United Airlines Economy Class San Francisco (SFO) to Frankfurt (FRA)

Posted on July 16, 2015 by in Airline Reviews, United Mileage Plus

united airlines economy class

Why would I book United Economy Class willingly? United isn’t exactly the leader in customer service or in a modern experience. So why would I fly United Economy willingly?

I used to fly this route in 2008/2009 on paid fares on Lufthansa and United twice a month – in Economy. I was curious what would have changed.

Also the deal that I found to get myself and my twins to Europe was an excellent one. I decided to take the plunge 🙂

United Airlines Economy Class Review – Before the flight

I used the United check-in at the International Terminal and presented my Turkish Star Alliance Gold card. While the United agents at San Francisco Airport are well known for their grumpiness – the agents at the Premium check-in are quite pleasant.

Check-in was done and since there is now a TSA Pre line also at the International Terminal we flew through security (children under 12 can always use TSA Pre)

Before the flight we used the American Express Centurion Lounge San Francisco which can be accessed for all United and many flights from the International Terminal.

While somewhat small I really like the American Express Centurion Lounge San Francisco lounge and the staff. The food is just ok though but the drink selection is excellent. There is also a dedicated kids room which keeps noise from the kids down. There is a Wii and a huge Plasma screen (bot not a lot of toys). Interestingly the United Club at the San Francisco International Terminal has recently added a number of food options too. Last time I was there in late June they had excellent snacks including buffet and artisan bread. Competition is always a good thing 🙂

United Airlines Economy Class Review – The flight

While the flight was badly delayed days prior it would board on time for this day. Boarding was very orderly and to my surprise Economy would only be about 70% full. The 747 that fly the route are rather ancient and Economy Class has changed in a long time (United Business Class and First has changed much).

The seat pitch is small and there are no screens in the back of the seats.

United Airlines Economy Class

The flights attendants seemed fresh off a class on ‘how to be friendly to customers again’ – but like in my last Business Class flight with United – it seemed somewhat shallow – not sure why.

United Airlines Economy Class

We got off the ground right on time and the flight time was announced to be a short 10 hours.

United has installed WiFi and streaming to your personal devices on these planes though. This sounds great in in theory but out of all the streaming options only about 15 movies/ TV Shows worked. I asked the flight attendants and that seems to be a common issue – they had largely given up on figuring it out or fixing it.

Lunch was served shortly after and it was just ok. Somewhat edible Pasta and chicken – I wasn’t’ hungry so I skipped the meal entirely. It was followed by good Sorbet ice cream which was a nice touch.

The TV screens did show a number of movies that were not available on the private screening. Though you had to squint to see the screens – there aren’t many around.


I was surprisingly tired and slept early – after just a couple of hours. Since the flight path was taking us so far north it would not really go dark at all.

I missed breakfast entirely and slept through to the landing.

Landing into sunny and warm Frankfurt was right on time and – as usual- United would get a far away apron position for their 747 – the bus transfer was quick though into the B terminal, where we made our way up into the Maple Leaf Lounge Frankfurt (Review).

So this flight wasn’t so bad – I loved the option to have WiFi ($19.99 for the while flight) and the private screening options. Too bad it would not work on this flight.

The food wasn’t great but at least edible as a backup option. Would I fly – say Turkish Airlines – for the same price? You bet I would.

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]

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