United BusinessFirst Review 757-200 EWR-LAX
Hilary Stockton

My Award Booking Service helps travelers book first class and business class with miles and points. As an independent affiliate of Cadence, I also have access to Virtuoso, Four Seasons Preferred Partner, Peninsula Hotels PenClub, Dorchester Diamond Club, Belmond Bellini Club, Ritz-Carlton STARS, Starwood Luxury Privileges, Rocco Forte and other 5-star hotel partners, so I can book, for no extra cost, your perfect luxury hotel or luxury cruise with VIP amenities not available anywhere else. Become a client and upgrade your stay!

Have a travel question we haven't covered yet? Want to share your secrets for traveling well for less?

I rarely fly United BusinessFirst, or for that matter U.S. domestic flights, but I’d be quite happy if all future domestic flights were as good as my recent United BusinessFirst Flight 41 from EWR to LAX. I never booked this flight. I’d actually booked CO1169 before the United Continental merger, and when CO1169 disappeared, I (and I assume other CO1169 passengers were shifted to United 41 which left about half an hour later.

Although I usually cut it pretty close in terms of getting to the airport and flight on time, for once I was a bit early, so I visited the United Club Lounge. More on that when I do a lounge comparison, but suffice to say it was far from relaxing—incredibly crowded and barely anywhere to sit, let alone find a power outlet.

Finally it was time to board, which went quite efficiently. I was in 1B, so didn’t have far to walk. Although I’d assumed BusinessFirst on this flight would be recliner style, I was pleasantly surprised to see what looked like flat bed seats. 

United BusinessFirst Review 757-200 Seats 1A and 1B


Looking at the seat control confirmed it (see the far left button)—yes, score! 

United BusinessFirst Review


Although I didn't watch anything, the in-flight entertainment screens were wall mounted for the bulkhead, which I find nicer than the small personal screens you pull up from your seat.

United BusinessFirst Review 757-200


Warm nuts and a glass of reserve Cabernet were a good start to the meal. There were a couple other wine choices, one white and one other red, and for food, there was a chicken and a pasta choice in addition to the pork chop that I ordered.

United BusinessFirst


There was no choice for the appetizer, which was a salad, cured meat, olive, fresh mozzarella and roasted tomato. As usual, the salad was pretty tasteless, so I only picked at it. I also wish they'd offer a simple olive oil/balsamic dressing instead of the cheap preservative-laced packaged stuff--it remained unopened. The cured meat, olive, mozzarella and tomato made up for it though--full flavored and good enough that I'd happily have eaten another plate of it:

United BusinessFirst


 The pork chop with green peppercorn sauce and the shiitake mushroom bread pudding were delicious, and very generously portioned. The pork was a tad dry and overcooked, but not surprising given mass preparation and reheating, not to mention the last thing any airline needs is to be responsible for food poisoning due to insufficiently cooked pork. Sadly the vegetables (broccolini and white asparagus) were really overcooked and mushy, though I ate them anyway for whatever vitamins remained.

United BusinessFirst Pork Chop


The usual BusinessFirst dessert of an ice cream sundae was offered, but I declined since the grilled pork and bread pudding were so filling, plus I don't find the sundae that special--we eat better quality ice cream and chocolate sauce at home.

Then it was time for a nap--I reclined the seat top the full lie flat position. It was great to have the full recline (and I would sorely miss it on my two subsequent flights) even though I can't say it was perfectly comfortable, since there wasn't a duvet or pillow, not that any were expected as this was BusinessFirst and a daytime flight at that.

United BusinessFirst Lie Flat Seat


BusinessFirst service was friendly, if not that attentive (no water refills unless asked, attendants mostly chatting amongst themselves in the galley). That was fine, since I didn't need much anyway after meal service. 

United BusinessFirst in this type of 757-200 with fully flat seats (I believe inherited from Continental) would definitely be my preferred way to get cross-country, for the seat and decent, if not great, meal. It would be my preferred way to get to Hawaii as well, on the nonstop from Newark to Honolulu, but I'm not holding my breath, since it's such a high demand route with practically no business traffic that would ever pay full price for the seats.

Once at LAX, I needed to get access to Internet right away for work, so I used one of the two United Club passes that came with the United MileagePlus Explorer card. The United Club was large, with plenty of seating and standard snacks, although I was still very full from the in-flight meal and just had tea.

United Club Airport Lounge at LAX


Have you flown United's 757-200 with fully flat seats in BusinessFirst? Tell us your experience in the comments.

