I was originally booked on COPA to South America (via Las Vegas) but on the day of travel San Francisco was hit by a rather rainy and windy system that slowed departures and arrivals down to a trickle (as usual at the world’s most delayed airport).
I called United reservations as soon as the flight notification showed I would not be able to make my connection in Las Vegas to COPA. The reservations agent was polite and immediately offered to re-book me on a new ticket without waiting out the delay and the mis-connect in Las Vegas. There was some back and forth on what airlines I could be re-booked on – I eventually came up with a Star Alliance route (via Bogota) but this would not ‘ticket’.
Eventually I settled on a United operated flight via Newark and so I got to try the Premium Transcontinental Service.
United uses rather ancient 757 ,that have been refurbished for the Premium Transcontinental service.
This flight ended up being delayed by 3.5 hours as it would arrive late from Newark and the turnaround would take longer than normal as well.
At 1 AM everyone was sleepy and ready to go. The Group 1 boarding went through in seconds and when I got to my seat I was the last person to step foot into the Business Class cabin! The cabin feels small with two Business Class seats on each side of the aisle.
The flight attendants came out with water very soon and I got a ‘sparkling wine’ in a plastic cup. Well people only pay $1,000 for this one-way ticket – champagne and/or glasses are NOT on the menu.
Takeoff was wild into the still strong winds and we turned ferociously towards the North East (actually we ended up flying north first and turning east just south of the Canadian border).
I was busy evaluating the amenity kit which was a nice touch on this short flight.
I remembered the seats to be quite good and fully lie-flat. However the seats backrest would not fully recline – it was at a about 170 degree angle. Not huge but not what I expected. I couldn’t full figure out if that was a malfunction or by design – I feel it is the latter. The seat is also really short – enough to lounge but for my 6’4 frame it is not nearly enough to stretch out.
What I liked thigh was the warm and high quality Saks Fifth Av blanket which greatly helped getting comfortable.
After a few minutes of turbulence I fell asleep and did not wake up much until we were in the final stages of approaching Newark.
I wasn’t sure if there was any snack being served – the menu indicated that it would but I may have just missed that.
United Business Class 757 Premium Transcontinental Service
The United reservations agents came through with a new ticket because of the IRROPS without (major) drama. The United Transcontinental Service is definitely better than the recliner seats at most of the fleet. However the seat is too short, too arrow and too angled to really compare to the (still Gold Standard Cathay Pacific Business Class seat). I was surprised at how much a high quality bedding improves the sleeping experience.