Review: United Airlines’ “Old” 787-9 Business Class (KOA-ORD)

Review: United Airlines’ “Old” 787-9 Business Class (KOA-ORD)

FROM: KOA
TO: ORD
CABIN: Business
DATE: March 2022
REVIEW RATING:
BEN SAYS: While a last minute aircraft swap resulted in us getting United's old business class seats, everything else about this flight was solid, including the service and food. Furthermore, United is the only airline offering flat beds out of Kona at the moment.
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After a great stay at the Four Seasons Hualalai, it was time to return to the mainland. We decided to fly United’s Boeing 787 business class from Kona to Chicago. Even though the flight ended up featuring United’s old business class seats, it was still much better than my last United flight from Hawaii to Chicago.

How I booked our United Airlines business class tickets

Rather than returning to Florida, we had to first travel to Boston, as we had a commitment there. Premium options out of Kona were extremely limited:

  • For the date we were traveling not a single flight from Kona to Los Angeles had even one first class seat left for sale, let alone available with miles or an upgrade
  • You can always connect through Honolulu to get access to more routing options, but that adds quite a bit of travel time

I set a price alert with Google Flights for Kona to Boston, and eventually received an alert for an option that seemed quite good compared to the alternatives. United operates a Boeing 787 flight from Kona to Chicago. This is currently the only flat bed option directly out of Kona, and it’s also a long enough flight that you can get some real sleep. The ticket wasn’t cheap, though — we paid about $1,200 one-way per person.

What somewhat took the sting out of this is that we had vouchers from a United itinerary we canceled in late 2021, so at least our out of pocket wasn’t quite that high. We ended up booking the following, with the first flight scheduled to be operated by a Boeing 787-8 with the new Polaris seats, and the second flight scheduled to be operated by a Boeing 737 MAX 9:

03/12 UA67 Kona to Chicago departing 5:55PM arriving 6:00AM (+1 day)
03/13 UA2129 Chicago to Boston departing 7:15AM arriving 10:30AM

A last minute United aircraft swap

The morning of our flight we got an email indicating that the aircraft for the Kona to Chicago flight had been swapped. It was initially supposed to be a Boeing 787-8 with the new Polaris seats, while it was now a Boeing 787-9 with United’s old business class seats.

Obviously that’s a significant downgrade, but frankly we were happy to just have a conveniently timed business class flight in a flat bed.

No new United Polaris seats for us!

I strongly dislike Kona Airport

We arrived at Kona Airport a little after 3PM, plenty early for our 5:55PM flight. We arrived early because we had a rental car, and we had picked it up at the same time four days earlier, and didn’t want to get charged for an extra day.

We easily found United’s check-in counter, which was empty. A friendly agent helped us. After seeing our Four Seasons luggage tags she mentioned she also works at the Four Seasons, and this was her other gig. Hah. The check-in area is entirely open-air, and I still found this part of the airport experience to be sort of charming.

United Airlines check-in Kona Airport

Security was just a short walk away, and oddly the TSA Pre-Check line had more people in it than the standard security line. We still stayed in that line, and fortunately it moved pretty quickly.

Kona Airport security line

We had about two hours to kill before our flight boarded, which is way more time than you want to spend at Kona Airport. Look, let me acknowledge that on the surface it’s cute for an airport to have an outdoor space, especially in the coronavirus era. It’s awesome to be able to go outdoors at an airport, as that’s not something you often see.

The problem is that Kona Airport has almost no indoor space:

  • The only things that are indoors are the two restaurants; even though the airport was busy, only one restaurant was open, and it was packed
  • The airport has no lounges of any sort
  • The airport has very limited seating, and much of it isn’t even covered
  • It started raining, and we basically had to take cover
  • Then you add in the mask mandate; it was humid as could be, and there was no real option to go anywhere to cool off

If you’re departing Kona Airport, I’d recommend arriving as close to departure as possible (well, without missing your flight). While Hawaii generally doesn’t have world class airports, this is my least favorite airport I’ve visited in the state. Who knows, maybe I was just unlucky.

