Suite Dreaming on United

January 28, 2009

It took more than a year since they began converting United Airlines’ international fleet to the new business and first class seating, but on my last trip, I finally got to experience the new business lie-flat seats. I guess that’s not so bad of a record, since only 13 of their 21 767’s and 11 of 24 747’s have been converted–and none of the 49 777 planes which fly the LAX to London route.

My bottom line impression is that the seat is a great step up from the old-school, cradle-style business seats they had before. The cushioning makes the seat even more comfortable than Lufthansa’s rock-solid First Class product. The AVOD is a nice distraction, even if the content is lacking.

But there are a few caveats…

I am an average-sized fellow. Anyone with a waistline more than 36 inches might find it difficult fitting into the narrow, lie-flat seats.

Second, you can have the best hard-product in the skies but if the soft-product, such as food and flight attendants, are sub-par (as I had on my FRA-SFO return), then even the best experiences can be soured.

Nonetheless, I wouldn’t hesitate to make an extra stop (or two) en route to try to get on the new product, and cannot wait until the full fleet gets converted.