For my trip home from New Orleans, I chose United Airlines and flew an Airbus A320 aircraft in first class from MSY to DEN. United has made great strides in wi-fi and despite a weather-related delay, I enjoyed a productive flight.
United Airlines A320 First Class Review
My ticket from New Orleans to Los Angeles via Denver was about $280. I could have flown Delta nonstop for about the same price, but figured as a 1K my upgrades would clear on at least one of the two segments. Indeed, my upgrade cleared 24 hours prior to departure from New Orleans to Denver (but ultimately did not clear from Denver to Los Angeles).
I again marveled at what a beautiful airport Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport is. The soaring ceilings and natural light make for a beautiful check-in lobby and departure hall.
After using the United Club, I proceeded to the gate for boarding where a guy was flirting with the gate agent…
Boarding was delayed due to Air Traffic Control issues enroute, but we finally boarded about 15 minutes late.
New Orleans (MSY) – Denver (DEN)
Friday, April 22
Duration: 2hr, 52min
Distance: 1,062 miles
Aircraft: Airbus A320
Seat: 2A (First Class)
Onboard, I was welcomed by a flight attendant and found my seat.
The United Airlines A320 includes 12 seats in first class in a 2-2 configuration. These seats are unique to United and include a small storage area in the center console (for phones and wallets) and another small storage area under the adjacent armrest for a tablet or small laptop. The seats are well-padded and recline 6 inches (15 cm). Seat pitch is 39 inches (99 cm) and the seats are 19 inches (48 cm).
Power ports are available in the console between seats.
As you might see in the photo above, the storage area was full of crumbs.
IFE + Wi-Fi
United has upgraded the wi-fi on its fleet and I now reliability expect functional wi-fi on all flights. United now offers flat $8 pricing for wi-fi on all domestic flights for MileagePlus members ($10 if you are not a member). It also offers free messaging (including iMessage and WhatsApp) if you do not need to browse the web or check e-mail.
There are no seatback screens on this aircraft, but streaming IFE is available on a complimentary basis with movies, TV shows, and games (including a flight simulator).
It was a beautiful evening for flying, though we ended up arriving about an hour late into Denver after ATC had us hold due to poor weather in Denver.
Food + Drink
United now serves a hot meal on all flights over 800 miles. When I took my flight a few months ago, it was still a snack box service on this flight, but you can now expect a hot dish with a fruit side and dessert. If you don’t like either hot meal option, you can still ask for a snack box from economy class.
Drinks began with a choice of pre-departure beverage and then a drink with dinner and multiple refills after. I stuck to water.
Confession: I love these “retro” lavatories onboard, with wallpaper that has been around since I’ve been a kid. It just brigs back happy memories of when my travels on United first began.
Of course these aircraft are getting old. The sink was inoperative on my flight…thank goodness for wipes.
A veteran flight attendant provided excellent service in the first class cabin during the flight, with frequent drink refills, which is a small but important touch. I love it when a flight attendant monitors the cabin, acting proactively instead of reactively. I’m generalizing, but service at United has been great overall this year.
My A320 first class flight on United from New Orleans to Denver was pleasant. With reliable internet and a large library of streaming IFE choices, the flight flew by, despite being in the air an extra hour due to the storms in Denver. I’m also glad to see “real” first class meals back on this route and others over 800 miles. I prefer this aircraft to a 737 with 20 first class seats because the service felt more personal.
Did they serve the snack box on the DEN-LAX segment?
I was in coach. I did have a snack box as my 1K benefit. First class received a hot meal because it was a hub-hub flight over 800 miles. Now all flights over 800 miles receive a meal.
Disappointing; 1st class? I don’t think so; even in bus. class, you’d have glass, rather than plastic for beverage; and china; very small fruit salad serving in plastic cup? what happened to serving hot choc. chip cookie with ice cream in china? can’t label that as 1st class, compared to other carriers in bus. class. Why not serve 3 separate courses on napkin on tray?
The bad thing about having my home at ORD is that I tend to take a lot of flights under 800 miles. My next two confirmed upgrades are to LGA and PHL, both under the minimum. I’m rooting for my upgrades to come through for my trips to SEA and SLC to come through to take advantage of an actual meal instead of snacking my way through the flight and grazing in the United Club beforehand.
I’ve flown the A320 and other UA narrowbodies with those seats, and they’re terrific. There’s enough space to stow away my extension plug, my tablet, and my phone so that things aren’t falling off my lap during the flight. I might be bold enough to say that I enjoy these seats more than those in Polaris (I’ve flown on B787s on transit trips between hubs rather than TATL, but it still says Polaris on the wall). They’re also extremely comfortable for relatively short trips.
737 planes are the workhorse for any airline company. Personally I see more satisfaction from pax when they aren’t squeezed into 737 planes. The reasons presented in the article are valid as I’ve been a 30yr veteran of ual crew and getting rid of 737 use in late 90’s was the best move ual did. Returning that plane into the stable is a setback. Airbus a320 should be the smallest in ual fleet. It’s pax and crew friendly. It’s just political biz as usual for ual to recycle anything and everything if they can save a buck and charge alot and advertise it as new and improved. Only the faces change.
That’s an interesting perspective, I appreciate it. Recently I flew a UA 737 Max 8 (I think it was an 8 not a 9) on an outbound leg and a UA a319 on the inbound leg. The trip was with my wife and children. The 737 was the clear winner due to the seatback entertainment screens. I feel like I may have liked the Max 8 better too, though not sure why– maybe just that it appeared to be a newer plane and I was excited to go on the trip rather than tired from coming back.
It’s a pretty sad looking “premium” seat, but it could be worse. It could be an Intra-Europe “Business Class”
Do you get to say hello to the Captain at that price?
I speak with all pilots/co-pilots. And thank them for flying. I fly over 50k a year on my own dime. I appreciate the staff and feel thankful I don’t have to deal with people that wear their pajamas on board, unless they’re less than 5 years old.
Walk a mile in their shoes.
The problem I have is the gate gourmet group tries to get creative with the food. Simple is better. No need to try/fail a gourmet meal in the air, unless you want to bring back those marvelous charcuterie carts from the late 80’s.
That stash of crumbs looks like it accrued over several flights. It’s pretty gross. I wonder what’s to blame for stuff like that being missed and why United doesn’t do anything about it? Underpaid cleaners? Poor training? Tight turnarounds? Staff shortages? No one cares?
Looks and sounds like really sub par First Class accomodations! United takes the cake on Greedflation. Provide less and charge more.
They can call those seats in the pictures anything they want, no matter, it looks like regular old Economy class to me….for the kind of money they’re charging these days for Business and First it better be an isolated enclosed module with a lay flat seat and full on high speed wifi and entertainment included.
Yeah, no. That sad looking seat is an economy seat in my book!
That’s not a A 320 u That’s a Boeing you can’t even get your plane right
What are you talking about?
Are you referring to the photo of a 737 taken from the inside of the A320?
If this is the first class, how awful is the economy?
Where was the pre-departure beverage? Where were the pillow and blankets? This is just a bigger seat with more legroom – not First Class. Serving “First Class” beverages in plastic cups is NOT First Class service. That First Class meal looks pitiful. Serving a mixed fruit cup and calling it “fresh fruit” is inexcusable. Where’s the warm roll? Where’s the green salad? I’m so tired of airlines being so chintzy to their First Class travelers. And don’t even get me started on how the backs of those seats look – they’re exactly the same as what Spirit Airlines passengers see on their planes. Pitiful…
I have a few thoughts:
1) I haven’t had a pillow and blanket offered in domestic first on any airline since the pandemic started. United at least has blankets on board, if you ask. Delta took them off and still didn’t have them in June on my DEN-SEA flights. But I’ve since just bought my own high quality throw, because those United blankets are like tissue paper thin.
2) Delta has United bested in domestic first class service still, by far; and I say this as a 1K.
3) I never thought I could hate something more than that Latin chicken and rice we got for a year, but this “zaatar chicken” is godawful. I actually really like the impossible meatballs, so I go for that every time now (and am in the advantageous position that nobody races to get the vegan option). I thought the ragu was a salt lick… the zaatar chicken is so salty I couldn’t even stomach it.
4) I just love these A320s honestly. I was moved to comment in the first place because I ALWAYS think the same about the restrooms. That wallpaper is pleasant and brings back happy feelings for me. I’d take these over the horrible cramped Max restrooms any day of the week. Until the United fleet interior retrofits are well underway, I like that these have been redone more recently than the 738 and 739 workhorses.
5) I actually love the slimmer seats. I don’t equate oversized plush with comfort. I understand for many people this was the standard (look at what car seats used to look like) but I like the sleeker look of these, I find them more ergonomic personally, and they don’t wear out and flatten like the older ones in the 738s and 739s. Those are so sad looking that the retrofits cannot happen soon enough.
Recently flew UA F between IAD and LAX. Seat hardware was old and almost didn’t work. One of two electrical outlets didn’t work. Food was unappealing. Made me wonder both about the value of F and whether UA will invest in the front cabins soon enough to restore service quality.