VC10er
Topic Author
Posts: 2234
Joined: Tue Feb 20, 2007 6:25 am

UA International Business Class Great Or Not?

Sun Jul 15, 2012 3:21 pm

I am a very loyal to United, and have been for 20 years, buy choice. I keep reading how deeply hated United is, in many places like newspapers, on line and here. But what I read does not match my experience. This past week I flew to Brazil on the way down a new, clean 777, I was in a backward facing window bed seat. The seat and bed were extremely comfortable (a bit tight and no storage sadly) but the bed comfort, IFE, food, duvet, new amenity kit made up for it. I thought about upgrading to UA's spectacular Global First, but I knew I would sleep so much I'd waste an upgrade. I keep them for Asia, where I will have 8 or 10 hours awake and I can enjoy the seat. But my ride was nothing short of great. And on time. The United Club is old at GRU and needs to look like the new UA club design, but the food is good.

On return I was on the ex-CO 767-400 that is 2 class. Absolutely beautiful. I love a 767. They are just right in size and when "new" they are beautiful, this United ac was absolutely perfect. Every detail. The new CO lie flat seat is great, as is the food, IFE and has storage (I think the UA biz seat as a bed is more comfortable)

But my RT, long haul on an sUA and sCO each, was stellar as was the service and both on time.

So was it just the computer glitch? Or what is it I am missing?

Anyone who travels like that, ought not complain. Or are we expecting Singapore on UA?
The world is missing love, let's use our flights to spread it!
 
aloges
Posts: 14842
Joined: Tue Jan 17, 2006 3:38 am

RE: UA International Business Class Great Or Not?

Sun Jul 15, 2012 4:55 pm

Quoting VC10er (Thread starter):
Or what is it I am missing?

the fact that most disgruntled pax seem to fly eco  

I don't mean that as a joke either - the travel experience in economy doesn't tend to be very enjoyable, so when something like post-merger computer errors or staff mistakes detracts from it, some people reach their personal boiling points.

As for my own experience, I prefer UA over AA and DL and sometimes even LH. There are some changes that I'd like to see, such as less congestion and easier connections form international to domestic at their hubs, but neither of those is a direct responsibility of UA. The obnoxious DIRECTV screens on some aircraft, however, are one and they are one of the worst things that I have ever encountered on any flight.
Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened.
 
roseflyer
Posts: 9606
Joined: Fri Feb 13, 2004 9:34 am

RE: UA International Business Class Great Or Not?

Sun Jul 15, 2012 5:06 pm

People love to complain about US airlines. In my opinion some of it is justified and some is not. UA's seat is quite comfortable in my opinion. The real drawback as you say is there is no storage.

The complaints against UA are endless:

Old cranky flight attendants is a common one. US culture does not provide the level of service that you see in some other cultures. I've never had a problem with the level of service that Americans provide, but of course I am American and am use to that service. US airlines offering international service have been around for decades and have very senior crew. Age discrimination does not happen in the US forcing people who are fully capable of working into retirement, and since long haul routes are preferred and the seniority system exists as it does, you get older senior crews on international flights. You can complain about seniority, and if having someone pretty serve you is important, then other airlines do provide that service.

2-4-2 seating. UA's configuration has good and bad seats. If you are in the middle seats of the section of 4, I agree that the seats are inferior to other airlines. Having a middle seat that is hard to get out of is not desirable on any airline in business class. People who complain about 2-4-2 being too narrow are likely making that judgment on pictures. The way UA did it was cutting out space for width that wasn't needed such as excessively wide arm rests. The window seat pairs are perfectly comfortable in my opinion.

Poor ground service. On this I agree and disagree. UA provides staff at business class check in and it is not self service kiosk with an outsourced baggage handler. The ground staff may or may not be up to people's expectation, but I don't see it as too different than other airlines.

Red Carpet Club. I agree it is not as good as other lounges. Food offerings are minimal. There are rarely additional features like spas, showers, etc.

Food. People love to complain when business or first class meals are not 5 star restaurant quality. Comments like inedible, tasteless, etc are common. I don't ever find the food bad. It satiates an appetite and usually doesn't taste that bad. Comparing it to SQ's book the cook or some of the lavishly extravagant meals offered by some of the Middle Eastern airlines is going to show it inferior. If you want your meal to be an experience of a very high quality restaurant then you won't find that on United. If you want it to be reasonably good and filling, then you will be happy.



