What is it Like to Fly United First Class?

If you leave from Boston, Massachusetts to arrive in San Diego, California flying United’s First Class service, you can expect to pay just over $1100 for a round trip ticket (excluding taxes and all the other fees). You can expect to spend between 8 and 11 hours in the air, with at least one stop in-between destinations. If you’re going to spend that much time in the air and pay that much money, you definitely want the maximum comfort level possible.

United provides some luxurious in-flight experiences in First Class that the Sardine Section is likely to never see. While the estimated $1200 ticket cost seems high for many people, it actually depends on the length of the flight. Intercontinental flights are another reason to see if first class is financially doable. You are not likely to regret it. Here is a peek inside the flying experience of United’s First Class service.

Unless you are dog tired when you board the plane, you are definitely going to want some entertainment options. The TVs are located on the back of the seats, but what is one of the best experiences is that you get Direct TV. That’s right, United has collaborated with Direct TV and gives First Class passengers the option to watch – for free. But not just a few channels – all of them. That means you can watch 3 movies between takeoff and landing, catching up on what your work schedule didn’t allow.

If you’re wondering why this is a critical luxury of flying First Class it is because it makes your flight seem shorter – significantly shorter. Even if you just channel surf for an hour, you put your headphones on and only need to come up to reality when you feel the tires hit the ground.

One of the biggest complaints about airlines is the food – or what is supposed to pass for food. On a longer first class flight you are likely to get not one, but two meals. If you take the sunrise departure, chances are you won’t have the chance to eat breakfast, so getting offered French Toast or an omelet is far better than a granola bar and a cup of coffee. The food on United is generally rated as amazing (for airplane food). Not only does it taste like food, it looks like food!

For many flyers the issue is what to drink, and we’re not talking about coffee here. You can expect to have a variety of wines to choose from, plus what some people call “free” drinks (the argument being that you did pay all that money after all). If it got poured out of a can they might not tell you, but it likely won’t matter.

Now if you are over 6 feet tall or have longer legs, space and leg room rank high on the comfort factor of any flight. In United’s First Class think stretching your legs out. All the way out. Yes, there’s that much space and you won’t be getting a growly look from the person sitting in front of you. Your seat reclines all the way back when you feel it’s time for your afternoon nap. You are provided with a cozy blanket to keep you toasty at 35,000 feet.

The flight attendant benefits were saved for last because when dealing with people from either side of the conversation, when it comes to customer service the general rule is: it depends. The vast majority of United’s First Class flyers are very complimentary about the in-flight service they receive. They are attentive and prompt. The reason is that there are usually only 20 – 30 people in First Class, so they have time for you! If you are interested in engaging in a conversation you will find most are amenable to chat with you – in person.

The only way to really know what the experience is like is to buy a ticket and find out for yourself. You don’t have to do it every month or every year, just once in a while if you fly fairly regularly. The number of United’s First Class seats that are available depends largely on the type of the plane and the length of the trip. You likely have to plan ahead, but it will be worth the effort. If you can only do it one in your lifetime, be sure to take pictures because you will want to have visual memories to last the rest of your life.


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