planereality
Posts: 91
Joined: Sun Sep 07, 2008 6:01 pm

UA: SFO-NRT; Biz. Class & Photos

Fri Nov 06, 2009 6:00 pm

http://i489.photobucket.com/albums/rr252/luxuryairandsea/DSCN2932.jpg

United Airlines #837 San Francisco (SFO) to Tokyo (NRT)
Business Class
Boeing 744
Depart: SFO 11:28AM Arrive: NRT 2:10PM Arrives next day
10h 42m -- 5,124 miles
thoughts, feeback, questions welcome

http://i489.photobucket.com/albums/rr252/luxuryairandsea/DSCN2878.jpg

I was anxious to experience United's "new" International Business Class Seats. They have been installed on all 767's, 92% of their 747 fleet and United is about to start installation on their 777 fleet: http://www.suitedreams.united.com/

I was careful in choosing UA's 1st flight of the day from SFO-NRT on the 747 as opposed to the 2nd flight of the day, operated with a 777 (old styles business class seats). Keep in mind that half the seats in United's new international business class face forward and the other half face towards the back of the plane. Apparently, this allows for more space for all business class passengers. The bizarre part is that if you are sitting in an aisle seat and turn your head 20 degrees, you are basically staring straight at someone. This can be good or bad depending, of course, who is in that seat. I don't know about you, but the thought of travelling backwards for 10 hours is not appealing to me, although I realize this does not bother many passengers. I was careful to select and re-confirm a forward facing seat. The seat I chose happened to be on the aisle, in the middle section of a 2-4-2 configuration; seat 7H.

My arrival at SFO's International Terminal came 3 hours before departure. To my amazement, all of United's First and Business class dedicated check in counters were closed.

http://i489.photobucket.com/albums/rr252/luxuryairandsea/IMG00005-20091019-1147.jpg

I stood in line at the economy check in desk and was issued my boarding pass. I did casually inquire as to why there were no dedicated check in lines for premium customers. Both agents looked at each other, baffled, spun around to look at the premium check in desks and then explained to me that those desk agents were still in a management briefing meeting. Sounds like any typical large corporation; focus on the trees and forget about the forest.

Other airlines operating from SFO's International Terminal:

http://i489.photobucket.com/albums/rr252/luxuryairandsea/DSCN2882.jpg

After breezing through security and checking out the Red Carpet Club (report on planereality.com), I made my way to the gate.

http://i489.photobucket.com/albums/rr252/luxuryairandsea/DSCN2904.jpg

Passengers, including me, were somewhat confused by the boarding process. We simply could not understand the attendant's announcements. I have no idea if it was the quality of the p.a. system, her accent or something else, but passengers were asking questions of their fellow passengers to clarify what was going on. Nevertheless, boarding was quick, through two separate doors, one for economy class passengers and one for first and business passengers as well as Star Alliance Gold members. Both doors led to the same hallway and then split again into 2 separate jet bridges.

I noticed two things, as soon as I got to my seat. There was no storage to speak of except for a small shelf on the partition in front of me. There was a small hook on the partition where I could hang my amenity kit. I noticed a small footrest cut into the partition which I did not think much of at first, but it made the seat that much more comfortable throughout the flight. Simply being able to stretch my legs out while sitting upright was clutch.

http://i489.photobucket.com/albums/rr252/luxuryairandsea/DSCN2929.jpg

http://i489.photobucket.com/albums/rr252/luxuryairandsea/IMG00015-20091019-1355.jpg

4 abreast, rear facing seats; this was the row in front of me:
http://i489.photobucket.com/albums/rr252/luxuryairandsea/IMG00011-20091019-1349.jpg

Shortly after I took my seat, water, orange juice and champagne were offered in plastic cups. Menus were distributed and I was asked for my first and second choice of entrée.



I truly enjoy being able to listen to Air Traffic Control through the headphones during takeoff and landing. United is the only airline I have flown on that provides this, although whether to enable this function is up to the pilot’s discretion. As soon as we reached cruising altitude, hot towels, warmed gourmet nuts (refills offered) and cocktails were served.
not water:
http://i489.photobucket.com/albums/rr252/luxuryairandsea/DSCN2940.jpg

Shortly following, appetizers and then main courses were served. My beef stroganoff was tender and hearty and the noodles were cooked perfectly.

http://i489.photobucket.com/albums/rr252/luxuryairandsea/DSCN2942.jpg

http://i489.photobucket.com/albums/rr252/luxuryairandsea/DSCN2943.jpg

The flight attendants were professional, efficient and very diligent about refilling drinks. I noticed that the flight attendants were in the aisles every 30 minutes offering bottled water throughout the entire flight.
http://i489.photobucket.com/albums/rr252/luxuryairandsea/DSCN2938.jpg

