I flew UA
business class on a 747-400 on the short Seoul Inchon 3 hour segement to Tokyo Narita.
The seat was really comfortable and, for business class, had a great recline, seat adjustment. It did indeed have PTVs (same size as in Coach but on an arm that folds up from the middle section between the seats) and noise canceling headsets. It also, if I remember correctly, had an adjustable reading light.
Food was definitely better and more plentiful than coach. I chose the Asian meal (lunch, it was a midday flight), but my traveling companion had the Western meal. Both were good. It is served on a singe tray, like coach, but with real glasses and plates. Drinks are unlimited (although in Coach, United offers free licquor as well).
Overall, a good experience. My partner flew ANA on the IAD
segment in Business (boeing 777 without the new ANA lie flat business seats) and flew UA
the rest of the time in Business. He said that the food was better on ANA but that the UA
seat was much more comfortable.
My seat on the 747-400 in Business was in the upper deck. I would highly recommend that cabin, especially if you have never sat in the upper deck of the jumbo. Only complaint is that windows are at a weird angle (because of curvature) and you have to really strain your neck to see out well. However, it is really neat to see the wing and engines from so far up.
It is also very nice to be upstairs. There are two flight attendents up there, and they do a good job of serving everybody.
Flying through is a good idea, as the international terminal (you will transit through their on the Tokyo routing) is beautiful and provides great viewing for exotic Asian airlines. They also have a very nice airliner museum in that terminal.
Even if you go in coach, it is not so bad even without the PTVs. On my routings on the 747-400 (SFO
), the service was good on United. They give you two full meals (one after you takeoff and one before you land, if I remember correctly) and from what I remember they were quite tasty. Mid-flight they give you ice cream and cookies. They also come by with water/juice and you can pretty much always ask for drinks from the Flight Attendents anytime. The stewardess on one route even brought me some cake from First Class, on a beautiful dish! They don't have PTVs, but if you pick your seat right you can have good view of an overhead monitor. Movie selection wasn't so bad on my routings.
Narita is not as interesting as I thought it would be. Rather old airport from the 1970s/1980s. However, you will see lots of 747s/777s and a scattering of Airbus and MD
Hope you get the upgrade and enjoy your trip.