Kona Airport terminal
Kona Airport terminal
Kona Airport terminal
Kona Airport terminal

United Airlines business class boarding

Boarding was scheduled for 5:05PM, 50 minutes before departure. Our flight was departing from gate two, and the view of the plane from the gate was kind of cool.

Kona Airport departure gate

Personally I find United’s boarding process to be unnecessarily complicated. The number of different groups that they call prior to boarding first and business class almost reminds me of the below SNL skit.

Since Kona Airport has no jet bridges, you board via air stairs. That’s kind of fun to do when boarding a wide body, in my opinion.

United Airlines Boeing 787-9 Kona Airport
United Airlines Boeing 787-9 engine Kona Airport
United Airlines Boeing 787-9 Kona Airport
United Airlines Boeing 787-9 Kona Airport

United Airlines Boeing 787-9 business class cabin & seats

We boarded through the second set of doors, and turned right into the rear business class cabin. United’s old Boeing 787-9 layout features 48 business class seats, spread across eight rows in a 2-2-2 configuration. The forward cabin has five rows, while the rear cabin has three rows.

United’s old business class seats are Collins Aerospace Diamond seats. They’re about the most efficient fully flat seats you’ll find, as the footwell for each seat is to the side of the seat in front.

These seats are quite nice for a roughly eight hour flight when you’re traveling with someone, while I’d be much less happy with these seats if traveling solo from San Francisco to Singapore, for example (though a vast majority of 787-9s have been reconfigured, so at this point that’s a moot point).

United Airlines Boeing 787-9 business class seats

I assigned us seats 8A & 8B, the aisle and window seat on the left side in the last row.

United Airlines Boeing 787-9 business class seats
United Airlines 787-9 business class cabin at sunset

I also glanced into the economy class cabin, which looked pretty standard.

United Airlines Boeing 787-9 economy class cabin
United Airlines Boeing 787-9 economy class cabin

There were three lavatories in business class — one at the front of the aircraft, and two in the galley between the two cabins. The lavatory on the left side between cabins was by far the largest.

United Airlines Boeing 787-9 business class lavatory

For what it’s worth, initially business class had only around 28 passengers (the capacity of the 787-8’s business class cabin), but there were roughly 15 standby passengers (I assume mostly non-revs) that ended up clearing into business class. There still ended up being some empty seats in business class.

United Airlines business class amenities

This flight had better amenities than you’d typically find in domestic first class, but not quite the standard long haul Polaris amenities. There was a comfortable Saks pillow, plus a decent blanket. The Polaris duvet wasn’t offered on this flight, though.

United Airlines business class bedding

Each business class passenger was given a small pouch with amenities, including eyeshades, earplugs, and a dental kit.

United Airlines business class amenities

Before takeoff each passenger was offered a mimosa or water. I wouldn’t typically drink airplane orange juice or United’s prosecco, but when you combine the two, it’s not half bad.

United Airlines business class pre-departure drinks

United Airlines business class dinner

What was service like on this 7hr46min flight? Well, dinner was served pretty efficiently after takeoff. Before departure we were asked for our preference, with the choices being described as chicken strips with rice or pasta with red sauce and vegetables.

Based on the chicken I had on my last United flight from Hawaii, I decided to order the vegetarian option, and encouraged Ford to do the same. To drink we both decided to order an old fashioned. United has “On the Rocks” pre-made cocktails, which are pretty awesome for what they are.

Everything was served on a single tray. This included warm mixed nuts in a ramekin, a wrapped pretzel roll, an appetizer (consisting of rice and… I’m not sure, maybe chicken?), a main course (I’m not sure “pasta with red sauce and vegetables” really describes this well), plus a blondie for dessert (is that the right term?).

Was the meal gourmet or beautifully presented? No. But it was much better than the meal on my last United flight from Hawaii. The vegetarian main was reasonably tasty but not particularly exciting or memorable, though the sauce helped add some flavor.

