Tech

I flew on United’s new ultra-premium transcontinental flight from New York to California and it’s now my least favorite way to cross the US in economy

The transcontinental routes were premium-focused and used Boeing 757s outfitted with additional first class and business classes seats to service the lucrative clientele flying coast-to-coast.

A United Airlines Boeing 757-200 at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport.

Eliyahu Yosef Parypa/Shutterstock.com


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.

FILE PHOTO: United Airlines president Scott Kirby speaks before the departure of the "Flight for the Planet", the most eco-friendly commercial flight in history of aviation, according to the airline, from O'Hare International Airport to Los Angeles, in Chicago, Illinois, U.S., June 5, 2019. REUTERS/Kamil Krzaczynski

United Airlines president Scott Kirby speaks at O’Hare International Airport in Chicago

Reuters


But now, United is back with a vengeance and taking on competitors with one of its supposedly swankiest aircraft, a Boeing 767-300ER with a whopping 46 Polaris business class seats, 22 Premium Plus premium economy seats, and 99 economy seats.

United Airlines JFK

The first United Airlines flight to return to New York’s JFK Airport.

Thomas Pallini/Insider


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.

United Airlines New York to San Francisco Flight

Flying on United Airlines from New York to San Francisco.

Thomas Pallini/Insider


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.

IMG_7893

Flying on United Airlines from New York to San Francisco.

Thomas Pallini/Insider


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 Airlines New York to San Francisco Flight

Flying on United Airlines from New York to San Francisco.

Thomas Pallini/Insider


But with a fraction of its normal number of travelers, many of the shops and eateries were closed. All the lounges in the terminal were also closed, which takes a bit of the premium out of the premium service as both American Airlines and Delta Air Lines have open lounges at the airport.

United Airlines New York to San Francisco Flight

Flying on United Airlines from New York to San Francisco.

Thomas Pallini/Insider


United primarily uses Gates 2 and 3 in the terminal, which are just a quick walk from security and boast expansive seating areas.

United Airlines New York to San Francisco Flight

Flying on United Airlines from New York to San Francisco.

Thomas Pallini/Insider


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.

United Airlines New York to San Francisco Flight

Flying on United Airlines from New York to San Francisco.

Thomas Pallini/Insider


Source: Planespotters.net

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 Airlines New York to San Francisco Flight

Flying on United Airlines from New York to San Francisco.

Thomas Pallini/Insider


United has since abandoned its back-to-front boarding policy and now boards in zones, based on seat location.

United Airlines New York to San Francisco Flight

Flying on United Airlines from New York to San Francisco.

Thomas Pallini/Insider


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..

United Airlines New York to San Francisco Flight

Flying on United Airlines from New York to San Francisco.

Thomas Pallini/Insider


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.

United Airlines New York to San Francisco Flight

Flying on United Airlines from New York to San Francisco.

Thomas Pallini/Insider


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.

United Airlines New York to San Francisco Flight

Flying on United Airlines from New York to San Francisco.

Thomas Pallini/Insider


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 Airlines New York to San Francisco Flight

Flying on United Airlines from New York to San Francisco.

Thomas Pallini/Insider


Business class was followed by the Premium Plus cabin with its purple recliner seats arranged in a 2-2-2 configuration. These seats offer a luxurious 19 inches of width and 38 inches of pitch.

United Airlines New York to San Francisco Flight

Flying on United Airlines from New York to San Francisco.

Thomas Pallini/Insider


United wanted $199 to upgrade to these seats, which isn’t unreasonable at all for a long flight such as this one.

United Airlines New York to San Francisco Flight

Flying on United Airlines from New York to San Francisco.

Thomas Pallini/Insider


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.

United Airlines New York to San Francisco Flight

Flying on United Airlines from New York to San Francisco.

Thomas Pallini/Insider


Most Related Links :
Business News Governmental News Finance News

Source link

Back to top button