Review of United flight Los Angeles Newark in Business

Airline United
Flight UA2418
Class Business
Seat 1A
Aircraft Boeing 787-10
Flight time 04:45
Take-off 07 Jan 19, 08:15
Arrival at 07 Jan 19, 16:00
UA   #119 out of 139 Airlines A minimum of 20 Flight-Reports is required in order to appear in the rankings. 316 reviews
Rewardflying
By GOLD 2363
Published on 3rd February 2019
photo ua2418 cover best

On October 1st, 2018 United announced the inaugural flight of their new Boeing 787-10 Dreamliner. Without much contemplation I decided I wanted to be on this flight. Of course Saver Awards weren’t available but the new “Everyday” award (which have ruined UA’s Mileage Plus program in my opinion but that’s a story for another day) seats were available for a price I was willing to pay given this special event.

Since I live in Chicago I had to get to LA. I happened to find an American Airlines combo from ORD to DFW to LAX on their 787-8 and 787-9. Wow! What a trip. My own 787 all variant affair in a row as well; ORD-DFW 787-8, DFW-LAX 787-9 and LAX-EWR 787-10.

Then came 12/20/18.
photo ua2418 tweet

After heavily promoting this 1/7/19 inaugural event, on 12/20/18 they flew the 787-10 from LAX-EWR. I contacted United and their excuse was they needed an aircraft because the scheduled one had maintenance issues and it was the holiday season, so this justified flying it.

Let me be clear, United owns these planes and they can do whatever they want with them. Over the next 3 weeks I spotted numerous flights flown with the 787-10. Now in a pickle the event was renamed to the “First Scheduled Service Date”. I’m just glad I wasn’t the person who reportedly spend 400,000 or 500,000 points via an auction to fly the 787-10 on an inaugural flight.

American Airlines 787-8 Business/First Class ORD-DFW - click to view
American Airlines 787-9 Busines/First Class DFW-LAX - click to view

United Airlines 787-10 Business/First p.s. Transcon LAX-EWR - this report


United Airlines 737-900 First Class ORD-EWR plus Classified dining - to come

I arrived at LAX around 6:30AM and headed straight to the gate. The Polaris Lounge was to open in the coming days, but I couldn’t have entered anyway as it’s reserved for international travel. United Transcon ps business class won’t be allowed inside. Apparently it’s not a large facility anyway.

photo ua2418 lax pol lge

Arriving at the gate over an hour before scheduled boarding, avgeeks were everywhere along with UA and Boeing personnel. They had to pretend didn’t they? A Senior United 777 Captain and Boeing Executive spoke for a couple of minutes.

photo ua2418 lax cerm 1photo ua2418 lax cerm 2photo ua2418 lax cerm 3

The crew, agents along with the Execs photo op.

photo ua2418 lax cerm 4

Compare that to the Newark celebration which was set up for the EWR-LAX return flight when we arrived. Food and News reporters everywhere. I think LAX "true” first fliers got jipped!

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photo ua2418 ewr cerm 2

After the cabin crew photos, boarding commenced.

photo ua2418 lax gate 77

My first look at the 787-10 cabin as I entered from Door 1. United has a new boarding procedure and it appears they are following it. Since this was a special flight there were plenty of Global Services and 1K fliers and they were all allowed on board, as well as people with disabilities and families. With the status folks boarding first it seemed like half the plane was full before “Group 1” was allowed on. So much for a clean cabin photo. They did let the media on pre-boarding to take photos but I don’t have those credentials.

photo ua2418 cabin first look

United has a gorgeous aircraft.

photo ua2418 cabin center seats

My seat, 1L.

photo ua2418 seat 1l 1
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photo ua2418 cabin center seats forward
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photo ua2418 cabin aisle forward blue light 1
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photo ua2418 cabin aisle forward blue light 2

My view from 1L.

photo ua2418 cabin aisle rear blue light

Different mood lighting for each aisle.