United Airlines business class dinner

The flight attendant taking care of us provided a refill of our cocktails, plus also proactively brought us some water.

United Airlines business class drinks

I appreciated how quickly after takeoff the meal service was done, as the tray was cleared only about an hour after takeoff. We were also treated to a gorgeous sunset during the meal.

United Airlines 787-9 business class cabin at sunset

United Airlines Boeing 787-9 entertainment & Wi-Fi

United has a pretty extensive entertainment selection on the Boeing 787-9, with plenty of movies and TV shows. However, I only watched the moving map.

United Airlines 787-9 entertainment system
United Airlines 787-9 entertainment system
United Airlines 787-9 entertainment system

United also has Wi-Fi on the 787-9, though I didn’t end up using it, given that this was an overnight flight.

United Airlines 787-9 Wi-Fi
United Airlines 787-9 Wi-Fi

United Airlines business class breakfast

When I flew United from Maui to Chicago last year there was no breakfast service, while this time around there was. About an hour before landing breakfast was served, with the choice of eggs or a fruit and cheese plate. We ordered one of each.

The egg dish came with rice and sausage, a side of fruit, and a croissant.

United Airlines business class breakfast

The fruit & cheese plate had pineapple, strawberries, grapes, cheese, almonds, cashews, and a hardboiled egg. It came with a croissant plus some sort of a cold oatmeal mango side, or something.

United Airlines business class breakfast

United Airlines business class service

What stood out to me most about this flight was the excellent service. I find service on United to be a mixed bag, with both some of the best and worst flight attendants in the industry. The flight attendant working our section was a delight.

She was kind, attentive, friendly, efficient, and genuinely seemed to enjoy her job. For example, at the end of the meal she’d say “what else can I get you?” She’s one of the best United flight attendants I’ve had in a long time, so huge kudos to her.

Bottom line

All things considered we had a pretty great United flight from Kona to Chicago. For one, United currently offers the only flat beds from Kona, and for that matter operates the only flight from Kona that’s further east than Phoenix.

Even though we had a last minute aircraft swap that caused us to get United’s old business class seats, everything else about this flight was better than my last United flight from Hawaii. The flight attendant taking care of us was friendly, there was a dinner and breakfast service, and the food quality was better (which admittedly is a very low bar).

While hardly a memorable experience, this ended up being a comfortable and efficient way to return to the mainland.

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  1. Marilyn DeVault Guest

    Kona airport is horrible if you are handicapped. I broke my leg while on vacation there. You have to check in before they will come with your wheelchair. I am 69 and crutches are very difficult for me. There is no place to sit near the ticketing area. When the lady brought the wheelchair, she asked if I was able to go up stairs. Whaaat??? The ramp was broken and people were boarding by the...

    Kona airport is horrible if you are handicapped. I broke my leg while on vacation there. You have to check in before they will come with your wheelchair. I am 69 and crutches are very difficult for me. There is no place to sit near the ticketing area. When the lady brought the wheelchair, she asked if I was able to go up stairs. Whaaat??? The ramp was broken and people were boarding by the stairs. In order to get me into the plane, they had to load me into the truck that is used to deliver the food into the galley. This was horrifying and embarrassing.

  2. N1120A Guest

    KOA has a lounge, but I'm not sure if HA has reopened it yet. At least the new airside walkway allows you to access it from any gate.

    I like the KOA airport, but their TSA and other non Airline employees tend to be awful.

  3. Jaan Guest

    You may have been disappointed by the equipment change, but I think you were lucky to have the old seating on an overnight flight. We flew the 787-9 SFO-FRA with Polaris seating in Feb., but our flight back 2 weeks ago got switched to the old layout. While the Polaris seats have more counter space and storage (which I do like), they are narrower and not very comfortable as a bed IMO. The old seating...

    You may have been disappointed by the equipment change, but I think you were lucky to have the old seating on an overnight flight. We flew the 787-9 SFO-FRA with Polaris seating in Feb., but our flight back 2 weeks ago got switched to the old layout. While the Polaris seats have more counter space and storage (which I do like), they are narrower and not very comfortable as a bed IMO. The old seating may look dated, but the seats themselves are wider and much better for sleeping.

