- Baggage 8.0
- Of course, your ratings vary widely for different classes. Choose one below for full details.
- B777-200 (Version 5) - 8.0
- B767-300 (US Config) - 8.0
- A319 - 0.0
- A320 - 6.5
- B737-500 - 0.0
- B757-200 (Version 1) - 7.7
- B737-700 - 4.3
- B767-300 (Int Config) - 6.2
- B777-200 (Version 4) - 6.3
- B777-200 (Version 3) - 7.9
- B767-300 - 4.6
- B747-400 - 8.0
- B777-200 (Version 2) - 8.3
- B777-200 (Version 1) - 8.4
- B777-200ER (Version 7) - 0.0
- B787 Dreamliner - 0.0
- B757-300 - 2.3
- B737-800 (Version 1) - 0.0
- B777-200 (Version 6) - 8.0
- B767-400ER (Version 1) - 7.9
- B767-400ER (Version 2) - 0.0
- B767-400ER (Version 3) - 0.0
- B767-200ER - 0.0
- B757-200 (Version 2) - 6.4
- B757-200 (Version 3) - 8.6
- B757-200 (Version 4) - 0.0
- B737-900 - 8.8
- B737-800 (Version 2) - 0.0
- B737-800 (Version 3) - 0.0
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I flew from SFO to ICN. Boarding was the only bad experience of this trip but it was due to punctuality. Boarding was delayed at least 45 minutes but as a First Class customer, I was one of the first to board. There were only 6 passengers in first class and we were at the nose of the plane so there was so much privacy.
The flight attendants approached us by our names and offered champagne right away. Having been my first time on a first class on a 747, I was embarrassed to ask for a third glass. The flight attendant made me feel at ease when she said that 3 would be my limit (jokingly) because I was too young. However, the boarding process takes at least 30 minutes so there is not much to do other than drink champagne and snack on nuts.
Overall, great experience. All the gray plastic didn't exactly make me feel like first class, but for United, it was as good as it got and I will take it. The entertainment was satisfactory because it had a lot of options but a little too slow to respond to changing channels, etc. I was able to watch 2 movies, play geography trivia and take a Chinese language lesson. The food was reasonable - I had steak for the first meal and pasta on my second. I've had better on an economy Singapore Airlines flight. But the wine selection was very good - I had an excellent 2008 Merlot.
However, the best part was my flight attendant Nancy. She was very nice, almost matronly, and made me feel at ease as I was flying alone. She asked about my travels and she personally thanked everybody in the cabin before we landed. My mother said she must have been from the PanAm era!
I would like to apologize for all those that were in my flight that didn't enjoy it as much as I did.
Was upgraded to First, which was great, as this is the old 777 configuration that United can't seem to get updated. A tired, old plane, but first class is nice.
Coming home I was on the same config, and wasn't able to upgrade, so I flew in the recliner business class seat. It really doesn't compare to anyone else's business class and should be a much lower price.
Very friendly and attentive service. Old-style First Suite seats - clean and comfortable. Busy galley at the front of the first cabin. No cabin curtains at either end of the cabin giving it a purely functional rather than a refined air. Small screen with a limited selection of manually operated video tapes. Pleasant food, handsomely served. Not as formal as the European counterparts and lacking the first-class luxury touches of the leading international carriers. Overall, an agreeable way of getting from A to B.
SYD-ORD March 24th 2010-First time on the new first sites, OK, have managed to catch up with the asian airlines in terms of seating, but the service is still dreadful, same tired old flight attendants, with respect, most need to be put out to pasture and while they are there, lose some weight. Allowed to use Int First Class Lounge at LAX during layover which was nice, no showers but hey, it's an american airline, food on board is plentiful but doesn't reach any great heights
Flight from London Heathrow (LHR) to Chicago (ORD) on United Airlines, First Class Suite.
Flight: UA949 Seat: 1A, United First Departure: 12:05 Arrival (local): 15:21 Flight time: 9hr 15mins
Chicago is well-served by Star Alliance and OneWorld with flights directly from London on American Airlines, BA and United. Virgin Atlantic also serves Chicago daily.
UA949 is one of three direct United flights from London Heathrow to Chicago (other flights are at 10:05 and 15:25)
Pre-seat selection is possible over the phone or online if booked on United.com Check in allowances are 2 pieces of a maximum 32kg each. Star Alliance Gold card holders are allowed one additional piece of baggage.
Check-in Following Star Allaince’s move to Terminal 1 at Heathrow, check-in and connections across the alliance have become a much smoother affair. Terminal 1 has benefited from various upgrades including new premium check-in counters, a Star Alliance lounge and BMI’s ’Number One Heathrow’ (Renamed the Great British Lounge) lounge.
The check-in process was smooth an efficient. We made use of the dedicated First Class check-in desks for United and we were promptly provided with our boarding passes within a few minutes. There was no queue at the desk. Priority baggage tags were put on the bags and they were the among the first to arrive at the destination.
