Thursday, January 9, 2014

Airline and Lounge Review: United Premium Business Class Redeye from JFK to SFO

This is my very overdue review of my experience in the United lounge at JFK airport in New York and my red-eye flight to California during the holidays.  

I did not know it at the time, but my flight had the "premium" business class from JFK to SFO.  United runs these flights between JFK and SFO and JFK and LAX.  The premium business class has a lie-flat bed.  And unlike the Asian carriers, United's lie-flat bed is "American-sized" - wide and very long.  They claim to accomodate people up to 6'4".  

My flight left very early in the morning so the lounge was quiet.  There were a decent number of chairs and sofas.
There was a coffee and tea kiosk where they served Twinings and Numi tea.  The Numi tea was a nice touch and I was impressed.

The views could have been better but I guess I do not really care about that.  Plus it was kind of cool to see the hustle and bustle of the planes as they took off, departed, and all the preparation work in between.
There was a good selection of breakfast pastries, yogurt and cereal.
The fruit was thoughtfully individually plastic-wrapped.  They should do this in Asia...
Once on my flight, I settled into my business class seat. 

The seats are two by two, side by side, with no angling whatsoever.  I did not really like this feature because it means the person in the window seat has a hard time getting out, especially if her neighbor, a complete stranger, is fully laid out in his flat bed.  Just saying.  If you are traveling with a companion though, I could see how it might be kind of nice. 
The TV screen was a nice size and looked brand new, although I did not use it at all.  Sleep was the most important objective on my red-eye!
 Oddly, the leg and foot space looks very narrow and small in my picture, but I thought this was one of the roomier lie-flat options of the various carriers I have been on.

 There are a lot of angles of repose, conveniently marked on your handrest.  There was no cute cosmetic bag or dopp kit but they did provide the essentials - toothbrush, toothpaste, earplugs and eye mask.  I never used eye masks on flights until I moved out to Hong Kong.  Now I really like them.

When we neared San Francisco, the flight attendants passed around a menu with some breakfast options.  I am embarassed to admit that I completely missed breakfast because I was sleeping so deeply.  Not a bad problem to have on a flight, I guess! I would have liked to try the cinnamon swirl french toast, just out of curiosity.
The flight was smooth and the stewardesses surprisingly pretty friendly.  The pilot spoke like a late night talk show host... let's just say he had a lot of personality (something I do not get on Asian carriers).  It was also a really nice break to have all announcements made in only one language (I thought to myself, "ah, back in the US").  On other carriers, announcements take three or four times as long because they have to do it in English, Cantonese and Mandarin, or English, Mandarin and Taiwanese, etc. etc.

Overall I was happy with my experience, and very grateful I got to try a red-eye flight in business class. It was definitely heads and shoulders above my previous experiences in economy, and it allowed me to get right into the swing of things in California.

1 comment:

  1. Is United p.s. Service the best domestic business class flight? I would
    have not believed it before but yes I loved my recent flight

    Review: United Business Class – New York (JFK) to San Francisco (SFO) p.s. Service