  4. Jared Houser Guest

    Good review, thanks for sharing! Only thing is that United flies from Kona to Denver, which is further east than phoenix and also offers lie flat seating, either on a 757 or 777 depending on the time of the year.

  5. DLBOIFIN New Member

    I have to say both of your meals look way better compared to what I was offered on UA Polaris on a flight from IAD to FRA in January!

  6. Flieger Guest

    Boarding KOA during rain... I wonder how they´ve never addressed this.

  7. Nino69 Guest

    The Hawaiian airport authority is not the most helpful bunch when it comes to spending capital to improve the smaller airports like KOA/LIH and even larger one like OGG with certain passenger and airline infrastructure improvements.

    I’m all for keeping the islands as pristine as possible so all future generations can enjoy them. Although, there has to be a happy medium to upgrade the airports to blend into the beauty that is Hawaii’. I...

    The Hawaiian airport authority is not the most helpful bunch when it comes to spending capital to improve the smaller airports like KOA/LIH and even larger one like OGG with certain passenger and airline infrastructure improvements.

    I’m all for keeping the islands as pristine as possible so all future generations can enjoy them. Although, there has to be a happy medium to upgrade the airports to blend into the beauty that is Hawaii’. I would think the amount of tourism tax is collected can be allocated to airport improvements versus relying solely on Federal Airport funding.

  8. cornelius Guest

    lol leave it to a travel blogger to hate on an airport as beautiful and unique as KOA. you knew you had 2-3 hours to kill why didn't you just check in then taxi 5mins to a nearby taqueria or costco food court? or bring a nice lunch/picnic? if there was no lounge why not just pay extra 2 hours rental (day rate normally kicks in after 4hrs) and drink somewhere else? you bloggers are...

    lol leave it to a travel blogger to hate on an airport as beautiful and unique as KOA. you knew you had 2-3 hours to kill why didn't you just check in then taxi 5mins to a nearby taqueria or costco food court? or bring a nice lunch/picnic? if there was no lounge why not just pay extra 2 hours rental (day rate normally kicks in after 4hrs) and drink somewhere else? you bloggers are supposed to know more than us not give us pity party about no lounge no air conditioning at KOA before your widebody flight back to the mainland lol

  9. David Guest

    The KOA-DEN flight is on a 757 with lie flat too.

  10. TheBestBlackBrent Gold

    Wow, cabin crew asked if I needed anything, 4/5 stars!

    What an unremarkable flight, with horrible looking food and mediocre seats, luckily only a bargain $1200 for a one-way...

  11. Dave B Guest

    For my first ever (and last I hope) journey on United I had booked diabetic meals only to be told by an exasperated flight attendant that United take diabetic bookings but never fulfil them. The cabin crew worked wonders combining meals to make my life acceptable. 3 months after that flight I found that United had “sold” my details to a private health supplier! I’m British and our FREE NHS diabetic service is outstanding so did they really expect me to pay?

  12. Carrie Member

    This is not an insightful or in depth travel comment ...... but it is astonishing what bubbles one can drink with the addition of a decent juice .... just never add juice to my Dom, Krug or the like!

  13. ArnoldB Guest

    I don't get why it seems to just be generally accepted that service on these flights, even though they are around 8 hours, is just worse because it counts as domestic.

    What is the logic here? Domestic passengers don't deserve the best service? Less international travellers on board, so don't have to try as hard? Does not paint a good picture.

    1. Never In Doubt Guest

      The cynic in me says it's not because "they count as domestic", but that non-US carriers are prohibited from flying this route, so there's less need to compete.

