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The Positives and Negatives of United 777 Business Class Between SFO and Tokyo

September 15, 2011 at 2:26 PM | by | ()

United's 777 from San Francisco to Tokyo-Narita in Business Class was a fly-by-night thing. Literally. It was a flight on which we upgraded at the last minute, boarded at the last minute, and everyone onboard slept for the majority of the 11-hour, 15-minute flight.

Since we've already detailed the in-flight meals, we'll keep our impressions of the seats and service quick and dirty:

What We Liked:
· Legroom. Hallelujah there was enough of it so that our tippy toes couldn't even touch the seat in front of us.
· The seatback pocket has a mini pocket within it, perfect for popping your cell phone or wallet right into for easy access.
· Real glassware and china during in-flight meals. For some reason we thought glass water cups and stemware on United had gone away, even in Business. Nice to see we thought wrong.
· Towards the end of the flight, a male flight attendant (different from the two mentioned below) made us a mimosa even though it was crazy late and he was low on orange juice.
· Chocolate ice cream

What We Didn't Like:
· Legroom you've got when everyone has their seats upright, but laid back the seat in front kind of traps your feet, not to mention necessitates crawling to reach the seatback pocket in which you've stowed stuff.
· The flight attendants (two we dealt with) were quite abrupt in their service, in the we've-been-doing-this-for-30-years-and-are-super-jaded way.
· The TV screens are crazy tiny. We hope you don't want to watch a foreign film with subtitles. Get out the magnifying glass.
· The 2-3-2 configuration. No business class passenger should have to suffer the indignities of a middle seat, and yet some did on this flight.
· The coffee mugs. We're nitpicking, we know. But seriously? These things looked like they belonged in a greasy spoon diner rather than in business class on a transcontinental flight. In design, the place setting was lovely and simple. Why'd they ruin it with this clunky mug?

Bottom Line: Was it worth the price we paid to upgrade? Let's just say we wouldn't do it again if we knew this was what we were going to get. The second international leg, however, from Tokyo to Bangkok, was absolutely worth it and made up for all the negatives we pointed out here. We'll show you why early next week.

[Photos: Cynthia Drescher for Jaunted]

Archived Comments:

i recognise this!

my first ever transatlantic flight (2006) was united biz - just like this - and i thought it was amazing. then i flew other airlines and realised it was almost as shoddy as iberia. i would have thought united would have got rid of all their cruddy old configurations by now. hardly up to scratch with the other airlines!


blast from the past, eh? That's not a good thing in this case!