More Seats/Cabin
http://i489.photobucket.com/albums/rr252/luxuryairandsea/DSCN2927.jpg
http://i489.photobucket.com/albums/rr252/luxuryairandsea/DSCN2935.jpg
http://i489.photobucket.com/albums/rr252/luxuryairandsea/DSCN2945.jpg
http://i489.photobucket.com/albums/rr252/luxuryairandsea/DSCN2934.jpg

There is a traditional overhead light, but it lights up the whole row when turned on and could potentially bother the other passengers. There was also a personal light over my left shoulder, however, I found this only useful when I was reclined. If I had the light on when sitting upright, it illuminated the backward facing passenger across from me. Maybe I was just being too considerate.
Amenity kit (wound up with 2 somehow)
http://i489.photobucket.com/albums/rr252/luxuryairandsea/DSCN3051.jpg

These new business class seat have awesome full recline, making for a fully flat bed, but they are fairly narrow. If I was lying on my back I could not have my arms by my sides, there was simply not enough space. I needed to rest my arms above my head. Instead of lying on my back, I laid on my side and was good to go. The beauty of these seats is that you will not slide down them when sleeping, like some of the other airlines’ “lie-flat” seats. There are no privacy screens between the seats, so I did feel a little too close to the passenger next to me, particularly when lying on my side. A standard airline pillow and an oversized, ultra comfortable blanket were also at each seat.

Mid flights snacks were listed in the menu, but these were not served, the snacks (cheese, fruit and pretzels) were simply available adjacent to the galley. There was a hand written note above the snacks that said:
“Hot sandwiches available, ask f.a.” I declined to that, but did grab a few snacks.

I opened the window shade on the door and saw these 2 beauties:
http://i489.photobucket.com/albums/rr252/luxuryairandsea/DSCN2959.jpg

The size of the personal television at each business class seat was impressive, as was the quantity and variety of movies, games and television programs. There could be a few more choices added to the music selection. There is an outlet in the center console to plug in your ipod, although I there is a special cord required and I did not inquire as to whether the flight attendants had these cords available. There must be some type of technology issue as to why these outlets were not made to fit standard cords.
nice size PTV:
http://i489.photobucket.com/albums/rr252/luxuryairandsea/IMG00013-20091019-1350.jpg

http://i489.photobucket.com/albums/rr252/luxuryairandsea/DSCN2955.jpg

http://i489.photobucket.com/albums/rr252/luxuryairandsea/DSCN2951.jpg

My second meal, about 90 minutes before landing, was the pastrami sandwich (I am health nut). When you compare every sandwich you eat to a sandwich from Katz’s Delicatessen, you are a tough customer to please. When it comes to pastrami or corned beef sandwiches, they are either flavorful and tender or bland and fatty, there is nothing in between. United produced the former and I was impressed!

http://i489.photobucket.com/albums/rr252/luxuryairandsea/DSCN2957.jpg

Conclusion
I experinecd a very comfortable, relaxing flight with United. Professional, prompt and courteous service along with great food. United has stepped it up by installing new International Business Class seats and in the process enabled themselves to better compete with some of the foreign airlines. Thanks for reading!
OBW-(oh by the way)-I will be on AF A380 on 11/21 and should have a bunch of pics
Andiamo!
 
jetblue777
Posts: 1197
Joined: Fri Jul 17, 2009 4:13 pm

RE: UA: SFO-NRT; Biz. Class & Photos

Fri Nov 06, 2009 8:14 pm

Nice report. 4 abreast on a J class? Im shocked, it looks so cramped. BTW, I hate rear facing seats, it feels like your not in a plane.
It's a cultural thing.
 
tu154
Posts: 334
Joined: Fri Dec 17, 2004 1:37 am

RE: UA: SFO-NRT; Biz. Class & Photos

Fri Nov 06, 2009 9:42 pm

great trip report and pics.

it's unfortunate that predeparture drinks are served in plastic. This is required by the FAA no?
FIRST ON THE ATLANTIC.....FIRST ON THE PACIFIC.....FIRST IN LATIN AMERICA...FIRST 'ROUND THE WORLD.....PAN AM!!
 
LondonCity
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RE: UA: SFO-NRT; Biz. Class & Photos

Sat Nov 07, 2009 12:19 am



Quoting JetBlue777 (Reply 1):
Nice report. 4 abreast on a J class? Im shocked, it looks so cramped. BTW, I hate rear facing seats, it feels like your not in a plane.

BA's Club World also features 4 abreast seating in the middle of the J class cabin on both the B747 and B777. Actual layout is 2-4-2 on both plane types.
 