photo ua2418 cabin aisle rear sunrise light

The premium economy section was full by the time I got back to take a photo. And while I blurred the faces of passengers, one didn’t look all that pleased with me taking a photo!

photo ua2418 cabin prem econ

Classy Polaris plaque on the front bulkhead.

photo ua2418 cabin bulkhead

The lavatories on this jet were surprisingly small for an international aircraft. This is the one in front of seat 1L. If you pick this seat be prepared for the swoosh of the toilet when it’s flushed and it’s loud. I flew the 787-8 back in 2012 and I recall that there was some kind of automatic flush. Not so on this aircraft. Also note the lavs weren’t exactly kept spotless during the flight.

photo ua2418 cabin lav 1
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photo ua2418 cabin lav 2
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photo ua2418 cabin lav 3

There are 44 Polaris seats in the front cabin on this aircraft. All seats have a shoulder belt that must be used for takeoff, taxi and landing.

photo ua2418 seat 1l 1
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photo ua2418 seat 1l 3

Center seats with the privacy divider lowered. These center seats alternate with two next to each other forward facing and two separated angled to the aisle.

photo ua2418 seat center double

The footwells in bulkhead seats (1A/1L) are larger and also has better storage underneath. Given the fact that 1L has the lavatory flush to contend with, it seems to me the premier seat on this aircraft is 1A. The galleys seem to be far enough away to not be a noise factor. Having said that, 1 seat out of 44 does not offer outstanding odds of a snag.

photo ua2418 seat footwell bulkhead
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photo ua2418 seat footwell storage

Row 2 aisle footwell.

photo ua2418 seat footwell non bulk

Forward facing seats are the true window seats in odd number rows. The only issue is the narrow entry into the pod.

photo ua2418 seat entry

Polaris seats, at least the true window seats, offer a great deal of privacy.

photo ua2418 seat privacy 1

The window tint on Boeing 787’s has been a topic of controversy. The issue is they don’t go completely black. I’d read that this issue had been resolved and when I flew a Qantas over the summer the lowest setting was an opaque black tint. On United that darkest setting looked like this. Since UA’s 787-10 should have state-of-the-art up-to date technology I am confused.

photo ua2418 seat window 1

On the other hand the mechanism might have been malfunctioning as there was a problem with the controls. When my neighbor (hey Scott) darkened his window in 2L, my two windows darkened as well. Teething problems on a new aircraft, but you’d think they would have caught this on the delivery check.

The Polaris pod has a decent size tray that slides out from below the monitor. It also has a groove in the back of the tray where you can place your tablet to view United Private Screening.

photo ua2418 seat tray 1photo ua2418 seat tray 2

Another innovation on the Polaris pod is the handle you can use to pull yourself up when sitting down.

photo ua2418 seat handle 1

The left armrest is collapsable and inside holds the safety placards.

photo ua2418 seat - ar 1

Seat controls are on the other side and on this flight I didn’t find myself accidently hitting the wheel to move the seat as I did on their 777-300 last year. Comparing the two photos it seems the controls on this 787 are set back a bit. Otherwise the pod appears to be identical to the triple 7.

photo ua2418 seat control 1

Above the table is a small storage for your phone and the United headphones which if you need headphones bring your own.



Always a shout out for air nozzles on an airplane as well as some other features of the Polaris pod.



It was a rainy morning in Los Angeles as we taxied to the unusual runway 6R for departure to Newark. This Qantas 787 was to follow us to the east coast.

photo ua2418 lax departure

It was a bumpy ride today and with a 130 mph tailwind a short ride as well.

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A printed menu was handed out.

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photo ua2418 menu 3

Service was fairly slow. It could have been the new aircraft and definitely was due to the ride as the captain had the Flight Attendants in their seats for a period of time.

