Points, Miles, Martinis contributor, Nicky, shares his thoughts from a recent United PS Business Class flight from San Francisco to Newark.
United’s PS service from Newark to San Francisco or Los Angeles is it’s flagship Transcontinental route, with an emphasis on the premium traveler with United Club Lounge access, fully flat beds in United Business, multiple course meals, and more.
From February up until May, United has been flying it’s newest toy, the Boeing 777-300ER, which has the new United Polaris Business seat, from Newark to San Francisco. Usually this route is flown with a Boeing 757, which has an older Business class seat, which is also fully flat but does not give every passenger aisle access.
The new 777-300ER gives Polaris passengers aisle access (configuration is a 1-2-1 layout), better comfort, new bedding, and superior experience. However, economy is not so desired since United went with the high density 3-4-3 layout in economy.
Check-in was quick and efficient. After security, I headed to the United Club, which was packed to the brim. After a quick snack at the club, I headed to the gate, which I found out the flight was full in both cabins. I was assigned 9D, a middle section seat at the bulkhead and tried to change to a window seat but was out of luck since the flight was full.
Entering the plane I was greeted by a flight attendant who directed me to my seat. The seat had a Saks Fifth Avenue branded blanket and pillow waiting for me (since this is PS not full Polaris, there were some items that were not offered – day blanket, extra pillows, etc.).
Once I sat down, I played around with the controls, which were at the side, tested out the large 16in touchscreen IFE, which has much more movie and tv choices than other planes, and explored my space.
I appreciated the large cocktail table (though the table was a faux marble) and side storage space. However, the side storage place only holds a few items – amenity kit, bottle water, so no placing laptops or large items. Even though there was a partition between my seat and the next seat, I felt very close to my fellow passenger, so this seat is not recommended for solo travelers.
A flight attendant asked me for my pre-departure beverage, and I asked for a sparkling water. The same flight attendant provided passengers with amenity kits, which is a smaller version of the new international amenity kits, and menu’s for today’s flight. While on the ground, flight attendants asked passengers to have a second choice in the event the first choice was no longer available.
Once in the air, flight attendants started meal service with a drink of choice and warm nuts. I chose a gin and tonic. For my main meal choice, I chose the “Four-Cheese Ravioli.” The starters were a prosciutto with cheese and cantaloupe, and a salad. The prosciutto was good but the salad had too much additional items like grapes and raisins, which could have eliminated from the dish. The ravioli was pretty standard and nothing to rave about. After the main course, flight attendants came around with the sundae service, and bottle waters for passengers. Once full, I put the seat into the bed mode and slept until an hour before landing in Newark.
Just before landing, flight attendants came around with freshly baked cookies and milk. However, the cookie was very sweet and mushy. After the cookie, I ventured to the lavatory, which was huge (since it was a handicapped lavatory). I also noticed the mood lighting on the plane.
For this plane, United has a walk-up bar, which on international flights, would have drinks and snacks for passengers to take. However, the bar was not utilized for this flight. We landed in Newark a bit late due to a late departure in SFO.
Overall, United has improved their business class product and would love to try the international version in the future. However, economy leaves much to be desired.