People on Airliners.net have very critical eyes. I think that comes with fans of aviation. However slamming an entire company because one person didn't smile at you during boarding is a bit critical in my mind. When I see reviews of restaurants online, I don't see people ranting about hostesses not smiling or servers not being attractive enough, but I guess that is just representative of the eye for detail that people on a.net have.

UA does not provide the best service in the sky. I don't think they claim to do so. What is expected of them is up to the individual flying. From what I see most people are quite content on board with the product provided. Some people are stunned by the level of comfort on UA's business, while others turn up their nose and say that it is like taking a death march. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. I put United as midpack for the Star Alliance. Singapore and Air New Zealand are certainly better in my opinion. Asiana and Air China are worse. That's my opinion where seat comfort is the most important factor for me.
If you have never designed an airplane part before, let the real designers do the work!
 
LAXintl
Posts: 20183
Joined: Wed May 24, 2000 12:12 pm

RE: UA International Business Class Great Or Not?

Mon Jul 16, 2012 3:46 am

The new UA business product is great for a US airline. The hard product is fantastic imo, but the soft product, well it an American legacy carrier still.

Overall however compared to international peers, especially in Asia, the overall UA offering from the ground up to the air definitely comes in lacking. Look I'm a 1K and I'll probably end the year with maybe 30,000miles on UA, and the rest on partners.
But don't feel bad, I'm also an AA EXP and wont fly AA intercontinental either - last time was maybe 4 years ago. I only use them domestically, and would do a OW partner over AA any day with their current product. (I'll will try their new 77W config one day).
From the desert to the sea, to all of Southern California
 
zkeoj
Posts: 980
Joined: Sun Feb 27, 2005 3:00 am

RE: UA International Business Class Great Or Not?

Mon Jul 16, 2012 5:34 am

I have flown UA a bit in 2008, and occasionally before (as far back as in 1992), and I have yet to have a bad experience on UA! I got one upgrade to business EZE-IAD, and it was a nice flight. I found the seat slightly uncomfortable to sleep in, but the rest was perfect. I am with you - I can;t see a negatve thing about UA. On the other hand, every DL flight I was on was not very nice at all (and for some flights that is putting it nicely), and yet, they are loved and got all the positive reviews.

I will be on UA for a few legs this fall again, and I am looking forward to experiencing the post-merger UA, and see how that goes!

Given my experiences wth UA and DL, I would always prefer UA, which shows again that oftne it is probably a matter of personal experiences and preferences. But with a total of 20 legs on UA - one of them in business) and 9 in Delta, I am beyond the case where one bad flight influences the opinion about an airline...

Cheers
micha
 
bgm
Posts: 956
Joined: Fri Sep 11, 2009 9:37 am

RE: UA International Business Class Great Or Not?

Mon Jul 16, 2012 11:40 am

I've flown about 50 flights with UA over the past 10 years and up until my last trip, I generally found them to be fine. Flown in Y/C/F and cannot think of anything terrible that happened. Last year I had several flights with excellent older FAs who seemed to really enjoy their job. When flights were cancelled or delayed, I was rebooked very easily and the ground staff in general were helpful.

However, in May this year I took several flights with them and the experience was not pleasant at all. This was my first trip since the merger with CO. Out of the 4 flights I took (2 on pre-merger UA and 2 on pre-merger CO), 2 were cancelled and 2 were delayed by at least an hour. It took the agent almost an hour to rebook me each time, and while they were apologetic about the delay they seemed to really struggle with the legacy CO reservation system, it seems to be quite cumbersome.  

I have 4 more flights with them in August and quite frankly, I am not looking forward to it. It really seems as though their reservation/ops systems are their achille's heel right now..
 
roseflyer
Posts: 9606
Joined: Fri Feb 13, 2004 9:34 am

RE: UA International Business Class Great Or Not?

Mon Jul 16, 2012 4:53 pm

Quoting LAXintl (Reply 3):
The new UA business product is great for a US airline. The hard product is fantastic imo, but the soft product, well it an American legacy carrier still.

Overall however compared to international peers, especially in Asia, the overall UA offering from the ground up to the air definitely comes in lacking.

This isn’t targeted specifically at you, but I caution people who always think that the US carriers are not as good as Asian carriers. The top tier airlines in Asia do offer an amazing product like SQ, CX, and NH. However there also some very substandard business class products in Asia as well. JAL operates a 767 transpacific with 6 abreast seating and 50’’ pitch, and more airlines offer angled flat business class seats and traditional recliner seats than fully flat products. On United, it is relatively predictable what you will get outside of a few 777s left to get the new interiors and the 762s which are leaving.
If you have never designed an airplane part before, let the real designers do the work!

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