    2. cornell Guest

      the logic is that domestic flights have more competition, lower fares, lower yield so the product will be comparable to the competition. there's a lot of logic behind this decision. also usa has massive labor shortage in particular airlines and catering, everything not going back to pre-rona for a while.

      just have a full meal off-airport (or at a polaris lounge) before your business class flight and bring your own food if you cannot...

      the logic is that domestic flights have more competition, lower fares, lower yield so the product will be comparable to the competition. there's a lot of logic behind this decision. also usa has massive labor shortage in particular airlines and catering, everything not going back to pre-rona for a while.

      just have a full meal off-airport (or at a polaris lounge) before your business class flight and bring your own food if you cannot manage to go 10 hours without food ffs

  14. Aaron Guest

    "I’m not sure “pasta with red sauce and vegetables” really describes this well"

    Why not? A type of pasta was served. There were vegetables as well. The sauce was red. Sounds accurate lol

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Aaron -- I didn't say it was inaccurate, but rather just that it wasn't really what I expected based on the generic description. When airlines don't hand out menus, it sure would be nice if they described dishes in a bit more detail. For example, describing something as "orzo pasta with broccoli" describes the dish better than "pasta with vegetables."

      For that matter, I'm still not sure what exactly the two little "balls" in the dish were.

    2. Jaan Guest

      On my January flight FRA-SFO, the flight attendants came by with their iPads to show us a picture of the meal choices, which helped. Though I still would like to have a menu again!

  15. Jimmy’s Travel Report Gold

    “I strongly dislike Kona Airport”

    Aloha from Kona Airport!

    Yes - not a fun Airport to fly out of. After a number of visits over the years we also limit our pre-departure time there. What I can’t figure out is why the local authorities don’t invest (maybe with Hawaiian Airlines) on updated facilities. Should be an opportunity.

  16. echino Gold

    Those are not really OLD United flat seats! Really OLD wide-body United business class seats are 8 across, alternating backward-facing. Those were fun and surprisingly comfortable a few years ago, last time I flew those IAD-BRU. I am wondering if those seats are still around?

    1. Dave Guest

      They are still on some PW powered 777s. They are grounded but will return to service soon

    2. Nathan Guest

      Yep, saw the 2 4 2 layout on a ORD to IAH flight for later this summer. No thanks!

    3. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ echino -- Hah, indeed, those seats are even worse. Though if I'm not mistaken the seats I had on this flight are even older than those on some United 777s, as this just comes down to whether the seats were legacy United or legacy Continental. I believe Continental introduced flat bed business class before United. Someone correct me if I'm wrong.

    4. UA-NYC Diamond

      Nope Ben - UA introduced those seats (IPTE) IIRC a year or so before the CO seats

      2-4-2 config long lamented...but they were (are I guess with a few frames out there) some of the most comfortable cushioned seats, I will say.

    5. cornel Guest

      the 2-4-2 seats are fun/comfortable if you're on the 2 side facing aft, at the window (i'm an aisle guy). the seat reclines backwards (like 5-10 degrees past 0 or something) and i found that super comfortable. i always slept well on those seats.

      anything else is just a bummer, especially the middle-4, and of course none of these come close to being as good as the worst polaris seat in the fleet.

  17. DenB Diamond

    Ben, if you had rented the car from Hertz using Amex Platinum's CDP code, you'd get four hours' grace upon return. Rent at 3pm? Return by 7pm, no extra hours or extra day charged. IME Hertz' system never failed to honour these terms and I never needed to follow up.

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ DenB -- That's really helpful, thanks! To be honest I never rented from Hertz before I got President's Circle status through the Venture X, so I hadn't considered that when reserving the rental. Now I know.

  18. ross Guest

    kona denver has lie flat seats as well

  19. JC Guest

    You knew the airport had no lounge and yet still showed up 3 hours early?

    1. UA-NYC Diamond

      Was clearly mentioned early on it was to save an extra day of rental car $

    2. SEM Guest

      Let's not act like we are poor here...

    3. Never In Doubt Guest

      I’ve dropped off a rental car early to save an extra day and Ubered to Kailua-Kona for a meal before a flight to reduce my time at that airport!

