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
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.
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!