Review of United flight Vancouver San Francisco in Domestic First

Airline United
Flight UA1449
Seat 1A
Aircraft Airbus A320
Flight time 02:30
Take-off 04 Jun 22, 07:00
Arrival at 04 Jun 22, 09:30
UA   #59 out of 79 Airlines A minimum of 10 flight-reports within the past two years is required to appear in the rankings. 384 reviews
bldavid
By GOLD 1017
Published on 10th June 2022

We decided to go on holiday to California. There are no direct flights between Iceland and California since the end of Wow Air so we decided to fly to Vancouver, one of the furthest direct destinations from Keflavík, and connect from there.

Our itinerary:
Keflavík to Vancouver, Icelandair, business class
Vancouver to San Francisco, United, first class
San Francisco to San Diego, United, first class
Los Angeles to Vancouver, Air Canada, economy class
Vancouver to Keflavík, Icelandair, business class

This flight is sold on United's website as Business/First; the booking class is D which is usually business class but it's called United First here.
The flight is technically international first class but it's better classified as domestic first class for the service (or the lack of it). I booked this class simply because the price between economy and first covered exactly the difference in value of what was included: check-in luggage, priority check-in, priority security, priority boarding and a more comfortable seat.

We stayed at the Westin Wall Centre Vancouver Airport. The hotel does not have a shuttle service but they pay for the taxi. It's an unusual but comfortable solution.

We hear so much nowadays about long lines at airports but I was optimistic and planned to be at the airport at 05.15, about 1 hour and 45 minutes before departure.

There was zero waiting time at check-in: there were absolutely no other passengers neither in economy nor in first class.




photo 01

Check-in still took time: the agent checked our ESTAs, vaccination certificates, negative covid tests, return flight tickets and she checked in our luggage.


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There was zero waiting time at security. We could go into the priority lane but there were almost no other passengers anyway.

Vancouver Airport offers US Customs and Immigration Preclearance. Yes, you guessed it: zero waiting time.


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Lounge access was theoretically included in our reservation at Air Canada's Maple Leaf lounge but the lounge opens only at 7am and we were there at about 6am.


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Vancouver airport is nice and well organized. The airport - more precisely the US Terminal - was almost empty. Airports all over the world are often the busiest with most departures at about 7am, especially on a Saturday at the beginning of summer, but not here. Shops and cafes were however open.


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Here we see why: only two departures between 06.02 and 08.00


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The boarding area was not crowded.


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Priority boarding was available.

United's A320 has the usual US Domestic First Class configuration.


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Seats 1ACDF have very good legroom.


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The cabin was refurbished and was in very good condition despite the plane being 28 years old.

The captain made a very personal PA facing the cabin - a nice touch.

A welcome drink was offered: water or orange juice. Sanitizing wipes were also handed out.


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An expected flight time of 1 hour and 58 minutes was announced.

Push-back was on time.

Some views during taxi:


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Two Icelandair planes on the apron:


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We took off at 07.10.

The views after take-off:


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United Airlines' First Class catering: a drink and biscuits that would cost about 50 cents in a supermarket.


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There are no built-in screens but there's wi-fi and "private screening" which I didn't try.


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There's an on-board magazine that less and less airlines have nowadays.


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The most interesting part of the magazine is the description of the fleet.


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The rest of the flight was uneventful. The sky was cloudy so we had no views until we reached San Francisco - but then we had a fantastic view of the city.


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Oakland International Airport.


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Hayward Executive Airport.


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Dumbarton Bridge.


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The views before landing:


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We landed at 09.06 for a scheduled arrival time of 09.28.


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See more

Verdict

United

6.3/10
Cabin9.0
Cabin crew9.0
Entertainment/wifi5.0
Meal/catering2.0

Vancouver - YVR

9.3/10
Efficiency10.0
Access9.0
Services8.0
Cleanliness10.0

San Francisco - SFO

9.0/10
Efficiency9.0
Access9.0
Services9.0
Cleanliness9.0

Conclusion

United's first class between Vancouver and San Francisco offers check-in luggage, priority check-in, priority security control, priority boarding, a comfortable seat, drinks but almost zero food. We were very lucky as Vancouver Airport was quite empty so there were no lines at all; therefore all the priorities didn't offer any real advantage the day of our travel. The seat was very comfortable and came with very good legroom. The cabin crew was friendly. I find it unacceptable to call a product first class yet to offer only drinks but basically no meal at all. Other than this our flight was on time and comfortable.

Information on the route Vancouver (YVR) San Francisco (SFO)

2 Comments

If you liked this review or if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to post a comment below !
  • Comment 605122 by
    airberlin GOLD 1704 Comments

    Thanks for this. We see here a typical US domestic first product. Nice seat, pleasant service but no food on short flights. Exactly the contrary on European airlines. Funny… it’s the first time I see a gate with lounge included in the US. Was it a specific option? Also I am curious to learn how much you price all the pearks in Frist Class.. you said already 50ct for the food. What about the rest?
    Surprised by the low number of departures in YVR at that time. Was expecting all airlines to have flights to their hubs but no.
    Thanks again for sharing.

  • Comment 605208 by
    bldavid GOLD AUTHOR 257 Comments

    Hi Airberlin and thank you for your comment. The lounge is maybe included because it's an international flight but it definitely wouldn't be included for a Domestic First flight. I think it's reasonable to pay about $30 for the checked-in luggage, $30 for priority check-in, priority security control and priority boarding, $50 for the first class seat and $10 for the two tomato juices I had on-board - and that was exactly the price difference compared to economy.

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