    4. cornell Guest

      well either pay more and get your ac, or pay less and then spend on a taxi to take you to an off-airport restaurant and make most of it, or pay less and hang out at very charming quaint airport and complain about the lack of AC...that's the point JC is making

    5. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ JC -- That's correct. The truth is that I can work from anywhere, so typically I'm really happy to sit in a terminal working for an hour or two. However, it has been in a long time since I've been in an airport that's this unpleasant to work from.

    6. Chris_ Member

      Yup, to avoid the day's car rental, I probably would have dropped the car off and then taken an uber to Kona Brewing Company for their amazing food (they use spent beer grains for the pizza crust and other breads!) and beer and then ubered back to the airport much closer to departure.

    7. Jaan Guest

      Would an Uber to town and back really be cheaper than another rental day?
      As an aside, KOA is one of my favorite airports. My mom moved to Kona in 1980, so I used to fly there all the time. If you think there is nothing to do there now, there was really nothing then!

  20. GringoLoco Gold

    You won't drink airline OJ but you're fine drinking coffee made with the H2O from the tank?? I'm old enough to remember l'etoile's genius kid testing airline tanks -- blech!

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ GringoLoco -- Hah, that's a totally fair point. I just try not to think about that, since I need my coffee...

  21. UA_Flyer Guest

    “Old Fashioned” cocktail on United? Tell me more! I did not know about this. Is this a systemwide offering? I just did SFO-SIN earlier this week and brought my own stuff to make Old Fashioned on the plane.

    I have a number of United long haul flights coming up, so it will be nice to order them. How did it taste?

    1. ptahcha Guest

      It used to be systemwide, now but limited to premium transcon, long-haul Hawaii, and Polaris flights.

    2. UA-NYC Diamond

      They're from On The Rocks - they're at a premium price point at retail, come in a bunch of pre-mixed flavors (Cosmo, Margarita, etc.) - as an Old Fashioned/Manhattan lover, while it's no homemade or bartender-crafted drink, it's a pretty good one over ice.

    3. Andy 11235 Guest

      Honestly, I'm just stuck on the insane amount of ice that appears to be in the glass in the picture. I feel genuinely sorry for the bourbon.

  22. Steven E Guest

    Nothing you could say about United would ever let me step foot onboard ever - and Polaris is the worst

  23. jcil Guest

    I guess I'm in the minority, but I much prefer this old style seat now that I travel only for pleasure with my wife. Wish UA would keep enough of these style seats around to run all of their flights to heavy tourist destinations like Hawaii and Tahiti with them. We flew these older 787 seats several years ago from LAX to SYD and survived just fine. My wife actually prefers to travel in UA...

    I guess I'm in the minority, but I much prefer this old style seat now that I travel only for pleasure with my wife. Wish UA would keep enough of these style seats around to run all of their flights to heavy tourist destinations like Hawaii and Tahiti with them. We flew these older 787 seats several years ago from LAX to SYD and survived just fine. My wife actually prefers to travel in UA premium economy now rather than the newer Polaris seats.

    Also, so sorry that you had to suffer through the indignity of not having a lounge to pamper you at the Kona airport.

    1. Jaan Guest

      I agree that I prefer the old business seats to the new on the 787! But I would certainly still chose the new seats over premium economy. PE is nice enough for day flights, but much too uncomfortable for me to sleep in.

  24. AdamH Guest

    KOA-ORD alone is 4,200 miles which is longer than ORD-LHR. If I could buy the latter for $1.2k each way I would in a heartbeat.

  25. John Guest

    Your meal was "..tasty but bland"?!?!
    I just don't know what to say to that.......

    1. Aaron Guest

      I guess he means it needed more salt and/or seasoning?

    2. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ John -- Fair, I recognize that's a strange description. Perhaps a better way to describe it would be "edible but bland." "Tasty" was intended to be a relative term, compared to my last flight on United from Hawaii...

