United Business Class Review Dreamliner 787 – San Francisco (SFO) – Osaka (KIX) UA35

Posted on May 4, 2015 by in Airline Reviews, United Mileage Plus

Trip Index (what we have published so far):

United Club Honolulu Airport (HNL) Review

United Economy Flight Review – a tale of two flights

Review Hanauma Bay, Hawaii (near Honolulu, Oahu)

Hyatt Place Waikiki, Honolulu Hotel Review

American Express Centurion Lounge SFO Review

Sheraton Laguna Guam Resort Review

United Business Class Review Dreamliner

For my flight to Guam, I wanted to try the new United Business Class 787 Dreamliner. I have flown with United from San Francisco to Osaka many times. It used to be operated by a 747 and was later run by an old 777. However, the business class flight has been upgraded from the 777 that used to run this route to the brand new, but smaller, 787.

IMG 2521

Before my flight, I went to the American Express Centurion Lounge and feasted on their breakfast buffet. The catering with United Business Class is very hit and miss – in the past, I either had great food or stayed hungry for a long 12 hours, so I wanted to ‘cover my bases’.

Business class was completely full on this flight. The United Business Class seat is a good product, but dear God, is it cramped! I had selected a window seat and while my seat mate did not recline his seat once the entire flight (!) I had to juggle each climb out of my seat. It’s really small. It felt smaller than domestic first class.

IMG 2523
IMG 2524

The United flight attendants were very friendly, but in an odd way. It always feels like seeing front line customer service agents who were sent to a butler school as they forgot to smile at customers decades ago. Yes, they will know how to be friendly and provide a service afterwards, but it does seem not genuine. I found the service to be working well, but also bossy and odd.

IMG 2535

We hit some turbulence after takeoff and lunch service started right after that. The champagne served wasn’t great at all. I did not inquire as to which brand it was, but it was a mile away from the one served at the American Express Centurion Lounge. The salad was barely edible and the dressing downright horrible. I did not dare touch it.

IMG 2533

I went on to the main course. The chicken was mushy and the filling of the chicken breast was pretty bad. No restaurant would survive with such food for more than a month.

As always, the best part of the meal was the dessert. The cheese dessert was pretty good and the ice cream sundae was absolutely delicious. So the trick here is to feast on as many desserts as you can and skip the main meals. I had 3 desserts in total on this flight 🙂

IMG 2547
IMG 2549
IMG 2551
IMG 2553
IMG 2554
IMG 2555

I requested an espresso and the flight attendant mentioned that there is an espresso maker on-board, but as it turns out, it is not being used anymore since United only supports fleet-wide equipment – so the espresso maker flies empty on all Dreamliners. Oh, well.

The Purser announced that we would have internet during the flight and I was curious to try it out. It’s the same internet I used on my flight from Mexico to San Francisco last year. I logged on, paid $16.99 and it was absolutely worth it. I spent the next 8 hours working instead of watching a mindless movie re-run.

The speed varied and the ping times were long, but it was usually good enough to read websites and send emails. I was able to edit in WordPress without issues while we were going all the way to Alaska and down to Siberia. A very impressive feat of technology!

United has installed an updated IFE system for your entertainment. It comes with a snazzy touch pad. It was great before, with its crisp screen and lots of entertainment options – and now it is even better! However, since the WiFi worked so well and I had already seen all the available movies, I did not actually use it this time.

IMG 2534
IMG 2528

The 787 has these cool window shades that you can dim (instead of the on/off traditional set-up),. They are fun to play with, but they have some drawbacks. Firstly, the new shade does not block out strong sunlight as effectively as the old window shade. Also, the crew set it to ‘dark’ about 3 hours into the flight and there is no way to override the setting with the switch provided.

IMG 2542

Another feature that United supports is the larger business class bathroom in the middle of the cabin. It almost feels a bit like the huge A380 bathrooms that the Lufthansa First Class and Emirates First Class both feature.

I easily get headaches on the older generation of planes (especially the 747!) but I tend to have a much better experience with the 777/787/A380. This long flight was very pleasant with no building headaches and no bloody noses from the altitude and super-dry air. The cabin also seemed much quieter, which is a great piece of engineering!

So all in all, this was a good flight. It is not my favorite business class product, but the fast WiFi and the lovely new plane itself made for a great flight. If United could just finally switch the catering company and provide some consistent food offerings, we would all be much better off.

If you like this post – subscribe via email or follow us on Twitter.

3.5 / 5 stars     

About the author: Torsten is a serial entrepreneur who started almost a dozen ventures on four continents. Torsten's love for travel has brought him to 130+ countries and travel with most of the world's airlines. You can reach Torsten at [email protected]

This post has been tagged with:
| | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | |

Don't miss - more topics from Mighty Travels

AAdvantage | Aegean Airlines | Aeromexico | Aeroplan | Air Canada | Air China | Air France | Air France/KLM Flying Blue | Air India | Air New Zealand | AirAsia | AirBnB | Airline Reviews | Alaska Airlines | Alaska Mileage Plan | Alitalia | American Airlines | American Express | American Express Membership Rewards | ANA | Asiana Airlines | Avis | Award Booking | Best coffee | Best Rate Guarantee | Best Western | British Airways (BA) | Cash Back Deals | Cathay Pacific Reviews | Chase Sapphire Reserve | Chase Ultimate Rewards | Cheap flights | Cheap Passport Photos | Cheap Visas | China Airlines Review | Choice Hotels | Choice Privileges | Citibank | Club Carlson / Radisson | Credit Card Deals | Delta Airlines | Delta Skymiles | Destinations & Inspiration | Emirates Reviews & Skywards | Error Fares / Mistake Fares | Etihad Reviews & Etihad Guest | Fare Monitoring Service | Frequent Flyer Programs | Getaround | Hainan Airlines | Hawaiian Airlines | HHonors | Hilton Honors | Hilton Hotels | Hotel Deals | Hotel Friends & Family Discounts | Hotel Loyalty Programs | Hotel Reviews | Hyatt | IHG Rewards Club | Immigration & Airport Security | Immunization | Japan Airlines | Jetblue TrueBlue | Krisflyer | Lifemiles | Lounge Reviews | Low Cost Airlines | Lufthansa Miles and More | Malaysia Airlines | Marriott Hotels | Mighty Travels Premium | Mistake Fares | Orbitz Coupons & Deals | Priority Pass Lounges | Qatar Airways | Radisson Rewards | Saudia | Singapore Airlines | Southwest Rapid Rewards | Sri Lankan | StarHOT | StarwoodONE | ThankYou Points | Things to Do (City Guides) | TOP Travel Destinations | Travel Agent Rate | Travel Deals | Travel Insurance | Travel News | Travel Tech | Turkish Airlines Review | Uber | United Airlines | United Mileage Plus | World of Hyatt | Wyndham Hotels | Wyndham Rewards |