We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

“Very pleasant business class flight to Mexico”
Review of United Airlines


Reviewed November 18, 2017

The business class seats on this Airbus 319 (two rows of two, for a total of eight) are comfortable and recline well. The service was friendly and I could even eat the food, which was a kale/spinach flan concoction. Although the crew announced they had forgotten the arrival forms everyone has to file on arrival, the flight attendant in business class had saved a few which she handed out to those of us at the front of the plane.

    • Seat comfort
    • Customer service (e.g. attitude, care, helpfulness)
    • Cleanliness
    • Food and Beverage
    • Legroom
    • In-flight entertainment (WiFi, TV, films)
    • Value for money
    • Check-in and Boarding (e.g. efficiency, service at gate)
Thank Faience44
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Write a ReviewReviews (27,499)
Traveller rating
Traveller type
Time of year
Language
  • More languages

8,696 - 8,700 of 27,499 reviews

Reviewed November 18, 2017

On Thursday, Oct 26, we flew London (LHR) to Washington/Dulles (IAD) on United UA925 in Polaris Business Class, on a 777-200 (#2019). We were in seats 6J&K, so starboard side, facing forward (wife likes that better, than the alternating rear-facing seats), Row 6 is the first row in BC, behind the FC cabin.

We arrived at LHR T2 early, from Mayfair, so had time to spend at the United International FC Club there. Lovely, quiet and seldom crowed club, with sit down meal ordering, a small, intimate dining room, and a good wine selection. As this was a 4:00pm (16:00) flight, we had time for a light Lunch, knowing that our in-flight meal service would start about 2 hrs. into the 8:20 hr. flight.

Now, departure from LHR was not what we normally experience. When we checked in at the Premier/International First desk, we were informed that both of us had been flagged for “random, additional screening.” Seems that the USA had dictated that the UK Security forces do more screening of USA-bound passengers, so the folk at LHR were complying with that directive. However, what we encountered, prior to boarding our flight was odd. The ONLY passengers, who were selected for this additional screening were all Global Services, so the highest of the United elite fliers. All 8 “additionally screened” passengers, were at that elevated status level – basically folk, who fly UA more than 100 times per years, and well over 100,000 miles, with the airline per year. No other passengers were given the additional screening? It seems that the UK was picking the least likely passengers, for this process. Before boarding, a Global Services rep gathered us all, and took us into a separate room, where we were swabbed, probed and patted down, while our carry-ons were searched completely. For us, this did not impact our boarding, as it was done before the doors to the jetway were opened. We were released, one-by-one, to board first, from the interview room. I just felt that the wrong passengers got this extra screening – people, who live their lives on UA aircraft, with a great deal of international travel.

We were finally aboard, and had settled into our “pods,” before the rest of the passengers were allowed to board – but at our status, that is common.

This 772 was showing a bit of age, but was still in very good shape. One positive aspect of Row 6 J&K is that there is a small, dedicated overhead bin, just above that row, and our two briefcases, plus one small backpack fit well. Even my hat was able to fit nicely. Our Purser had our jackets hanging in the closet, and we were comfortable with two plastic cups of the Jean Balmont Vin Mousseux Blanc-de-Blanc Brut sparkling wine, for pre-departure service. This was the same sparkling wine, that we had on our outbound ORD-LHR flight, the week before (in Polaris FC), and appears to be the current Champagne/sparkler, that Master Sommelier, Mark Frost, is ordering for Polaris, at this time. It’s a nice little wine, and is better, IMHO, than the Prosecco, which UA normally has served for pre-departure beverages.

The pods in Polaris BC are going away, as are the terms “Polaris Business Class,” and “Polaris First Class.” All “up front” cabins will soon be “Polaris Class,” but not yet. These are the same pods, with 180̊ lie-flat seats/beds, that we have come to know on many Trans-Atlantic and Trans-Pacific flights. They are adequate, but less roomy, than the First Class pods, and lack the in-seat storage bins, which are very, very nice. Ours were together, on the starboard side of the cabin, which is configured 2-4-2. There is only direct aisle access from J, and when J is reclined much, at all, the passenger in K must climb over them, or ask that the seat be brought to takeoff/landing configuration. As my wife and I travel as a couple, this is not difficult to work out, but with strangers, there could be a bit more “negotiating.” For us, one nice aspect of the BC pods is that there is no partition between them, as there is in the FC pods on the 1-2-1 configured 772's. Makes conversation much, much easier, but the partitions are probably appreciated by those traveling solo/

The pods have adequate AC/USB, and Audio Out connections, and are fairly comfortable, even to sleep in. One note: the Audio Out is a 2-pin configuration, but a single pin headset, like the Bose QC, works just fine – that second pin is for power, for the UA headsets, which are also Bose in Polaris BC/FC, though not over-ear, like ours are. Also, the Audio Out connector I son the podium, unlike on Polaris BC on the 787-9, where it is behind the passenger, so the cable drapes over their shoulder. There is a separate reading lamp, plus an overhead lamp. Each pod has a low-def AVOD screen, and a wired remote control, which nests in the podium. That podium also has a “table area,” which is nice for water, pre-departure beverages, and other, smaller items. The tray table stores in the podium, and mine was a bit tricky to extract, though I do that many, many times of the year. This one was just on the finicky side.