  26. Nathan Guest

    Ben- how did you handle your seating with the aircraft swap? I basically stopped booking wide-bodies domestically (eg LA-ORD) because the swaps happen so frequently and our seat assignments get messed up and I'm no longer sitting next to my partner. The swaps just seem to totally screw up the seat map. I was booked in row 6 of an old 787 from ORD-LAX last week, swapped to new aircraft. I ended up in row 11, partner in row 1.

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Nathan -- That's super frustrating, and I'm not sure there's usually an ideal way to handle it. In this case it worked out, since the cabin got so much bigger, so the seatmap was wide open. If it had gone in the other direction, though, that would have been a different story.

  27. LarryInNYC Diamond

    While everyone's used to anodyne descriptions on this blog (eg, headphones that are always "pretty good"), I really thought you'd outdone yourself with "awesome, for what it is". I mean, what does that even mean?

    But then, in the same post, to hit us with "tasty but bland"? I mean, that's true artistry!

  28. Never In Doubt Guest

    "While Hawaii generally doesn’t have world class airports, this is my least favorite airport I’ve visited in the state. Who knows, maybe I was just unlucky."

    You weren't unlucky, that's standard for The KOA Experience™!

    I haven't been there since COVID, so I lol'd at the ridiculousness of having to remain masked while "inside" an airport that's completely outdoors!

  29. KyleEP New Member

    I've seen AA fly DFW-KOA with 777 and 787 aircraft from time to time but looks like they aren't doing it right now, most likely due to a shortage of wide-body jets thanks to 788 delivery delays. Hopefully that resumes again later in the year- same with CLT-HNL.

  30. Ann Guest

    Where do you credit your United flights given the fact you're banned?

    1. TravelinWilly Diamond

      @Ann: Are you as dumb as you seem? Clearly Ben’s not banned if he flew the freaking airline.

      Yru here?

    2. Dan Guest

      He's banned from UA MP; not the airline itself. Doubt Ann will get much in the way of an answer here, though...

    3. LarryInNYC Diamond

      Pretty sure he used to be banned from the airline entirely. What's amazing is that they apparently gave him a voucher for a past flight.

    4. Ann Guest

      Are you dumb?
      Noone said he is banned from United. Just Mileage Plus because of defrauding them.

      Hence the question, where does he credit his United flights to?

    5. AA70 Gold

      I also wonder the same thing every time I see a United review on here!

    6. Mark P Member

      Ben can still fly United, but he’s been banned from MileagePlus, so it’s a legitimate question to wonder where to credit a star alliance flight given that United isn’t an option.

  31. Donna Diamond

    I’ve never had an aircraft swap that has resulted in a newer Business Class cabin.
    Had no idea these old outdated non-Polaris cabins heave still not been updated after how many years now?

    1. John Guest

      @Donna

      Those awful older style seats are still around, winging their way across the States and all over the world, unfortunately. And yes, I get your point: it's been years (late 2016) since Polaris was introduced, and UA are still years away from product standardization. They can only blame covid and "supply chain" issues for so long.........

    2. SEM Guest

      And keep in mind, these are the "wonderful", "preferred" CAL seats most on the blogs gushed over for years after the merger...Yeah, I'll repeat what I said then, other than the fact that they are 2-2-2, there is nothing forward thinking or innovative about this product...It was OLD at the time of the merger, it was just a tool to further the fight of UAL<CAL...

    3. UA-NYC Diamond

      Polaris was immediately obsolete when launched, as it's an inferior option to reverse herringbone (foot space) and lacks privacy generally. Only 25% (window straight seats) are decent.

    4. John Guest

      @UA-NYC

      Yes, indeed! I couldn't agree more with you. I thought at the time that Polaris was - at best - merely a catch-up to other airlines; and only to a very minimal level. So when UA celebrates the last plane refurbished in a few years time, you can rest assured it will remain their standard seat for at least a decade. And then the whole bloody catch-up process will start over! Put another way:...