BMI727
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RE: UA: SFO-NRT; Biz. Class & Photos

Sat Nov 07, 2009 4:01 am



Quoting JetBlue777 (Reply 1):
Im shocked, it looks so cramped. BTW, I hate rear facing seats, it feels like your not in a plane.

I've flown facing the rear on BA and it is just fine. I really like the extra shoulder room and easy conversation with a traveling companion. There was no problem with the view and it didn't feel strange or awkward at all. Kudos to BA and UA for effective use of space, but it looks like the BA config does a little better in that respect. with their RF-FRRF-FR configuration vs. UA's FF-RRRR-FF style.
Why do Aerospace Engineering students have to turn things in on time?
 
daron4000
Posts: 604
Joined: Mon Mar 07, 2005 12:17 pm

RE: UA: SFO-NRT; Biz. Class & Photos

Sat Nov 07, 2009 5:17 am



Quoting JetBlue777 (Reply 1):
Nice report. 4 abreast on a J class? Im shocked, it looks so cramped. BTW, I hate rear facing seats, it feels like your not in a plane.

I am the opposite. The experience of flying is so much more heightened when you are flying backwards and I love it.
 
ClubWorld1986
Posts: 1
Joined: Fri May 22, 2009 10:26 am

RE: UA: SFO-NRT; Biz. Class & Photos

Mon Nov 09, 2009 10:49 am



Quoting LondonCity (Reply 3):

4 abreast works for BA because of the alternating design, but all 4 in one direction... no. very uh um... intimate when trying to sleep I'd say if you're all strangers.

I can't quite tell from the pics, but are there any type of retractable privacy screens between the seats?
 
744
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RE: UA: SFO-NRT; Biz. Class & Photos

Thu Nov 12, 2009 6:21 pm

Hi Planereality,
Excellent Trip Report. Would you be able to take cabin shots of every cabin (Premier, L'Espace, and Tempo) of AF A380. It would be fun to tour the new plane, with your eyes. Thanks for all your efforts. Happy Flying!
Rgds,
744
 
JFKMan
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RE: UA: SFO-NRT; Biz. Class & Photos

Thu Nov 12, 2009 8:01 pm

A great trip.

I do like United and was impressed. Thanks  Smile
AA - LGA
 
planereality
Posts: 91
Joined: Sun Sep 07, 2008 6:01 pm

RE: UA: SFO-NRT; Biz. Class & Photos

Thu Nov 12, 2009 9:31 pm

Thank you for the comments.

Quoting Tu154 (Reply 2):
it's unfortunate that predeparture drinks are served in plastic. This is required by the FAA no?

not sure what FAA requires but Delta uses glass on the ground

Quoting ClubWorld1986 (Reply 6):
but are there any type of retractable privacy screens between the seats?

unfortunately not

Quoting 744 (Reply 7):
Would you be able to take cabin shots of every cabin (Premier, L'Espace, and Tempo) of AF A380.

I will sure try, although I will be in Y; maybe some exceptions will be given under the circumstances (?) I will post what I can get
Andiamo!
 
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fxramper
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RE: UA: SFO-NRT; Biz. Class & Photos

Fri Nov 13, 2009 5:43 am

Food actually looks amazing; great report, but show us more pics of Narita or Tokyo next time. Looking forward to the next chapter.  bigthumbsup 
 
crjflyer35
Posts: 509
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RE: UA: SFO-NRT; Biz. Class & Photos

Fri Nov 13, 2009 6:31 pm

Great looking pictures! Reminded me of my Biz class travels on UA from ICN and NRT to SFO. The new seats look very comfy.

Thanks for sharing!
Ok, wait for the RJ to pass, cleared to push tail south Mike, and you're cleared to spin #2 in the push.
 
PlaneHunter
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RE: UA: SFO-NRT; Biz. Class & Photos

Fri Nov 13, 2009 6:41 pm

Nice report, UA's Business Class product looks quite good.

Quoting Planereality (Thread starter):
This can be good or bad depending, of course, who is in that seat. I don't know about you, but the thought of travelling backwards for 10 hours is not appealing to me, although I realize this does not bother many passengers.

I guess I wouldn't enjoy that.

Quoting Planereality (Thread starter):
Shortly after I took my seat, water, orange juice and champagne were offered in plastic cups.

Champagne in plastic cups? That's acceptable in Y Class, but not in J Class.


PH
Nothing's worse than flying the same reg twice!
 
CaptainTim
Posts: 378
Joined: Fri Dec 31, 2004 1:43 am

RE: UA: SFO-NRT; Biz. Class & Photos

Sun Nov 15, 2009 6:03 pm

can i ask when you made this flight?

why?

being a die-hard United fan, I have just one complaint to their new business class service....
.
.
.

