Flying business class is costly (unless your business is paying) so whether its miles or money, if you’re spending either it’s worth shopping around. United, which pretty much has the worst public relations of any airline at the moment, has locked down some key North America to Europe routes – meaning though you may not particularly want to – you might find yourself leaning toward flying business with them.
You can watch my full review of what United’s business class offers in the video above or read on.
For any flight worth its business class, if the seat doesn’t recline into a bed it’s not worth paying for. United’s transatlantic have seats that have multiple recline settings, including fully vertical. They’re not the newest seats but being able to lay down on a long flight significantly reduces both jet lag and the heavy grogginess that comes with otherwise sitting upright for 10 hours 10,000 meters up.
The entertainment center is also loaded with one of the best movie selections of any airline on large screens. (American carriers tend to excel in the movie selection, especially latest releases compared to the rest of the world.) Unfortunately the screens have very poor viewing angles and not being adjustable means if you’re even modestly reclined, viewing is difficult at best. These small inconveniences are where United’s business class continually falls short. United has the basic components of what’s become standard for business classes worldwide but it’s just that: standard.
The staff are friendly and you get access to the United and Lufthansa lounges. Neither are particularly noteworthy when comparing to the business classes of other competing airlines like British Airways, but it’s definitely a noticeable step up from economy.
Better Food But Not Good Food
United’s business class is certainly better than flying economy and that’s true of the food too. Meals are better than United economy (albeit the bar is pretty low) but nothing spectacular. Considering United business class seats are several thousand dollars, one would hope the meals would have a bit more quality. Even the presentation is lacking – again, it’s not bad but it’s not good either – almost like a poor copy of what true business class should be.
Vegan meals are 80% not vegan, vegetarian meals are just vegetables, and the small meat or fish dish portions are hidden in pools of mystery sauce.
Effortless, Not In The Best Way
United has a business class which doesn’t have much sincerity to it; missing from the small touches you’ll find on other airlines. United Airlines is clearly banking on their route dominance, so they’re not trying too hard to take or keep your business.
They fly some of the most efficient routes from North America to Europe so you might find yourself stuck with them. I wouldn’t spend money on their business class if there’s even a slightly worse layover or connection on another airline. But, if you can’t find a better alternative and want to get a legs up from economy, using some frequent flyer miles will certainly enhance your trip. United often run saver mile deals through their site where you can use less than 50% of the miles for business class on certain days or times of the year – they’re worth waiting for if you can.