      @UA-NYC

      Yes, indeed! I couldn't agree more with you. I thought at the time that Polaris was - at best - merely a catch-up to other airlines; and only to a very minimal level. So when UA celebrates the last plane refurbished in a few years time, you can rest assured it will remain their standard seat for at least a decade. And then the whole bloody catch-up process will start over! Put another way: UA (like BA) will always be 10 - 15 years behind quality airlines when it comes to seat technology. Being in Australia, I'll have to get used to this seat as Virgin Australia has teamed up with UA on codeshares.

    5. Dave Guest

      They could also just say that it's China being strict. The retrofits happen in China.

    6. Nathan Guest

      This just happened to me on LAX-ORD last week, resulting in a totally screwed up seat map and people traveling together spread all over the cabin.

      The old 2-4-2 configuration is definitely still out there and being sold, I just spotted it on a summer flight from ORD-IAH.

  32. Sam Guest

    "For what it’s worth, initially business class had only around 28 passengers (the capacity of the 787-8’s business class cabin), but there were roughly 15 standby passengers (I assume mostly non-revs)"

    Dumb question, but as someone who flies UA all the time from LHR to IAD/EWR and back I never got who these ppl (non-revs) are? They show up on the upgrade list about 24-48 hrs before... genuinely just curious

    1. Dan Guest

      They are generally fliers that are United Premier Silver status or above for most domestic flights or Premier Gold and above for international flights. Generally speaking they will show up on the standby list after they check in for the flight.

    2. Skyward Geek Member

      United's upgrade list now shows all revenue travelers even if they haven't checked in yet. I like that feature because if you're looking for an upgrade, you don't have to guess your position because check-in status no longer determines if you're on the list.

      As for this KOA-ORD flight, there are no complimentary upgrades so that wouldn't be relevant in Lucky's case.

    3. Skyward Geek Member

      Non-revs are employees or their family or buddies who fly standby - also can include other airlines who get reciprocal travel benefits (though not all airlines have benefits in business class on United or vice versa).

    4. Jason Guest

      They’re airline employees using their flight benefits.

    5. Shaun Guest

      Flying ORD-HNL-ORD in November in F and shows a 787-10. I noticed all the other long haul destinations that used to have the 777-200 high density are running those planes again (IAH, DEN, SFO). At this point do we think the ORD flights might get a swap to a high density 777 before November? It would be a bummer.

      Also, booked each way at 78.4k UA miles. Would people consider that a decent price? I...

      Flying ORD-HNL-ORD in November in F and shows a 787-10. I noticed all the other long haul destinations that used to have the 777-200 high density are running those planes again (IAH, DEN, SFO). At this point do we think the ORD flights might get a swap to a high density 777 before November? It would be a bummer.

      Also, booked each way at 78.4k UA miles. Would people consider that a decent price? I feel like it is then thought I could get a flight to Europe for that price.

    6. Motion to Dismiss Member

      I’d say that’s a steep price but it all depends what the cash price otherwise would have been. I wouldn’t bank on actually getting a 787-10 for a flight in November. Aircraft assignments are far from certain so many months out.

    7. mick Guest

      Same Distance to Europe pretty much. I think fair price. Not easy to find from ord. I would do economy there and biz back if worried about the points. May not be worth it for the day flight.

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DenB Diamond

Ben, if you had rented the car from Hertz using Amex Platinum's CDP code, you'd get four hours' grace upon return. Rent at 3pm? Return by 7pm, no extra hours or extra day charged. IME Hertz' system never failed to honour these terms and I never needed to follow up.

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Dave B Guest

For my first ever (and last I hope) journey on United I had booked diabetic meals only to be told by an exasperated flight attendant that United take diabetic bookings but never fulfil them. The cabin crew worked wonders combining meals to make my life acceptable. 3 months after that flight I found that United had “sold” my details to a private health supplier! I’m British and our FREE NHS diabetic service is outstanding so did they really expect me to pay?

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LarryInNYC Diamond

While everyone's used to anodyne descriptions on this blog (eg, headphones that are always "pretty good"), I really thought you'd outdone yourself with "awesome, for what it is". I mean, what does that even mean? But then, in the same post, to hit us with "tasty but bland"? I mean, that's true artistry!

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