Premium class passengers have use of the FastTrack lane at BAA’s airports. We made used of the FastTrack lane but I often find that it doesn’t save a great deal of time as fewer scanning machines are allocated to the FastTrack lane so bottlenecks can quickly form and can make it slower than the main security line when times are quiet.
Time taken from landside to airside including check-in - approx 25 mins.
Terminal facilities / lounge Terminal 1 has received much investment ahead of its designation as a Star Alliance Terminal. The Star Alliance lounge serves to cater for premium class travellers and holders of Gold (and sometimes Silver) card holders of the Star Alliance loyalty scheme. A detailed review of the lounge can be found on Seatplans.com sister publication Businesstraveller.com
As we had used the Star Alliance lounge previously, we elected to try out BMI’s new flagship lounge. It’s worth noting that this lounge is somewhat away from the main terminal and it takes around 10 minutes to navigate your way to the lounge through a series of corridors. In fairness to BMI, this is as it is located closest to their main area of operations and the lounge is designed for premium passengers flying on BMI’s international network. However, as a holder of a First Class ticket on a Star Alliance partner, we were granted access to this modern lounge. Access policy has been fluctuating for this lounge and therefore it’s worth checking before hand to see if you will be granted access.
The lounge itself was bright and modern with a panoramic view of the runway. Features include wifi, computer terminals, hot and cold food and a ‘British pub-style’ bar. Staff were friendly and welcoming. Just remember that there may be quite a walk from the lounge to your gate and therefore you should provide sufficient time to get to your gate.
On-board There has been much debate over recent years on whether First class cabins are still feasible in the more cost-conscious world, particularly following the roll-out of lie-flat beds across many of the world‘s airlines business class offerings. Many have concluded that the First class cabin serves as a status symbol and offers a ‘reward’ to regular business class travellers who use frequent flyer miles to upgrade. I would conclude that this may be the case for United’s First Class, with just 6 seats in the first class cabin and 1 reserved for flight crew resting, I find it hard to believe that the costs of having a separate cabin are covered.
Full details of the cabin layout can be found on seatplans.com! I checked before flying and elected for seat 1A as seats A and C - these are adjacent to each other allowing for quiet conversations to be had between passengers (while remaining private) so perfect for two people travelling together. If travelling alone then seat 1K is best for privacy. The seat behind (2K) is usually reserved for the crew rest area and across the aisle is the hard back shell of seat 1C and therefore you have nothing (and no one) to look at.
Seating United has rolled out its new business class product and first class suites across much of its Trans-Atlantic fleet. At the time of writing (Jan 2010) all of its 767 and 747 fleet had been converted and retrofitting of its 46 B777 aircraft was set to commence in February 2010. It’s worth checking with the airline before booking to save disappointment if you want the new seating. While there is limited difference in First Class, the business class product is dramatically different with lie flat seats available in business class in the new cabins.
Changes to United’s First Class Suite are less dramatic when compared to the old suite. The size and format appear to be much the same as older suites but with some appreciated updates. Key features of the suite:
1) Fully flat 6ft 6in bed / 23.5in wide - extremely comfortable and convertible at a touch of a button 2) 15.4 in monitor with 150 hours of entertainment - a big upgrade from the old suite which featured cassette tapes for movies! 3) Noise cancelling headphones - the new must-have premium cabin accessory 4) Ample storage - This appeared to be larger than the old suites although I’ve never had any problems finding room to store my items 5) USB port for data transfer and to review photos - I didn’t use this feature but can see how it could be useful 6) Power supply (110V) for laptop
All seats offer aisle access and are readily accessible.
The seat / bed was completely dynamic allowing a resting seated position for when watching tv, fully seated for dining and full flat bed when sleeping. The suite is truly private and spacious and even the tallest of travellers would find it difficult to complain about a lack of space. When converted into a bed the hard back shell serves as a very robust privacy cover and you can be rest assured that you won’t be disturbed.
The only problem I found with seat 1A was that the noise and lighting from the gallery can be slightly disturbing. Also the First Class cabin toilet is found on the left hand side of the aircraft and therefore there is more traffic up and down this lane. The occasional business class traveller entered made use of this toilet which increased the number of people walking up and down the aisle. I would recommend moving to 2A and 2C for passengers travelling together and 1K for those on their own.
Boarding After priority boarding we were quickly shown to our seat, offered a choice of champagne or juices and were provided with menus, amenity kit and were greeted by name by the purser who offered to take care of any of our needs. Service on board was efficient, polite and non-obtrusive.
One point of note is that the 767 is boarded from the forward doors and therefore all passengers walk past when boarding. Depending on your personality you might prefer boarding later or you may appreciate the gasps of wows when people walk around the corner and see you sipping champagne and relaxing back in the suite!
On-board service It’s often the small things in life that count. I had been supplied with faulty noise cancelling headphones with the wires were sticking out and before I could say anything these were quickly replaced and an apology forthcoming. Having travelled in premium cabins across different airlines, I would say that the biggest distinction between good service and excellent service is that of anticipation of needs. United’s First Class service certainly did deliver on this.
