I’ve flown United’s new Boeing 787-10 in business class, but how is it in economy class?
Sometimes I will decline and upgrade even when it is is available. My supply of upgrade instruments is not unlimited and I made the choice to remain behind the curtain on my flight from Newark to Frankfurt.
First, the flight is so short I cannot even get a great rest even if I skip dinner and breakfast. Second, I thought a review of economy class might be more helpful to readers than another Polaris review.
But what sold me most on sticking with economy class is that the flight was lightly filled. So light, in fact, that I would have my own row of three seats to myself. “Poor man’s first” is no equivalent to business class, but it makes the economy class experience so much more bearable, even in “deep” coach (I was not even seated in Economy Plus).
Flights will be full for the holidays over the next two weeks, but you’ll often encounter many opens seats in the winter on United’s transatlantic flights.
The one thing I missed by not flying in business class was access to the Polaris Lounge. Although my Star Alliance Gold status gave me access to the United Club, that is simply on a whole different (lower) level.
That all didn’t matter since I nearly missed my flight, making it to the gate moments away from boarding commencing. I took NJ Transit from Penn Station and our train got stuck for 42 minutes outside Newark Penn station due to “police activity”…
But I made it…
United Airlines 751
Newark (EWR) – Frankfurt (FRA)
Wednesday, November 13
Depart: 06:20 PM
Arrive: 07:40 AM+1
Duration: 07hr, 20min
Distance: 3,870 miles
Aircraft: Boeing 787-10
Seat: 40J (Economy Class)
I was on the phone with my business partner and rather than annoy others with a loud conversation on the jetbridge, I opted to stay in the gate area. I was last to board around 6:00PM.
United Airlines 787-10 Economy Class Seat
There is a big difference between one seat and three seats. For that reason, I cannot tell you what it is like to be sandwiched between passengers with 30″ of legroom (for that, you can read my Lufthansa Economy Class review).
But the legroom was acceptable when the passenger in front of me did not recline. I loved that the 787-10 has power ports under the seat in front of you, not under your own seats. And the armrests do go up, which helped me to spread across three seats when it was time to sleep.
Row 40 is directly in front of the lavatory. I was a bit worried I would smell fumes from the lavatory and not be able to fully recline my seat. The seats, which feature an articulating seatpan (seat slides forward to give the illusion of greater recline), do recline fully (as fully as any other standard economy class seat). No fumes…
United Airlines 787-10 Economy Class IFE
United’s new IFE interface on the 787-10 is a nice upgrade. The very-responsive touchscreen provided details about the flight, movies, TV, shows, games, and a moving map.
Free disposable headphones were provided.
Wi-Fi internet and streaming video was available. Streaming video is complimentary, but you must download the app before the flight or else you’ll have to pay for wi-fi to download it. Wi-Fi was $36.99 for a flight pass.
United Airlines 787-10 Economy Class Food + Drink
Dinner was served after takeoff and a continental breakfast before landing.
Beverage service began 30 minutes after takeoff, which included a bag of pretzels.
Choices for dinner were “chicken” or “pasta”. The chicken dish was seasoned chicken strips with orzo in a creamy cheese sauce, which I honestly find better than many business class meals. This would be even better if nicely plated…
A grain salad and roll were offered with dinner.
Flight attendants were prompt to pick-up meal trays and followed that up with lemon sorbet and bottles of water.
The entire meal service took 90 minutes, which is not bad at all.
About an hour before landing, a light breakfast was served, which included a warm croissant and strawberry yogurt.
United Airlines 787-10 Economy Class Lavatory
The Dreamliner lavatory is functional, but not large. There are no extra amenities beyond soap.
United Airlines 787-10 Economy Class Service
I must say that I find United often provides better service in economy class than business class. I wouldn’t even say that is because more “junior” and “energetic” flight attendants serve behind the curtain, since all the crew members were mature. But everyone was friendly and there were no scowls or condescension like on my British Airways flight.
I landed ahead of schedule and somewhat rested. Honestly, even if I was looking for things to criticize I’d be hard-pressed to find anything negative to say about this flight. When flying United, I prefer the 767 in economy class because of the 2-3-2 layout, but greatly prefer the 787 over the 777.
Have you flown United’s 787-1o in economy class? How was your experience?