Review of United flight Paris Chicago in Premium Eco

Airline United
Flight 986
Class Premium Eco
Seat 20A
Aircraft Boeing 787-8
Flight time 09:05
Take-off 19 Feb 22, 11:40
Arrival at 19 Feb 22, 13:45
UA   #49 out of 71 Airlines A minimum of 10 flight-reports within the past two years is required to appear in the rankings. 368 reviews
KL651
By 1132
Published on 2nd September 2022

Here's a report of my experience on UA new Premium Plus, on a Paris to San Diego routing.
The routing was CDG-ORD-SAN-ORD-CDG.
UA offers the fastest travel option between Paris and San Diego, though the return, booked in economy, ended up being SAN-ORD-MUC-CDG, due to a heavily delayed ORD-CDG flight.

T1 being closed, all US and Canadian airlines (except Delta and Westjet) are now grouped at Terminal 2A.
I arrived at CDG 2,5 hours before take off, and the check in zone was litteraly a zoo at the AA, UA and AC zone.

I'm glad I had Premier Access which enabled to me to check my bags in 5 minutes and then use the fast lane for Passport Control and security which were really busy.
Clearly the reopening of the US borders 3 months before generated a huge wave of travel to this country.


photo 20220219_093737-copy

I bought some champagne at the Duty Free shops you MUST go through to get to the gates, and then sat in front of my plane until boarding started.


photo 20220219_105056-copyphoto 20220219_110907-copy

As usual with US airlines, boarding was well organized, by group and started on time.


photo 20220219_110920-copy

Although Premium Plus comes with Premier Access, I had a phone call to make and once it was over and I could board, I found the Polaris and Premium cabins almost completely full, hence the picture of the seat only and not the cabin.

The nice Skas Fifth Avenue pillow and blanket as well as the amenity kit were placed on the seat.
The nice looking amenity kit contained, a sleeping mask, socks and a toothbrush.


photo 20220219_111033-copy

I had a cool view on the engine and a fellow UA 787 to IAD.
UA resumed its direct service to SFO a few weeks afterwards, meaning they have now resumed all their routes from CDG, to EWR, ORD, IAD and SFO.


photo 20220219_113517-copy

We pushed back on time and saw some rare planes on our way to the runway.


photo 20220219_113742photo 20220219_120426-copy

We took off with a 15 minute delay as this gorgeous Icelandair 757-300 landed.


photo 20220219_115906-copy

We climbed and soon reached our cruising altitude


photo 20220219_115758-copyphoto 20220219_122138-copy

Enter text here…


I reclined the seat which was spacious but rather hard.
What made this premium comfortable was the added space and larger armrest rather than the seat IMO

Meal service began, and no drinks or snack were offered before.

Also, the beverage choice was the same as in Economy with only beer and wine as available alcoholic drinks.
The F/A serving our aisle was rather unfriendly, and her service not premium at all, asking passengers "Chicken, or pasta? Any drinks?"


photo 20220219_123001-copy


The tray looked nice, a real glass, metal cutlery and the signature china and plate with the globe pattern.

Food was tasty but rather basic, it's more an economy class meal served on a business class tray.

Premium Economy standards vary a lot post Covid on US airlines, DL serves the same thing as in economy (shame on them!), AA doesn't use real glasses but the food is more premium.

The dessert we were offered was the ice cream also served in economy class, which I declined.

The pursed passed through the cabin to collect trays, I asked if by chance there was a leftover entree, and she borught back an entire tray from Polaris, which was really nice of her.
You can see that the salad is the same, only the entree and salt and pepper shakers are different. Don't know about the dessert.

I think it's time US airlines clearly redefine and differentiate their onboard service in each class.


photo 20220219_125059-copy


Coffee and tea were offered, which I declined as I wanted to sleep.

We were cruising above the atlantic ocean by the time the meal was over.


photo 20220219_144006-copy


I started a movie I don't remember to pass the time until we reached Iceland, I was hoping for some nice views.
The IFE offering was nice, except in terms of music, and the moving map had decent features.

No views of Iceland because of the clouds and me being on the wrong side, so it will be limited to the IFE to know we were close.


photo 20220219_150645-copy

I then took a nap for about an hour, but as I said the seat was too hard for me to be comfortable and fall asleep.

FAs passed through the cabin regularly with water, I asked for a ginger ale.


photo 20220219_162503-copy

I passed the time watching Will & Grace and 2 Broke Girls.

