Review: UA EWR-SFO BusinessFirst

Date: Thursday July 14
Flight: UA1885
Aircraft: B777-200
Origin: EWR
Destination: SFO
Seat: 9J BusinessFirst
Scheduled Push Back: 3:59 PM
Actual Push Back: 4:46 PM

Time to jump in and do my first flight review. Like I said in my first post, I fly coach 99% of the time. Well, this happens to be the 1% of the time where an upgrade cleared.

Since this flight falls into the category of EWR-SFO/LAX United deems this a “Premium Service” flight. Therefore, United elites are excluded from the normal Complimentary Premier Upgrade (CPU) process. For this flight I applied a Regional Premier Upgrade (RPU) at booking and it cleared a week or so later.

Boarding
Boarding was a zoo, as it is in typical United fashion. The group 1 line went from the boarding door into the main concourse walkway disrupting the flow of foot traffic. Apparently United is working on a new boarding process.

As noted above, today’s flight was on a 777 rather than the normally scheduled 757. This 777 was a pmUA plane which means an awful business class layout of 2-4-2. Luckily I had an aisle on one of the sides. However, United has announced a new all aisle access (high density) business class layout and an updated soft product. The new hard and soft product is being called “United Polaris” and is due to launch at the end of 2016.

United gives out what I like to dub “amenity kit lite” on PS flights. Since the Summer 2016 Olympics are starting up, the amenity kits are tins with the Olympic logo. The kit/tin contains red white and blue eye shades, ear plugs, and a mini tooth brush with toothpaste.

Meal Service
Since this was a late afternoon flight, dinner service was provided. The menu is created by The Trotter Project, which according to the spiel on the menu incorporates flavors of the season (yadda yadda yadda). In other words, your choices are chicken, beef, or pasta, like on every United flight.

7-14 Menu

Before any part of the meal service began, the flight attendants came through the cabin with a beverage service. The flight attendants pushed carts through the aisles, which I found odd for business class, and never seen before. Along with the beverages, mixed nuts where also passed out.

The appetizer was a cauliflower and garbanzo bean salad with prosciutto on the side. After serving the salad, another flight attendant came by offering a variety of dinner rolls.

7-14 Salad

For dinner I ordered the Beef Short Rib which had a bordelaise sauce and came with a polenta cake, and orange marmalade kale.

7-14 Dinner

If you’re saying, that meal doesn’t sound too bad. Let me remind you that it’s airline food. With that said, I don’t expect airline food to be 12/10 amazing. I expect it to be edible and not taste bad. I guess my standards are lower/more realistic for what it really is; large scale pre-prepared food that is reheated by flight attendants.

The salad was well, a salad, nothing special there. The beef was cooked through as normal, and the kale actually had a orange marmalade zest to it. The polenta was pretty standard, hard to mess that up.

After the dishes and tray was collected, an ice cream cart was pushed through the aisles. The offering was vanilla bean gelato with a variety of toppings. I decided to pass on that as I try to do the healthy thing.

I ordered a coffee as United now serves illy dark roast coffee on all flights worldwide as of July 1 2016. I’m no coffee aficionado, but illy dark roast is pretty good. The introduction of illy has been a refreshing upgrade from the previous coffee which has been dubbed “fresh poo” by users on FlyerTalk. For once it seems, this a change that you’ll like.

7-14 Coffee

To finish off the service, about an hour and half before landing the flight attendants came through the aisles with chocolate chip cookies and milk. Again, I decided to pass on that as I try to do the healthy thing.

Survey Says
This was a pretty standard United BusinessFirst flight. The lay flat bed was better than sitting in economy. The food was as expected for airline food.