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United BusinessFirst JFK-SFO

Over the past year premium service between New York and California (LAX & SFO) has been an area where competition is heating up between the major airlines.  Less than a year ago neither United nor American offered a true lie-flat bed on these routes, but today United has completed the reconfiguration of  their 757 aircraft used on these routes to include 28 lie-flat BusinessFirst seats, and American is well on their way to having all of their flights on these routes serviced by their new A321′s which have lie-flat seats in both Business and First class.  Today, we had the pleasure of experiencing United’s BusinessFirst Class from JFK-SFO and next week I’ll be flying American’s New Business Class back from LAX, while Dhara will be in First Class.

Arriving at JFK terminal 7 about an hour before our scheduled departure of 8am we found the Business/First class check-in area which was essentially empty.  We were quickly checked in for the flight and directed to security.  There is no priority security lane in terminal 7 so we had to wait in line for about 15 minutes to get through, which was fine because the United Lounge at JFK is not particularly impressive so we were not in a hurry to get there.  United only operates a handful of flights out of JFK (LAX, SFO & IAD mostly) so the lounge was quite small but was a fine place to stop for a few minutes to pick up a coffee and bagel before the flight.


United Lounge at JFK – Snacks


United Lounge JFK – Bar


Our plane from the United Lounge

Boarding the plane we found our way to our seats (1E & 1F).  United’s BusinessFirst seats are arranged in a 2×2 configuration with seven rows (four rows forward of the entry door and three aft).  I always like to get the seats forward of the entry door so we can settle in with a welcome drink without crowds of people walking past us so row 1 was ideal.  Sitting down, we found our seats very comfortable and spacious and were greeted with a drink (we selected coffee) and given printed breakfast menus.


United BusinessFirst Seats


Our Seats (1E &1F)


Our Seats from Above


Fancy Printed Menus with my decidedly Unfancy Footwear


Breakfast Menu

 While still on the ground the flight attendant came around to take breakfast orders so they could start the meal service as soon as we reached our cruising altitude.  We both went with the Swiss Cheese Omelette which was really tasty.  In fact, this was easily the best breakfast we have ever had on an airplane, although that makes sense because breakfast was the main meal on this flight, whereas on other airlines we’ve often been served breakfast on the tail end of an overnight flight and it’s usually the smaller meal.  In addition to the fruit, yogurt, omelette and sausage the flight attendant came around with warm cinnamon buns and croissants which were also excellent.  I also ordered a Bloody Mary (with Tito’s Handmade Vodka) with my breakfast.


Bloody Mary – Vodka on the side


Very impressed with breakfast

After breakfast I ordered a few more Bloody Mary’s and reclined to the relaxing position to check out the inflight entertainment.  We watched “Frozen” which was pretty good, and then I surfed the web on my laptop for a while using the gogo inflight wi-fi (which still blows my mind).  I then reclined the seat to the fully flat bed position to sleep off the drinks.  At 5’11″ the seat seemed like a perfect fit for me in the bed position, but if you’re much taller than I am, it might be a little tight.


Frozen on a pretty nice sized screen


Nap time for Mrs. Potatohead

 Even though the flight landed at 2:30pm New York time we weren’t served any lunch.  Instead, a basket of snacks was offered to us which included potato chips, Toblerone bars, cookies, bananas, and nuts.  Another basket containing the same snacks was then placed on the shelf over seats 1A & 1B so the BusinessFirst Passengers could serve themselves.  That seemed nice for us, but must have been a little awkward for the people in seats 1A & 1B with all the people hovering over them and picking though the basket.  If we book this flight again we’ll make sure to avoid seats 1A & 1B (which are also missing a window) and again book seats 1E & 1F.

Overall, this was a great transcontinental flight with United’s BusinessFirst.  We’re very much looking forward to seeing how American’s Business Class and First Class Transcontinental service stacks up next week on our return trip from LAX.

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