Our plane had much of the Polaris soft product, with the Saks 5th Ave bedding, and then the food and beverages. Our Amenity Kits were new, in that they were encased in a plastic container, with a commemorative logo for the now-retired Boeing 747, and many of the included items had the 747 logo on them, as well. We had noticed that UA had gone to new dinnerware, on the outbound flight, and this plane had a full compliment – the bowls, and plates, plus salt/pepper shakers, are all exhibiting the UA “sphere” pattern and shape. We only noticed that on a few pieces earlier.

UA has replaced the stemware completely, with stemless glasses (similar are now in use in many UA Clubs), sort of like the Riedel “O Series” glasses, but thicker, and with a slightly rolled rim. One feature of Polaris is the addition of “Wine Flights,” where one can get three wines, served in slightly smaller glasses, which rest on a metal “bow,” which is a nice presentation. Lately, we have encountered some inconsistencies with the Polaris wine service – MEL-LAX, they forgot to load the white wines, so our choices were limited to a few bottles left over from that plane’s inbound flight. On our way from ORD-LHR, our outbound flight, we had two “bonus” white wines (maybe to make up for that MEL-LAX flight?), and on this flight we had those bonus whites, plus another. Polaris is still a “work in progress.”

United has been working hard to improve all aspects of their food service in the premium cabins, and in many cases, it shows. However, there can still be a few mis-steps along the way, and dish to dish. Executive Chef, Gerry McLoughlin has improved some things, but I feel that he relies too heavily on red peppers, in too many dishes. Our Dinner, on this flight, consisted of:
Chilled Appetizer – Buffalo mozzarella, kalamata olive, tomato and basil, which was good, and the consistency of the mozzarella very good. The tomato? Well, not so much.
Salad – Butter lettuce, cucumber, kalamata olive, radish, tomato and feta cheese w/ choice of dressings and breads (seed and garlic on this flight for the breads).
Main Course – Braised Beef Short-rib in Port wine sauce w/ mashed potatoes and carrot *. OK, but not the best Short-rib I have had on UA, however, much better than a few examples. At least this dish’s sauce was not overly sweet (a common issue that I find with too many of Chef McLoughlin’s Polaris dishes), and the Short-ribs were not dried out. I’m sure that the exact caterer at the departing airport contributes heavily to the success, or failure of many dishes. [Mine]
Grilled Chicken Breast in Bearnaise sauce, brown rice w/ asparagus. The Chicken was rather good, and not dried out, as some other Chicken dishes have been. [Wife]
Cheese Course – Three international cheeses, served with grapes, crackers and Port. This Cheese Course was better, than the one we had in FC, coming to LHR.
Dessert Courses – Signature Sundae w/ choice of toppings. This is a very popular dish, and even my wife, who is not a big “ice cream fan,” enjoys it. As we had eaten a nice Lunch at the UA Club, we both declined, as we did the Sweet Treats – Assorted sweet items. We just ended with the Cheese Course, and besides, this was a shorter flight, than we usually take out of London (LHR-SFO), so we also declined the Pre-Arrival Meal of Grilled Chicken in tomato-basil sauce with vegetable couscous and green beans, especially as my wife had done the Chicken Main Course the meal before.

* There were other options, but we did not sample those:
Poached Hake Fish Fillet in Chardonnay cream sauce, quinoa w/ vegetables and bell pepper
Cannoncino – manicotti, ricotta, tomato-basil sauce w/ porcini mushrooms
Seasonal Salad w/ Grilled Shrimp – mixed greens, fennel, green onion, tomato, grapefruit and orange vinaigrette.

Our wines were nice, and all were loaded onto the plane! In Polaris, there are usually two listed reds, and two listed whites, and then one more selection in each category, to provide for the 3-wine “flight.” On our flight, we had the following:
Sparkling – the above mentioned Jean Balmont Vin Mousseux Blanc-de-Blanc Brut sparkling wine

Whites:
Charles & Charles WA State Riesling ‘15, which was very nice, and I am seldom a fan of domestic Rieslings. At 38,000ft, this one showed well.
Wente Vineyards Estate-grown Morning Fog Livermore, CA Chardonnay ‘16, which was one of the “bonus wines” from our flight over, and a nice Chardonnay, with balanced oak and fruit.
Columbia Winery Columbia River Valley Chardonnay ‘15, which was another of the bonus wines from the earlier flight. Nice, but a little tight.

