It is not often that I find myself on a United Airlines 737-700 so when the opportunity arose to fly one from Bogota to Houston in business class, I took it.
United Airlines 737-700 Business Class Review
I arrived at 2:45 am from London and did not leave Bogota until 7:30 am, which gave me more than enough time to check out both the Avianca and Copa lounges. This flight was on a separate ticket and I was unable to check in online, but was able to remain on the secure side of the airport and collect my boarding pass at the gate.
I spent too long in the Copa Lounge and was one of the last to board.
Bogota (BOG) – Houston (IAH)
Saturday, April 9
Depart: 07:30 AM
Arrive: 12:55 PM
Duration: 05hr, 25min
Distance: 2,223 miles
Aircraft: Boeing 737-700 (73G)
Seat: 3A (Business Class)
Stepping onboard, I was greeted by a male purser who could not have been much older than me (you know you’re getting old when the pursers are younger than you on a US carrier…) and took my seat in a full cabin.
United brands its front cabin as “business class” (versus “Polaris business class” or “first class”) on flights between the US and Canada, Central America, the Caribbean, and northern South America.
Among the Boeing 737s in the United fleet, the 737-700 is unique in two ways. First, it is only a 12-seat cabin (three rows of 2-2 seating). United has only 40 in its fleet. Second, it has the newer Safran articulated cradle seats (unlike on the 737-800 or 737-900), much like you would on the Airbus A319, A320, or the 737 MAX 9. But unlike those aircraft, the 737-700 has DirectTV installed, making it the only aircraft with a “new” seat and a seatback monitor.
[Note: – this will all change as United installs personal screens in every seat as part of its United Next project]
I like these seats: I find them comfortable and I like the personal storage compartment below the armrest that is large enough for my large laptop computer.
This flight, however, I did not work, but slept…when I am exhausted, I do not need a lie-flat seat to sleep.
That segues nicely into the IFE portion. Seatback entertainment includes live satellite TV (in theory), though it only works over the Continental USA, so there was no live TV on this flight. However, there were eight movie channels with looping video as well as a moving flight map.
The screen is controlled by a console in the armrest (no touschreen control).
Furthermore, streaming audio and video were available on demand on your mobile devices. Just ensure you have downloaded the latest United app prior to departure.
Wi-Fi internet is also available for purchase. A flight pass is $8 for MileagePlus members and $10 for non-members (you can join MileagePlus on the spot if you are a non-member).
It was a beautiful day for flying, however, and when I was awake I preferred to look out the window rather than look at my screen:
Food + Drink
Water or sparkling wine was offered in plastic blue cups prior to takeoff.
Breakfast was served after takeoff, with a choice between scrambled eggs or pancakes, both served with chorizo, a bowl of fruit, and a cinnamon bun.
Since I had eggs on my Avianca flight and more eggs in the Avianca Lounge, I ordered pancakes, which were certainly not your thin US-style pancakes. These were thick, cake-like pancakes, served with syrup and pineapple on the side.
I was feeling over-caffeinated at this point so I stuck to decaffeinated coffee, which is illy-branded powder on United, but not bad at all for decaf.
Prior to landing, a snack basket was offered and I took some potato chips and Cheez-Its.
Prior to landing I got up to use the lavatory and found it cramped, but clean. The first/business class lavatory is located in the front of the aircraft next to the galley and cockpit.
We landed on time in Houston, where I had one more leg to go on my long trip home from Alexandria, Egypt (via Istanbul, Abu Dhabi, Bahrain, London, Bogota, and Houston). By this point, I was filled
Just one note: although Bogota is in South America, it does not qualify for Polaris Lounge access – only Argentina, Brazil, and Chile. Still, I was able to use the United Club by virtue of both flying business class and because of my Star Alliance Gold status.
The 737-700 offers a cozy business class on United Airlines. While a lie-flat is always preferred on a 5+ hour flight, I did just fine, sleeping through much of the flight.
The Max8 has a(n even better) seat back IFE. 😉
Thanks for the review! Note that all of United’s 737 MAX 8 already have the new seat and new IFE, as do select 737 MAX 9.
Looks rather uninspiring. But it does the job.
Was that breakfast served on china or plastic ware? the cinnamon bun looks very small.
Thanks, Matthew, for another great and thorough review! Always enjoy reading your posts!
When you stated that the wonderful looking pancakes were not your “thin American pancakes”, I assumed of course you meant that they were not like pancakes in the USA. Columbia is an “American” country too. One may want to qualify it as “ South American”, but, that would be similar to qualifying “South Asia” for Southern Asian countries. Just a very silly minor point. Pancakes look marvelous!
Please check your geography, Columbia is not a country. The name of the country is Colombia.
That’s not Business Class. It’s US Domestic First with more food.
You can smell the continental stamped galley bins from here.
Would it be too much to ask to see the actual seat? The food and the plane look dull and mediocre. Yuck. United is “plane” terrible.
As I mentioned, I was last to board and could not violate the privacy of other guests onboard. Here’s what to expect (from an A320 review):
Thanks for photo of seats; legroom looks limited; maybe they jammed too many rows in that cabin area.
Gotta’ be better than AV or CM!
Peru also qualifies for Polaris Lounge access
This is also the only plane with new F seats AND the distinctive Continental bulkheads. Their 757-300s and A319s got new Priestman Goode bulkheads like the MAXes and their A320s have PMUA bulkheads.
I have flown this 737-700 flight several times in “Business class” and my main memory was that the plane was a poorly maintained beater. Hopefully when I flight this route again on 4/18 the 737 Max 8 will be better.
Thanks for the review. A couple of questions:
1. Was this a recent flight? The flight info says Saturday, April 9. April 9 is a couple of weeks away and doesn’t fall on a Saturday. I thought it might’ve been from a prior year.
2. Was the LHR-BOG-IAH-LAX routing on purpose? I flew LAX to NRT and KIX on UA a lot in the 1990s to see my elderly grandpa in his final years. After a while, I started creating some novel routings for variety, extra miles, and extra segments. I don’t think any of those came close to approaching your creative routing to return from London.
Thanks for your posts! I don’t fly nearly as much as I used to. I live vicariously through your posts.
Flight was in 2022. I’ve been catching up on this delayed trip report – I kept putting it off to not fall behind on more recent trips, but need to get this one done. There’s just a few more segments and then I will move to more recent trips.
I deliberately chose to route through Bogota because there was no ideal routing directly to LAX and because (more for amusement really), I wanted to review Avianca’s transatlantic business class product.
Forgot these planes existed! As the heavy majority of my flying is from either LAX or DEN, I don’t get to see these planes! Look a lot nicer than the 737-800s I always get stuck with! The retrofits cannot come soon enough for the legacy 737s.
This is an OLD article. There must be something new, that’s not a year old
Polaris Lounge access does also include flights from North America to Lima, Peru as well.
Thanks Christopher Columbus for the correction! You are absolutely correct. I meant “Colombia” (Republic of Colombia) and mistyped “ Columbia”, which among other places is a river and the capital of South Carolina. My error.
I corrected it and agree with your point, though I do think that even though the USA does not have a corner on the word “America” the two are almost synonymous considering only the USA has America in its legal name.
I believe you are correct in your points. Since the creation of the “United States of America” it has have been common to call the citizens “American” for multiple reasons. As you mentioned, it’s actually in the full name of the country. Also the USA from the beginning drew a lot of attention from much of the rest of the world looking at the USA as being in the new world of America … hence calling us “American”. Plus, US citizens are American, just like Japanese are Asian.
While the USA is not perfect, I am personally proud to be an American and I am also proud to be a US citizen.
Always enjoy your great posts!