PLEASE CHANGE THE MENUS!!!!

they have been serving the smoked salmon and proscuitto
with the grilled mahi mahi (which they claim to be a charlie trotters special)
or beef stragonoff
and on pre-arrival the beef pastrami sandwiches on almost ALL their US-Asia routes whether it is SFO-HKG SFO-NRT ORD-HKG its all been the same for the past year!

When they first launched the ORD-HKG 744 with the new config, they were already serving this menu and a year into the new premium product, they have yet to change the menu at least on routes i regularly fly SFO-HKG or ORD-HKG... its very very disappointing.

they need to change it.

but anyhow! great report  Smile glad you enjoyed the product!

Quoting Tu154 (Reply 2):
it's unfortunate that predeparture drinks are served in plastic. This is required by the FAA no?

accroding to an FA i spoke to, it makes it easier for them to clear the predeparture drinks when they're in a hurry to clear the cabin and prep it for t/o. instead of taking the glasses one by one and putting them on trays, they can just throw all the cups away making it quicker and easier.
Gulfstream Planeview Cockpit: "why have hundreds of buttons when a CCD does the same thing and more?"
 
ba319-131
Posts: 8133
Joined: Sat Jan 13, 2001 1:27 pm

RE: UA: SFO-NRT; Biz. Class & Photos

Sun Nov 15, 2009 6:58 pm

Nice report & pictures, thanks for sharing.

Quoting Planereality (Thread starter):
I don't know about you, but the thought of travelling backwards for 10 hours is not appealing to me, although I realize this does not bother many passengers

- I prefer it, always book a rear facing seat on BA longhaul.

Quoting Planereality (Thread starter):
To my amazement, all of United's First and Business class dedicated check in counters were closed.

- Poor, if they were in a meeting coverage should have been arranged.

Quoting Planereality (Thread starter):
4 abreast, rear facing seats; this was the row in front of me:

- Nasty layout, given UA are late to the party with an improved product, they had time to look at the competition and get it right, seems they forgot to do that.

Quoting Planereality (Thread starter):
water, orange juice and champagne were offered in plastic cups

- I suspect it was sparkling wine, regardless, plastic cups in Business is just below par.

Quoting Planereality (Thread starter):
There are no privacy screens between the seats, so I did feel a little too close to the passenger next to me, particularly when lying on my side

- See my statement earlier.

Quoting Planereality (Thread starter):
OBW-(oh by the way)-I will be on AF A380 on 11/21 and should have a bunch of pics

- I'm on her on the 27th.

Quoting LondonCity (Reply 3):
Quoting JetBlue777 (Reply 1):
Nice report. 4 abreast on a J class? Im shocked, it looks so cramped. BTW, I hate rear facing seats, it feels like your not in a plane.

BA's Club World also features 4 abreast seating in the middle of the J class cabin on both the B747 and B777. Actual layout is 2-4-2 on both plane types.

- Yes but BA have a better layout than this.

Regards

Mark
111,732,3,4,5,7,8,BBJ,741,742,743,744,752,762,763,764,772,77L,773,77W,L15,D10,30,40,AB3,AB6,A312.313,319,320,321,332,333
 
jayeshrulz
Posts: 349
Joined: Sun Apr 29, 2007 7:36 pm

RE: UA: SFO-NRT; Biz. Class & Photos

Mon Nov 16, 2009 8:21 am

IIRC,

CX economy is also 2-4-2 config?
IMHO,i felt that mostly all airlines in US and EU (except DL) from my experience have a bit cramped config in there aircraft.
please correctly me if i'm wrong.till now flown in AF,BA and CO,i felt a bit cramped and struggling to get space there,But in my ME carriers like EY And EK.Maybe coz i'm 6'1?  sarcastic 
Keep flying, because the sky is no limit!
 
christao17
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Joined: Sun Apr 17, 2005 12:14 pm

RE: UA: SFO-NRT; Biz. Class & Photos

Tue Nov 17, 2009 9:48 am

Nice report, thanks for sharing. I had the opportunity to fly UA's new business class from BKK to NRT and back this April and was generally impressed by the new cabin. The seats are comfortable, although a bit narrow like you mention. If the most important factor is being able to get some sleep during a flight, then they are a success.
Keeping the "civil" in civil aviation...
 
codc10
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RE: UA: SFO-NRT; Biz. Class & Photos

Wed Nov 18, 2009 7:05 am

Nice report. UA's Business Class to Asia is a solid product.

Quoting Planereality (Reply 9):
not sure what FAA requires but Delta uses glass on the ground

Any time I've flown with DL up front, I've received plastic on the ground, including plastic champagne flutes in BusinessElite before departure.

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