Although the routes weren’t profitable, then-airline president Scott Kirby said that it was a “mistake” for the airline to leave because those lucrative customers shifted to other airlines like American Airlines and Delta Air Lines for their transcontinental needs, and more.
I flew on the newly restored route from New York to San Francisco on a trip to the West Coast. Here’s what it was like.
Arriving at around 3 p.m. on a Monday, the terminal was eerily quiet thanks to a lack of international flyers. Only two United flights were scheduled to depart that day, both in the early evening, and there was no line at all to check-in.
United returned to its old home at Kennedy International, Terminal 7. It’s among the smallest terminals at the airport and all gates are just a short walk from the security checkpoint.
United primarily uses Gates 2 and 3 in the terminal, which are just a quick walk from security and boast expansive seating areas.
I got a quick look at our aircraft before departure. This Boeing 767 was nearly 21 years old and was due for a paint job as there was some green showing.
Boarding began a full 50 minutes before the flight, which I initially thought was more than needed since the aircraft only has 167 seats.
United has since abandoned its back-to-front boarding policy and now boards in zones, based on seat location.
I walked onboard and quickly realized that all that glitters isn’t gold. The first thing I thought when I stepped on board was that this was an old plane with new seats..
Polaris business class did look impressive with the luxurious and privacy-minded seats arranged in a 1-1-1 configuration. All of these seats go fully lie-flat, as well.
A single seat in the cabin was initially selling for thousands but once I booked, the cheapest upgrade price I saw was around $364. This is the route’s moneymaker but 17 seats went empty, the seat map showed just before departure.
I probably would’ve enjoyed the flight a lot more if I was in this swanky cabin. But I was in economy all the way.
United wanted $199 to upgrade to these seats, which isn’t unreasonable at all for a long flight such as this one.
Economy houses the remaining 99 seats in a 2-3-2 configuration, standard for the 767. It’s preferable for me since I normally choose a window seat and have one less person in the row to climb over when I get up.
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