Once we hit cruising altitude our food orders were taken. United does offer a service of choosing when to eat when travelling in first class, while this is mentioned on the menu it doesn’t tend to be advertised by the flight crew - I suspect it is a lot easier for them to serve everyone at the same time. As this was an afternoon lunchtime flight everyone appeared to choose to eat right away.
Flight attendant to passenger was excellent at two or three to one.
Food For starter I elected for a light lobster salad with asian dressing. The salad was well prepared and came with a fair portion of lobster, fresh greens and was accompanied with freshly warmed bread. A great start to what can turn out to be a very filling meal service
For mains, I chose a filet steak. This was well cooked and came with mashed potatoes and seasonal greens. While not quite restaurant quality, it was very good for a ‘restaurant’ at 35,000ft. The only peculiarity is dealing with a plastic knife! However, I didn’t have any problems with the dining and enjoyed my in-flight movie whilst eating.
Dessert included a choice of cheeses (which I didn’t have) and a selection of ice creams and fruit salad. By this stage I was starting to feel a little full and went for just the ice cream and fruit salad! Needless to say, I was quite ready for sleeping after the meal service. Chocolates were also served with tea and coffee at the end of the service and the box of chocolates were left in the galley snack area for the rest of the flight.
A light meal service was offered ahead of landing and included a selection of sandwiches, cakes and teas.
Conclusion United’s First Class offering sufficiently distinguishes itself as a superior class over its business class cabin, although travellers may find it difficult to justify paying a premium and may choose to use frequent flyer points to upgrade to the cabin.
The first class suites are second to none for comfort and offer an excellent sleep. The First Class Suites are available on flights with an international cabin is available on United flights to Chicago, LA, San Francisco, Washington DC and Denver from London Heathrow.
There was a slight problem with my in-flight entertainment and the headphones which meant that we had to go through about 6 headphones before the sound was right. However, the flight attendant was very committed and willing to continue to try headphones until we found one that worked.
My travel tips and recommendations are:
1) Check the aircraft on your routing, only the 767s and 747s had upgraded so far - it won’t make a huge difference on First Class but it means the difference between a flat bed or not in business
2) Choose your seats carefully. 2A and 2C best for travelling couples while 1K offers the ultimate privacy. The seat format and cabin size changes depending on the aircraft - check out seatplans.com for the seat map for your aircraft
3) Consider using your frequent flyer miles to upgrade to First from Business if you have sufficient miles rather than paying the premium
4) Think about the flight times and whether you want to get sleep on the aircraft. Afternoon flights are good for leisure travellers but night flights may be better for business travellers
5) Try out BMI’s flagship international lounge if you are travelling with a United First ticket (Star Alliance Gold holders will not be granted access without a First ticket) out of Heathrow Terminal 1
6) Remember that you can choose to have your meal service whenever you want if the timing works better for you.
7) The First Class suites offer a 110V power supply - UK travellers may require an adapter
8) A word of caution - United’s First domestic proposition has far lower standards than the international product and therefore I would suggest maximising the time on the international routing when travelling across the Atlantic. For example, if flying to Las Vegas, I would recommend flying to LA or SFO and changing rather than taking the shorter transatlantic routing to ORD or WAS and then taking a longer domestic routing.
Overall the flight was top rated and I would highly recommend it. First Class products are an increasing rarity and it is pleasing to see that United has retained the high standards even in difficult climates.
LAX to SYD on new first class seats -- fantastic! Roomy and quite comfortable -- excellent cabin crew and service very professional and courteous! Meals were terrific and the in-between meal service just as nice. The flat bed was comfortable and roomy, even when fasten seat belt sign was on! A terrific seat on a terrific flight. AVOD selections were plentiful with good various -- never bored for a minute -- and would have liked perhaps more time in flight to see more! Having the AVOD start even before take was a great bonus! Pre-board was fast and easy, even walked to the gate! United has done a very good thing with these new seats! Service is wonderful!
Washington DC-Sao Paulo, at least they had sleeper seats in First now, have put up with the 1070's relic 767 on this service until 2008, but typical american, old attendants, bad service old aircraft,american junk food, still do the od personal screens, need to take a good hard look at themselves, rip off for first cost, are south american passengers second class citizens?
Sydney LAX, old aircaft, old seats, ld flight attendants, ordinary american junk food, outrageous for te fee they charge, felt riipped off, shared busines lounge in sydney with poor old air nz, fraud in any other language to charge first prices for this ancient aircraft and service
I note from current reports that United are half way through upgrading the cabins for this class of aircraft. Their website is still showing the old seat which is the subject of my review. The seat is for me too narrow the electronics are non responsive and the range of adjustment inadequate when compared with other international first class cabins. On top of these inadequacies the lighting would not switch off and the public address anouncements delivered through the ife system were preceded by a hearing damaging bang. Eating and drinking arrangements were cramped to the extent that cushions, pillows amenities and blankets had to be stored on the flioor. The food was adequate and certainly not outstanding; unfortunately the same can be said for most airline food. I am not able to compare this flight with that offered by rival airlines but I have no hesitation in describing my experience as disgraceful and sleepless.