While I’ve flown United many miles, it’s been over a year. I remember they used to have larger mugs for coffee which made perfect sense for an airplane. Now these smaller mugs have the feature of coffee ending up on a napkin during turbulence. However, as you can see the new Boeing 787-10 handled the turbulence quite well. I’m sure all of this is because the larger mug meant too much coffee was being served.

photo ua2418 coffe cup

For breakfast a fruit and yogurt tray with a small ramekin of granola was served first.

photo ua2418 food bk1

Another reason to snag a seat in row 1 is that the cinnamon roll will still be warm. But be advised, eat it fast because once the microwave effect dissipates, the roll isn’t so soft anymore. But it was good for awhile.

photo ua2418 food bk2

I ordered the cheese blintzes with berry sauce. Great care was given to the meal presentation.

photo ua2418 food bk3

Either I was very hungry or it was good. I ate most of it. All said it was one of the better breakfasts I’ve had on United. On the other hand I heard the person behind me tell the FA his breakfast was “awful”. I think he had the chili verde.

photo ua2418 food bk4

No, I didn’t pilfer these.

photo ua2418 food globe salt-pepper

A small amenity kit was on the seat upon arrival which is a nice touch on a domestic flight.

photo ua2418 amenity 1photo ua2418 amenity 2

The Saks Fifth Avenue blanket is outstanding. There was no mattress pad as this was a daytime domestic flight and I doubt they had the gel pillows on board, but the blanket was great.

photo ua2418 amenity 3
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photo ua2418 amenity 4

The IFE on this Polaris seat is nice. Great response to touch, not a great selection of movies, but the Airshow is always my preferred entertainment. However I was EXTREMELY disappointed they didn’t install Channel 9 ATC on this brand new aircraft. Notice the storage area below the monitor with USB charging port. We also connected the dots on United hubs this trip!

photo ua2418 ife 1
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photo ua2418 ife 3

The aircraft had WiFi and Private Screening. The prices for WiFi were too high in my opinion. It was almost $30 for the entire 4 hour flight and around $14 for an hour. Silly to spend that just to check the speed and maybe do a little work.

photo ua2418 boarding 1

The United app did give details about this flight, albeit incorrect details.

photo ua2418 app details

Mid-flight I had a look around, mostly to get these photos as you can’t see the wing or engines from row 1.

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photo ua2418 plane wing 2

Soon after breakfast (the flight was only 4 hours) the snacks were brought out, sandwiches and chips. The beef and cheddar was good (at least the inside) as the wrap was a little tough. The middle sandwich, tomato - mozzarella - pesto was terrible, totally soggy inside. And I passed on the bag of chips. I had requested a bottle of water and never received it.

photo ua2418 food sand 1
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photo ua2418 food snacks

Soon we lined up for landing to the north with a nice view of New York City at dusk as well as some interesting sites on the ground.

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Apparently part of the new boarding process was a new deplaning process, at least on this flight. Business class was allowed to deplane first!

On arrival I was able to get some nice photos of this beautiful 787 aircraft.

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Flight path

photo ua2418 flight path

For a comparison of this aircraft to other wide-bodies on short haul flights click to visit reward flying.
See more

Verdict

United

6.3/10
Cabin8.0
Cabin crew5.0
Entertainment/wifi7.0
Meal/catering5.0

Los Angeles - LAX

6.5/10
Efficiency6.5
Access6.5
Services6.5
Cleanliness6.5

Newark - EWR

6.0/10
Efficiency6.0
Access6.0
Services6.0
Cleanliness6.0

Conclusion

While this flight was fun, I certainly wouldn’t have done it just to fly this aircraft since it required multiple other flights. Yet now I have the UA 787-10 crossed off my bucket list (as well as the AA 787’s). However I wouldn’t hesitate to fly the UA 787-10 again if the opportunity arose. This is a great airplane, they just need to improve their service a bit, along with the food.

Information on the route Los Angeles (LAX) Newark (EWR)

The contributors of Flight-Report published 3 reviews of 2 airlines on the route Los Angeles (LAX) → Newark (EWR).


Useful

The airline with the best average rating is Virgin America with 8.0/10.

The average flight time is 5 hours and 1 minutes.