Eventually we reached the American Continent and the clouds cleared, revealing a beautiful frozen scenery.


photo 20220219_185036-copyphoto 20220219_191248-copyphoto 20220219_171310-copy


About 1,5 hours before landing the snack was served and was definitely the same as in economy.
I had tea to with the tasty sandwich.


photo 20220219_193523-copy


Due to strong headwinds, in spite of our almost on time departure our arrival kept getting pushed back and we were expected to land slightly behind schedule. I didn't care as I had a 3 hours connection anyway.

We started our descent about 30 minutes prior to landing.


photo 20220219_194856-copyphoto 20220219_195642-copy

Getting closer


photo 20220219_200015-copy

Finally I was on the correct side of the plane to have a nice view of Chicago's downtown shortly before landing.
I really love that city.


photo 20220219_205658-copyphoto 20220219_205527-copy

In final


photo 20220219_204730-copy

We gently landed 5 minutes behind schedule.


photo 20220219_204911-copy

After a quick taxi, we parked at Terminal 5, the only one with an immigration facility at ORD.


photo 20220219_205015-copyphoto 20220219_144111-copy

It didn't take long to disembark and waiting time at immigration was only 10 minutes.

Overall, in spite of my soft spot for UA and my excitement to try out their Premium Product, I must say I was disappointed.
Tthe seat wasn't comfortable and the service and meals weren't really premium, especially the service.
Except for the Purser, there was no difference with flying economy class, I expected a more refined service with real sentances rather than "Any drinks?"
The difference with economy was reasonnable so I don't regret it, but clearly it's not worth paying more than a USD 200 to fly UA's Premium Plus on a flight of this duration.

See more

Verdict

United

6.4/10
Cabin6.5
Cabin crew4.0
Entertainment/wifi8.0
Meal/catering7.0

Paris - CDG

5.0/10
Efficiency5.0
Access5.0
Services5.0
Cleanliness5.0

Chicago - ORD

5.0/10
Efficiency5.0
Access5.0
Services5.0
Cleanliness5.0

Conclusion

Overall, in spite of my soft spot for UA and my excitement to try out their Premium Product, I must say I was disappointed.
The seat wasn't comfortable and the service and meals weren't really premium, especially the service.
Except for the Purser, there was no difference with flying economy class, I expected a more refined service with full sentences rather than "Any drinks?"
The difference with economy was reasonable so I don't regret it, but clearly it's not worth paying more than a USD 200 to fly UA's Premium Plus on a flight of this duration.

Information on the route Paris (CDG) Chicago (ORD)

The contributors of Flight-Report published 23 reviews of 3 airlines on the route Paris (CDG) → Chicago (ORD).


Useful

The airline with the best average rating is Air France with 7.5/10.

The average flight time is 9 hours and 14 minutes.

  More information

4 Comments

If you liked this review or if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to post a comment below !
  • Comment 610931 by
    airberlin GOLD 1630 Comments

    Thanks for that report. United is the last of US airlines for business class food currently. Can’t speak for premium economy. That class has no worldwide commun positioning with some airlines having it as an economy product with more generous legroom and others trying to match the former business class service offered 20 years ago.
    Looking forward to reading the return leg 😁

  • Comment 611148 by
    KévinDC TEAM GOLD 5886 Comments

    Too bad UA W was disappointing. Visually, the cabin looks nice so it's unfortunate to hear that the seats are hard. I've flown AA Premium Economy several times and find the seats to be quite comfortable--DL, AA, and UA all have the same seat model in W (Collins MiQ) so maybe UA went for less padding to save money then the others? Or hopefully this one seat had an overly crushed cushion and is not typical.

    It is crazy how US carriers all have different catering concepts in W post pandemic, as you mention. None of them is truly premium with DL not differentiating catering from Economy, AA having more premium meals, but plastic cups and no alcohol until very recently, and UA is just a weird hodge podge. I guess on the surface UA's looks more premium with the real glass, but it feels like W is kind of an afterthought for all of the US3, which is a shame since most carriers report W being the most profitable cabin for the real estate.

    Thanks for sharing!

  • Comment 611150 by
    Ohad 1 Comments

    The sad thing is that United’s meal in Polaris is exactly the same, disgusting.

  • Comment 611456 by
    NGO85 1640 Comments

    Hi KL651, thank you for sharing this report. I'm definitely not a fan of the color palate for the new W cabins and a new look is just a disguise for the same hard seats, but at least the amenities present a better alternative to your other *A option (LH). What was the fare difference between Y and W? It's also muddled since you still have to weigh in Y+ and where it lies within that price/value continuum.

    Food was tasty but rather basic, it's more an economy class meal served on a business class tray. >

    It's sad that this statement also holds true for Polaris, complete with packaged roll^^ That said, LH has some overlap in its catering between J/W as well.

    asking passengers "Chicken, or pasta? Any drinks?" >

    A very typical UA experience^^

Login to post a comment.