Don't forget that you book a United BusinessFirst roundtrip for just 35,000 Lufthansa Miles & More miles, which you can get as a signup bonus with the 50,000 Miles Lufthansa Premier Miles & More Credit Card. 35K is 15K fewer miles than the 50K United miles required for a BusinessFirst saver level award.

Related Posts

United Upgrade Award and Waitlist Tips

50,000 Miles Lufthansa Miles & More Card Review

Best United Miles Bonus Offers Available Now

Best International Business Class Seats for Sleeping

How to Upgrade to Virgin America First Class

Virgin America First Class Review

Need Award Booking Help? Our fee is as low as $75 per ticket if you book your hotel or cruise with us.

If you enjoyed this, join 200,000+ readers: please follow TravelSort on Twitter or  like us on Facebook to be alerted to new posts. 

Become a TravelSort Client and Book 5-star hotels with Virtuoso Perks and Four Seasons Preferred Partner Benefits

  • |
  • Print
    print |
Related Articles
Picture?type=large Robert L. commented 14 Dec 2012
I am this saturday EWR to LAX! Hope it's the same plane... it said 757-200
User_avatar_default Wei C. commented 06 Mar 2013
I definitely want to book UA BusinessFirst using mileage for LAX-EWR (now I have to fly once a year). Honestly I don't see many savvy travellers recommend redeeming award premium seats for coast to coast flights, which I don't know why. I guess the chances to fly these aircrafts are very low.
Avatar_60_hilary Hilary Stockton commented 06 Mar 2013
Wei, it definitely beats old recliner seats! I think the reason you don't see more written about it is that it's not as aspirational as, say, Cathay First Class or Singapore Suites, but for anyone who does a lot of coast to coast flying it's a godsend.
Picture?type=large Lee L. commented 25 May 2014
Hello Hilary Thanks for the post and review. I'm planning to fly from Toronto to Honolulu via Washington in Business class round trip, I've manage to find a good deal of the price in business class from Toronto to Hawaii on United. I hope the food is good for 10hr and 25min flying time. My flight says I get breakfast since we leave at 8:05am from Washington IAD hopfeully we'll have snack prior to landing. I will be leaving on Sat June 7,2014.
Leave a Comment
Get Free Email Blog Updates
Popular Articles
  The 100K Chase Sapphire Reserve includes Priority Pass Select Lounge access, but it's not automatic; you do have to request your Priority Pass Select membership. Here's where to do that, as well as answers to some frequently asked questions about...
  Updates in Bold Font via Flyertalk and Reddit A new 100K Chase Sapphire Reserve Card launched August 21, 2016 per these Flyertalk and Reddit posts. Here are the benefits and costs: 100,000 Ultimate Rewards points signup bonus after spending $4000 Earn 3X...
  If you get the Chase Sapphire Reserve should you downgrade your Sapphire Preferred and other credit cards? After being approved for the Chase Sapphire Reserve, I'm going through my existing cards and deciding whether to keep them, downgrade them...
  I was just approved for the Chase Sapphire Reserve card, and am over 5/24. There are a number of others who have also been approved for the Sapphire Reserve despite having more new accounts in the past 24 months...
  The 100K Sapphire Reserve card is now available for online applications, as well as in Chase branches. Keep in mind, though, that if you've opened more than 5 new personal credit card accounts within the past 24 months, you're...
  Citi Retention Offers can help make it worth keeping a pricey card such as the Citi Prestige, with its hefty $450 annual fee. For about a month Citi Retention was closed, as Citi needed all hands on deck to...
  This Singapore Airlines First Class 777-300ER Review is based on our Singapore First Class flight from Moscow DME to Houston IAH, a route that is being changed to Manchester, UK to Houston. This is Singapore's old 777-300ER with 8...
  An AAdvantage Fast Track to Elite Status offer is being targeted to some AAdvantage members. My husband received an offer, which I thought was odd, since he has zero EQMs (elite qualifying miles) and zero EQS (elite qualifying segments)...
  United MileagePlus Changes are Coming: Increased Change Fees, Stopover Changes, and No Changes to Star Alliance Partner Awards within 24 Hours of Departure. It's never a good day when you see an email from United titled "Coming soon: MileagePlus...
  Update: The 5/24 language has been removed, but it still applies.  A Chase 5/24 warning is on the Chase Sapphire Reserve application, eliminating any doubt about whether Chase 5/24 applies to online applications, per Reddit. The Chase Sapphire Reserve...