Aircraft: Boeing 757-200
Class: “Business First”
The Seat(s): This isn’t the official new United PS service, but is an international 757-200 with 16 seats in the Business First cabin. It was used on united PS routes when transitioning to the new PS cabins. They are however, similar to the new PS seats.
At first glance, this United Airlines 757 “Business First” seat looks a like it might not have the width you would hope for up front. But unless my research betrays me, these are at least an inch wider than most domestic first (and a few international business) class seats. As you would hope, sitting legroom is beyond adequate. The fully extended lie-flat position is as-advertised: fully-flat. While this is great news for all who have been cheated by “almost” flat seats, it creates a problem for the window seat passenger here. If your friend on the aisle is sleeping and you need to get up…well…good luck. Friends of modhop who’ve experienced the window side describe awkward attempts to climb over their knocked-out neighbor.
USB and standard power ports make the seats gadget friendly and a reading light is positioned next to your headrest. Instead of trying to give you confusing, pinpoint control of your seat, these come with a very simple and straightforward panel of controls for recline and lumbar support. Beats looking like a rookie while you accidentally launch your seat into less than comfortable positions. If you’re flying domestically though, you should note that there’s no wi-fi on board which is a real bummer, particularly for you, my business traveling friend.
Service/Food: This breakfast transcon featured a starter of fresh fruits with yogurt and a choice of cinnamon roll or croissant. When I ordered the Swiss Cheese Omlette, I expected the typical fold-over flavorless egg-loaf that food-service trucks typically roll out from the food service warehouse assembly line. I was probably right about where it came from, but this one had flavor and the texture of freshly scrambled eggs with a hint of Swiss. Surprising in a good way.
Flight attendants brought consistent smiles and were friendly and accommodating throughout the flight. I also appreciate that they didn’t gaze at me disapprovingly like I just kicked a puppy while I”m taking extensive footage of my meal (It’s happened).
Summary: This was a domestic flight within the US but I can imagine being content in this seat for a longer haul. If you DO find yourself on a trans-oceanic flight aboard one of these United 757′s consider the difficulty escaping the window seat if your neighbor is reclined. 10+ hours in an area you can’t escape might make this a windowed prison cell without facilities…or just get on your seatmates last nerve.
Otherwise, these are good seats. True flat-bed with a relatively big TV and places to plug in my gadgetry along with a surprisingly good meal make for a quick and happy 5 hours in the air…even without the internet.
Rating: 4 hops (of 5)
Strategy: Miles can be redeemed to upgrade on US domestic flights, often with a co-pay. Upgrades can in many instances be purchased when you go to pick your seat online. If you’re a United Mileage Plus elite member, complimentary space-available upgrades are processed different times in the days before your flight and depend on your status level. If you’re travelling internationally, check your online reservation page for upgrade offers or call United.