Reds:
Colby Red Blend (Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, Shiraz, Merlot and Petite Sirah) California ‘16, which was better, than I expected. While I love many red blends, the varietal list was a bit “over the top,” but it did come together well, and went well with the Beef Short-rib.
Wente Vineyards Southern Hills Livermore Cabernet Sauvignon ‘14, which never really did open up, as expected. Still, a nice red.
Columbia Winery Columbia River Valley Cabernet Sauvignon ‘13, which started out nicely, but sort of faded, with a bit of time in the glass.

Port:
Dow’s Late Bottled Vintage Port ‘11 (This is a step up from the Sandeman’s Founder’s Reserve, and the Graham’s 6 Grape, that once graced the Business Class wine lists)

The flight was good, and we arrived only a little bit late into IAD. As we were overnighting at the airport Embassy Suites, before flying to Knoxville (TYS), the next day, the tiny delay was not an issue.

Our cabin crew was excellent, with friendly and efficient service.

It will be interesting to experience the full Polaris package, but we’ll have to wait until 2018, to do so, as we will not be flying any of the routes with the new planes/pods this year.

    • Seat comfort
    • Customer service (e.g. attitude, care, helpfulness)
    • Cleanliness
    • Food and Beverage
    • Legroom
    • In-flight entertainment (WiFi, TV, films)
    • Value for money
    • Check-in and Boarding (e.g. efficiency, service at gate)
2  Thank The_Loup_Garou
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed November 18, 2017

Very sub par intl. travel experience when compared to the gulf carriers like Qatar, etihad. Checkin in detroit, EWR and delhi were ok, rather fast due to that hour of the day. VERY old dilapidated aircraft that i haven't seen in 20 years atleast !! Seats totally worn out, and I've seen better leather seats on United's affiliate republic airlines domestic flights in USA. Toilets looked scraped, worn out all over with poor soap, no other toiletries.

Only one checked bag allowed EWR to DEL which is pretty long haul sector. No liquor served in economy, only beer & wine that too is cheap quality you'd have never seen anywhere. Shortly after takeoff you get dinner & they announce in flight that they wont serve food for a very long time, so you have to fend for yourself. Grab some water before. Dinner is mostly indian food (this one pretty average, i love indian food though) that is from Rajbhog foods, a grocery chain in USA that mostly has negative reviews of its own. Flight attendants rather rough and hit my hand twice with the metal on the food cart. There's a remarkable difference in attendant's attitudes towards customers on gulf, european or indian carriers vs any US airline that treat customers as a liability for things like water and napkins

Bottom line...gulf carriers rule the Intl. travel business since long and these guys are giving them all the reason (mentioned above). If you must reach india from USA in 15 hours use this, else get better airlines with service that's miles ahead and much cheaper..

    • Seat comfort
    • Customer service (e.g. attitude, care, helpfulness)
    • Cleanliness
    • Food and Beverage
    • Legroom
    • In-flight entertainment (WiFi, TV, films)
    • Value for money
    • Check-in and Boarding (e.g. efficiency, service at gate)
6  Thank Rishabh J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed November 18, 2017

I've been flying with United for over 30 years. And like everyone else I am fed-up with the constant loss of customer appreciation/service from the airlines. From treating us like cattle to continually reducing seat sizes, baggage allowances, premium access, and carry-ons to the disgusting food served on long-haul flights. On my last flight I was served breakfast. On the label it stated: Processed Aug 9th 2017. Best by August 2018. This was eggs and sausages! I wouldn't feed that stuff to man nor beast. The latest 'Improvement' which has me riled is the new, United Club scam. They have been selling access to the United Clubs for a couple of years now. Get your United linked credit card and you get a couple of passes. Or Spend around $400 a year so you can use them whenever you travel United. Now, there are going to be Club levels. LOL! So the cattle are kept back in their place and those who rack up millions of miles each year or who buy First class get to visit the platinum Club. While the business class get shoved into the next level down and so forth. The thing is airports have many nice restaurants/bars now and so maybe I won't bother with the clubs from here on out. Also the food in the Clubs is not the best.

3  Thank Bernadetteere
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed November 18, 2017

We booked a flight that had an overnight stay in Newark than continued on to Aruba the next morning. fit our schedule best. Our bags were not checked all the way through and they did not tell us, maybe our bad on that one, Than the next day checked in bags again and they wanted the fees again, had to go to special line to resolve. We purchased our ticket as one purchase not two even though there were two legs on it. They were concerned when our flight came in the previous night, when we told them it was 11:00 they did not hesitate to wave the second baggage fee. But they will try to get it from you if they can. United needs to fix this. Other than that it was a standard flight no issues every one very nice and prompt.

    • Seat comfort
    • Customer service (e.g. attitude, care, helpfulness)
    • Cleanliness
    • Food and Beverage
    • Legroom
    • In-flight entertainment (WiFi, TV, films)
    • Value for money
    • Check-in and Boarding (e.g. efficiency, service at gate)
1  Thank John_Ilene
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC