Review of United flight Frankfurt-am-Main Houston in Premium Eco

Airline United
Flight UA 47
Class Premium Eco
Seat 16A
Aircraft Boeing 787-9
Flight time 11:20
Take-off 23 Mar 16, 13:50
Arrival at 23 Mar 16, 19:10
UA   #82 out of 111 Airlines A minimum of 20 Flight-Reports is required in order to appear in the rankings. 202 reviews
NGO85
By 2173
Published on 21st October 2016
Background:

This series covers a two-week vacation to Europe that will feature stops in SOF, BEG, TIV, LIS, ARN, and ATH. For background and planning, please refer back to Part 1. As a reminder, the routing for this series is:

Part 1 – IAH-IAD [UA 373, Boeing B767-300ER, Economy] – Here
Part 2 – IAD-MUC [UA 106, Boeing B767-400ER, Economy] – Here
Part 3 – MUC-SOF [LH 1702, Airbus A321, Economy] – Here
Part 4 – SOF-BEG [JU 123, Aérospatiale/Alenia ATR 72-200, Economy] – Here
Part 5 – BEG-TIV [YM 201, Fokker F100, Economy] – Here
Part 6 – TIV-BEG [YM 202, Fokker F100, Economy] – Here
Part 7 – BEG-LHR [JU 380, Airbus A319, Business] – Here
Part 8 – LHR-MAD [IB 3167, Airbus A330-300, Business] – Here
Part 9 – MAD-LIS [IB 3118, Airbus A321, Business] – Here
Part 10 – LIS-LHR [BA 499, Airbus A320, Business] – Here
Part 11 – LHR-ARN [BA 780, Boeing B767-300ER, Business] – Here
Part 12 – ARN-BEG [JU 411, Airbus A319, Business] – Here
Part 13 – BEG-ATH [JU 512, Airbus A319, Business] – Here
Part 14 – ATH-IST [TK 1850, Boeing B737-900ER, Economy] – Here
Part 15 – IST-ATH [TK 1843, Boeing B737-800, Economy] – Here
Part 16 – ATH-FRA [A3 830, Airbus A321, Economy] – Here
Part 17 – FRA-IAH [UA 47, Boeing B787-900, EconomyPlus] – You are here

Tourist Bonuses:

Sofia – Part 4
Kotor – Part 6
Belgrade – Part 7
Lisbon – Part 9
Sintra – Part 10
Stockholm – Part 12
Athens – Part 16

This report will cover the flight from FRA to IAH. The LH A380 would have been preferred, but the flight times of the UA 47 service better fit my schedule so I bit the bullet.


Pre-flight:

Heading into Terminal 1, I walk towards the FIDS to find my gate.

photo 1photo 2

My flight to IAH was leaving from the Z gates.

photo 3

Off to the A gates.



LH A343 in *A Livery.

photo 7

I head into the nearest LH Lounge to grab some food after that disappointing breakfast on A3. My TK card is swiped and I’m welcomed in.

photo 9

Newspapers.

photo 10

The buffet that was crowded.

photo 11

I just grab some food and go take a seat in the corner by the windows.

photo 12

My breakfast offering.

photo 13

LH and UA planes outside.

photo 14photo 15

I found that lounge to be really crowded so only stayed an hour before getting up to leave. Wandering around the terminal towards the Z gates, some more LH planes.



I like how FRA has free newspapers and coffee.

photo 17

The seating areas are spartan though.

photo 22

Continuing my wandering through FRA.



Returning to the lounge.

photo 26

Not as crowded now.

photo 27

I’ll join this guy in the Franziskaner Club.

photo 28

Quieter seating areas in the back corner along with an unmanned bar.



I take a seat and enjoy my final snack.

photo 31

Boarding documents.

photo 32

My plane is here.

photo 33

Goodbye FRA as I head over to my gate.

photo 35



————————-

United Airlines, UA 47
Equipment: Boeing B787-900 [N27964, delivered February 2016]
Departure: 13:50 (ATD: 14:14)
Arrival: 19:10 (ATA: 18:52)
Flight time: 10:38


Gate agents were busy doing document checks when I showed up to my gate.

photo 36

FRA has a really industrial feel.

photo 37photo 38

My plane waiting outside.

photo 39

Boarding was chaotic because UA insists on using this 5 zone boarding and places all of the lines next to each other since it’s impossible to find which line is yours and make your way through the crowds.

photo 40

Down towards the jetbridge.

photo 41photo 42

I was greeted by a FA that checked my boarding pass and gestered me down the first aisle. The J cabin on this B787. I’m glad UA finally realized how unattractive these cabins are and will start rolling out Zodiac fitted Polaris Business Class cabins soon.

photo 43

My seat in the first row of Y. The B789s (unlike the B788s) get the new leather seats instead of the cloth checkerboard seats.



Pre-placed on the seat were blanket and pillow.

photo 46

Legroom is ample in the bulkhead row without too much restriction to the knees for fully extending one’s legs.

photo 47

TP A320 next door.

photo 49

Seatback contents.

photo 50

Safety card for this B787.

photo 51photo 52

IFE controls were fixed into the seat.

photo 55

UA propaganda video and the safety video played during push back.

photo 56

LH A346.

photo 57

LX Avro RJ100 in *A special livery.

photo 58

The Fanhansa rotating in front of a LH A321.

photo 59

Another LH B744.

photo 60

TG A380.

photo 61

LH A380 and TK B738.

photo 63photo 64

We turn to align on the runway as the LH A380 starts to rotate at the end.

photo 65

HiFly Malta A343 (9H-TQM).

photo 66

VN B789.

photo 67

CA B77W.

photo 68

Lifting up over the terminal.

photo 69

We rise up and over Frankfurt as we loop towards the northwest.



Disappearing into the clouds, I pull up the IFE. The screen is the same size as the ones in the seat backs. UA has all of the Bond movies, so it will be a marathon viewing on the flight home.



Power outlets are under the seat.

photo 79

Cloudy Europe.

photo 78

About 45 minutes into the flight, aperitif service is done. I take a Goose Island IPA and the “cheese” and crackers.

photo 80

The meal carts follow shortly. I forget what the other option was, but I went for what they described as a “pasta duet.” The tray has the passport sized main, a couscous salad, and the rubber roll.

photo 81

The pasta wasn't very good. I was inclined to get this since the pasta I had in Part 2 on IAD-MUC was actually good, but this was overcooked and dry.

photo 82

The visually exciting salad, but ultimately tasteless.

photo 83

Drinks were flowing though. My request for a glass of water and another beer was quickly taken care of.

photo 84

After the meal, bottles of water and ice cream was handed out.

photo 85

Coffee/tea service was also done as the cabin lights were dimmed for the remainder of the flight.

photo 86

Meal service concluded as we were departing Ireland.

photo 87

A view down my row after meal service.

photo 88

I don’t remember any drink runs offering water by the FAs mid-flight, but I got a glass of water from the galley and took a nap.

photo 89

I woke up as we were entering Canada.

photo 90

A drink service was done mid-flight. They also offered BOB.

photo 91

Flying along the Hudson Bay towards Quebec City.

photo 92photo 93

Meal service started up again as we were about to cross from Tennessee into Mississippi.

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Just like in Europe, cloudy here in the US.

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The pre-arrival meal.

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The 3-bite ham and cheese sandwich (compare it to the size of the cup). The FAs also offered BOB items, so UA knows that they are short changing people on food. This is a nearly 11-hour flight west-bound making it on par with most east-bound TPACs. Definitely inadequate quantities.

photo 97

Coasting into IAH from the east.

photo 98

Our route today.

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Crossing I-45.

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We touch down ahead of schedule on a hot humid day in Houston (no surprises there…).

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Taxing back to the terminal, the windows completely fog over by the time we reach the gate next to our twin.

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Deplaning and heading towards immigration.

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Welcome to Houston!

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And with that, this series finally comes to an end. See you!
See more

Verdict

United

6.8/10
Cabin7.5
Cabin crew6.5
Entertainment9.0
meal/catering4.0

Lufthansa Business Lounge - Terminal A, Level 2, Next to gate A13

8.3/10
Comfort7.5
meal/catering8.5
Entertainment9.0
Services8.0

Frankfurt-am-Main - FRA

8.0/10
Efficiency7.0
Access8.0
Services9.0
Cleanliness8.0

Houston - IAH

6.1/10
Efficiency6.0
Access4.0
Services8.0
Cleanliness6.5

Conclusion

Vacation ends the moment you set foot on a UA plane. UA is reliable and functional airline, but there is nothing to get excited about. The cabins and crews are average and the catering usually is not very good.

Cabin comfort: The new seats installed on the B789s aren't very comfortable. I don't know if this was because the plane was so new, but they were very stiff and plastic feeling so I did find some butt discomfort during this flight. Seat pitch was excellent in the bulkhead.

Crew: Standard UA crew. They did service cracking some jokes and have some personalities, but the rest of the flight they were more interested in sitting in the galley chatting with each other than doing their jobs.

Meal and catering: The UA trays are small, but this time the main was pretty bad with the overcooked and dry pasta. The pre-arrival "snack" is just pitifiul. UA really is on the level of SK, they just don't want to admit it.

Entertainment: No newspapers offered. Standard seatback literature. The IFE is pretty good on UA. Moving maps and all the Bond movies, I'm happy.

Related

12 Comments

  • Comment 371353 by
    KL651 3457 Comments

    Thanks for this FR.
    Wow so they serve the same thing on a FRA-IAH than on a CDG-EWR ?
    The sandwich served before landing is good, but just too small!
    Too bad the seats are uncomfortable as the cabin looks pretty good.

      0
    • Comment 371866 by
      NGO85 AUTHOR 1581 Comments

      "Wow so they serve the same thing on a FRA-IAH than on a CDG-EWR ?"
      - They don't care that it is 3+ hours longer ;) A TATL is a TATL to UA^^

      "The sandwich served before landing is good, but just too small!"
      - This is more like a mid-flight snack, not a meal service^^

      "Too bad the seats are uncomfortable as the cabin looks pretty good."
      - This plane was a month old when I boarded it, so I think that played into the "stiff" seats that I complained about, as they get worn in, they will probably be more comfortable.

      Thanks for stopping by KL651!

        0
  • Comment 371369 by
    Numero_2 6390 Comments

    Thank you Michael !

    You're posting faster than ever these days. ^^

    Why did you go to the always-filled-Senator-lounge at A gates ? The Z gates one is less crowded.

    "I like how FRA has free newspapers and coffee." -> It's the same at MUC.

    The UA Y service is just meh.
    On a similar daytime flight LX offers a full meal, a snack, a sandwich and a pre-arrival hot meal.

    "Moving maps and all the Bond movies, I'm happy." -> Did you watch the one with Auric Goldfinger, Hugo Drax, Max Zorin or Karl Stromberg ? ^^

      0
    • Comment 371867 by
      NGO85 AUTHOR 1581 Comments

      "You're posting faster than ever these days. ^^"
      - Merci Clement, I needed to just get this series over with.

      "Why did you go to the always-filled-Senator-lounge at A gates ? The Z gates one is less crowded."
      - Because I was lost ;( Should have found the AC Lounge.

      "It's the same at MUC."
      - And GVA^^

      "On a similar daytime flight LX offers a full meal, a snack, a sandwich and a pre-arrival hot meal."
      - I know, UA is about as bad as the "full-service" carriers get. I think it is very similar to SK's catering model where a BOB is introduced.

      "Did you watch the one with Auric Goldfinger, Hugo Drax, Max Zorin or Karl Stromberg ? ^^"
      - Max Zorin, of course!

        0
  • Comment 371464 by
    757Fan 324 Comments

    Thanks for sharing, Michael. I didn't realize UA offered BOB on their international flights. Is that new? The food does look really small in quantity. I flew UA Y to Milan a few years ago, but I much prefer Delta over UA any day. When we flew back from AMS to MSP, we were constantly fed and provided drinks, etc. The service was also much better too. What a difference!

      0
    • Comment 371868 by
      NGO85 AUTHOR 1581 Comments

      "I didn't realize UA offered BOB on their international flights. Is that new?"
      - It's part of the gradual decline in service. SK was the same when I flew them CPH-NRT, they also have a BOB throughout the flight since there is an inadequate amount of food for most people. I haven't seen this on UA's TPACs yet, but the TATLs face more LCC competition on those routes and need to decrease their service costs.

      "I much prefer Delta over UA any day"
      - Absolutely, actually booked to fly DL to MAD in December. DL is hands down the best of the US carriers for in-flight services. AA wasn't too bad on routes to Oceania, but I think AA's TATL service is also mediocre.

      Thanks for stopping by Matthew!

        0
  • Comment 371472 by
    FFlyerCDG 1075 Comments

    Thanks for sharing Michael but this is the perfect demonstration that this Y product is as crap as the one offered by AA when it comes to F&B...
    But a BoB offer on such a flight is really the cherry on the cake... Kind of :-))

    Nothing can be compared to DL on a TATL flight when it comes to a U.S. airline in Y !!!

      0
    • Comment 371869 by
      NGO85 AUTHOR 1581 Comments

      "this is the perfect demonstration that this Y product is as crap as the one offered by AA when it comes to F&B..."
      - I think UA is far below AA in terms of F&B. And when you take in account how spotty UA crews are, it makes for a very poor in flight experience.

      "But a BoB offer on such a flight is really the cherry on the cake..."
      - The guy next to me bought something from the BOB menu during the second "meal" service. People reach the point where they have no other choice but to buy something. This is why I stuffed myself in the LH Lounges before departure.

      "Nothing can be compared to DL on a TATL flight when it comes to a U.S. airline in Y !!!"
      - Definitely better than AA and UA in my experiences. The same is true for TPACs.

      Thanks for stopping by FFlyerCDG^^

        0
  • Comment 371705 by
    ashleyyau 165 Comments

    Thanks for sharing this flight report with great pictures! It is an uneventful UA flight.

    Personally the LH Lounge is spacious with decent design. Hence I think it should be extreme crowded so that you had to go out for a while.

    "FRA has a really industrial feel." - I just think they were repairing the ceilings :P

    It is nice for having a bulkhead seat with generous seat pitch. I found that the bulkhead seat tray is more usable since it has a cup holder. The cons is that you cannot turn the seats into economy first^^

    “I take a Goose Island IPA and the “cheese” and crackers.”
    - OMG UA provide Goose Island!!! I haven’t seen it on all my UA long haul!!! The cheese and crackers sounds better than the uninteresting Otsumami on TPAC flights.

    The catering for this flight is inadequate and meh. My NRT-LAX flight time is shorter than this but UA provides 2 full meals for passengers. The quantity seems to be norm for the East Coast TATL flights (BA now also cut the 2nd meal to snacks on these routes). The 3-bite sandwich looks better than your infamous KIX-SFO one (1 more bite) lol

      0
    • Comment 371870 by
      NGO85 AUTHOR 1581 Comments

      "It is an uneventful UA flight."
      - Compared to your UA experience SFO-HKG, it was uneventful^^

      "Personally the LH Lounge is spacious with decent design. Hence I think it should be extreme crowded so that you had to go out for a while."
      - I was also in the more crowded area of FRA closer to all the LH heavies. As Numero_2 said, I should have gone to the lounge by my gate.

      "I found that the bulkhead seat tray is more usable since it has a cup holder. The cons is that you cannot turn the seats into economy first^^"
      - The plane was 100% load in Y, no EconomyFirst to consider on this flight ;)

      “OMG UA provide Goose Island!!! I haven’t seen it on all my UA long haul!!!"
      - ??? They have had it for a couple years now, it was part of the revamped catering. Maybe they don't offer it to Asia... From what I remember it wasn't on the KIX-SFO-KIX flights I did. I think I've only seen it on domestic flights and flights to/from Europe.

      "The 3-bite sandwich looks better than your infamous KIX-SFO one (1 more bite) lol"
      - Nothing will beat that sandwich, that was just so pitiful^^

      Thanks very much for stopping by and commenting^^

        0
  • Comment 372279 by
    Rl 777 676 Comments

    Thank you for sharing this FR with us!

    Phenomenal spotting shots at FRA, love those heavies!

    The Y seats look really good visually IMO, unfortunately it wasn't as promising to sit on.

    “The Fanhansa rotating in front of a LH A321.”
    - Fantastic!

    Absolutely wonderful shots of Frankfurt after departure :).

    “UA has all of the Bond movies, so it will be a marathon viewing on the flight home.”
    - Nice to hear that.

    The meal offering on this 11h long flight reminds me of my MUC-DEL flight, which was scheduled at 7,5 hours. Good you had eaten at the lounge before.

    Beautiful aerial shots before arrival, the shots with the 789 wing are just stunning.

    Thank you very much for sharing this absolutely fantastic series with us! A lot of different countries with a lot of different flights.

    Have a good one and see you later :).

      0
  • Comment 372306 by
    jetsetpanda 2134 Comments

    Hi Michael.

    "My breakfast offering."
    - Very nice. That is one big glass of beer. ;) I guess with all that protein you needed to balance it with some carbs.

    "I like how FRA has free newspapers and coffee."
    - Every great airport should have those for free. It's one of the few things that LH does very well.

    "The J cabin on this B787. I’m glad UA finally realized how unattractive these cabins are and will start rolling out Zodiac fitted Polaris Business Class cabins soon."
    - I think AM has this kind of seats and also AA in their A321T in J. If you are stuck in a window, it's hard to get out.

    "The tray has the passport sized main, a couscous salad, and the rubber roll."
    - Not the best in terms of quantity. However, I give UA credit for trying to offer something more than lettuce as appetizer. The ice cream as dessert is a nice touch and is much better than the brownie offered by AA. I will be flying UA in Y from PEK-SFO and have ordered a special Hindu meal. If I'm lucky, I can probably get a second regular meal if I'm still hungry. :P

    "The 3-bite ham and cheese sandwich (compare it to the size of the cup). The FAs also offered BOB items, so UA knows that they are short changing people on food."
    - I think the BOB is discontinued due to popular demand. This is definitely small for a second meal.

    Thanks Michael for sharing this last segment of your series.

      0

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