Monday, October 8, 2012

United Airlines First Class 737 Review

The United and Continental merger is complete and the fleets have been nicely scattered around, so you have a good chance of flying on a former Continental 737 (United was an Airbus fan, the merged airline is going 737 for new planes).  These planes will also be staffed by Continental crews, some of the friendliest and most professional in the US.  Here is an overview of what to expect (bold text is from followed by some color commentary).

Onboard amenities
United 737 First Class Seat
Extra-wide leather seats with expanded legroom – The seat is the one thing you can count on.  It’s not as comfortable as the United seats, but still nice and easy to relax in. 
Complimentary blankets available onboard for use during your flight – You have to ask and they might not be available.  Pretty scratchy too, the old united ones were better.  No pillows any more, I bring my own for overnight flights.
United 737 First Class Seat Reclined
Meals and beverages

Pre-departure beverage service – Time permitting and if the flight attendants want to.  Most times they do and take a drink order.
Complimentary beer, wine, spirits, soft drinks and freshly brewed coffee – The new United coffee is miserable, it is undrinkable unless you drop a bottle of Bailey’s in it.  Luckily, they have Bailey’s and are more than happy to mix it in your coffee.  Good selection, same items as in coach, of free drinks.  The mixer/specialty drinks, like the Mojito, are not free though.
Hot towel service – Nice way to freshen up once in the air.
Meal service on flights longer than two hours – The 737 breakfast is great, usually a tasty omelet or egg mcmuffin.  They also have warm cinnamon buns too.  Lunch and dinner is usually a wrap or salad choice.  Both come with tasty soup and a fresh baked cookie.  The food quality is improving, but consistency is not.  Here is breakfast lunch and dinner reviewless than flattering meal review and here is a flattering review.

View additional meal and beverages information
Leg Room in United 737 First Class

Audio entertainment with complimentary headsets provided on aircraft equipped with in-flight entertainment – Not every 737 has inflight entertainment.  A few new airplanes were ordered without any entertainment at all.  I flew one 737 with the new Boeing Sky Interior, but no tv or audio to keep me busy. 
Complimentary DIRECTV® on equipped aircraft – Free if they have it, but it’s not a sure thing.
Complimentary movies on all flights three hours or longer – If there is no DirectTV, but a monitor in the aisle, then you get a free movie.  If there is DirectTV, then you have free access to the system anyway.
A complimentary copy of Hemispheres magazine – Good magazine to flip though, but don’t feel too special, every seat has a copy.
United 737
Airport arrival and departure

Premier AccessSM check-in, baggage handling, boarding and security lines (where available) – Short lines abound for first class flyers.  Two free checked bags too.  No free United Club access for North American first class flyers though.  

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