  More information

10 Comments

  • Comment 486892 by
    YGeorgeW GOLD 183 Comments

    Thanks for the flight report RewardFlying!

    Having a Polaris seat for a transcon flight looks great. I imagine if and when they fix the technical issues and the service, it may just be the best transcon option?

    Did you get any souvenirs for the "first scheduled service" flight?

    Cheers and happy flying!

    • Comment 487023 by
      Rewardflying GOLD AUTHOR 490 Comments

      Hi YGeorgeW,

      it may just be the best transcon option?

      -They plan on keeping the 787-10 on this route indefinitely, so yes it would be a good Transcon aircraft. American flies the Cirrus reverse herringbone seat which is nice. However I read that Jetblue Mint has them all beat.

      Did you get any souvenirs for the "first scheduled service" flight?
      -No. And I'm still miffed at United for building this up and then blowing it up.

      Thanks for reading!

  • Comment 486963 by
    PresRDC 3 Comments

    Wow, what a pathetic meal service.

  • Comment 486995 by
    KL651 TEAM 4458 Comments

    Thanks for this FR.
    What a gorgeous plane.
    That mug thing is strange, coffee sure is'nt the most expensive thing they serve.
    The meals look pretty good but I disagree on the presentation, it's adequate not special.

  • Comment 487026 by
    Rewardflying GOLD AUTHOR 490 Comments

    Hi KL651

    That mug thing is strange, coffee sure is'nt the most expensive thing they serve.

    -We are talking about an airline that cut out the popular stroopwaffles to save a few pennies.

    The meals look pretty good but I disagree on the presentation, it's adequate not special.

    -I was being sarcastic! It was pitiful :)

    Thanks for reading!

  • Comment 487250 by
    socalnow GOLD 980 Comments

    Thanks for taking us along one the inaugural, errr, wait...first, no, the primary scheduled 787-10 flight except for all of the other ones they scheduled. Sill working on the event title...

    " I think LAX "true” first fliers got jipped!"
    -The LA gate still looks quite festive with the balloons.

    "Having said that, 1 seat out of 44 does not offer outstanding odds of a snag. "
    -2.27% chance if the online calculator i found is any good.

    "Great care was given to the meal presentation."
    -They could have wiped off the seagull sick that landed on your breakfast.

    Other than the handsome cabin nothing else about the experience screams "premium transcon" to me.

    Thanks for sharing and happy flying.

  • Comment 487256 by
    Rewardflying GOLD AUTHOR 490 Comments

    Hi Christian, apparently my UA experience didn't inspire you to take the plunge

    The LA gate still looks quite festive with the balloons.

    -They didn't even have coffee.

    Other than the handsome cabin nothing else about the experience screams "premium transcon" to me.

    -But it is, compared to an A319 from LAX to PHL.

  • Comment 487342 by
    atco GOLD 134 Comments

    Hello Rewarflying,

    Thanks for this report on the new 787-10.
    Those Polaris seats do look nice and that bedding looks perfect for an ultra long haul.

    As others have said though, there's so many shortcomings with everything United seems to do. That food (at least I think its food) looks horrible and of course their inflight service is "legendary"
    There's just nothing about United that makes me want to fly with them and the fact they can't even seem to organise something as basic as an inaugural flight makes them appear as we would say in Britain that they "can't organise a piss up in a brewery"!

  • Comment 487378 by
    Rewardflying GOLD AUTHOR 490 Comments

    Hi Atco, thanks for the visit:

    Those Polaris seats do look nice and that bedding looks perfect for an ultra long haul.

    -While this flight didn't have the full bedding offered on international flights, yes, United does shine in that regard. Maybe they want you to sleep so you don't have to put up with the abysmal service or food!

    can't even seem to organise something as basic as an inaugural flight

    -Yes, this was poorly done for sure, especially when compared to what Delta did the other day with their A220 launch. And the funny thing is, United is monkey see monkey do when it comes to Delta.

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