Flight Review: United Airlines (747) First Class – San Francisco to Frankfurt

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Flight Review: United Airlines (747) First Class – San Francisco to Frankfurt

United Airlines Boeing 747 First Class Introduction

Let’s take a look at the United Airlines Boeing 747 First Class flight I took between San Francisco and Frankfurt on a mini-round-the-world trip I booked using Aeroplan miles. I had recently flown United on their Boeing 767 in first class but was excited to fly the ‘Queen of the Skies’ before her retirement from United back in November.

I managed to get a shot of the Queen at the gate in San Francisco before the chaotic boarding process started.

United Airlines Boeing 747 In San Francisco

United Airlines Boeing 747 In San Francisco

The cabin was full on this flight, with 3/12 seats occupied by United pilots. Although far from private, I actually quite liked the layout of first class in the nose of this 747. Also, like the 767 first class, I found the seats themselves to be quite comfortable.

United Airlines Boeing 747 First Class Seat

United Airlines Boeing 747 First Class Seat

United Airlines Boeing 747 First Class Seat

United Airlines Boeing 747 First Class Seat

United Airlines Boeing 747 First Class Cabin

United Airlines Boeing 747 First Class Cabin

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Boarding seemed to take a long time, with the cabin crew frantically going around taking meal orders and begrudgingly offering pre-departure beverages. I ordered some champagne, which was served in a plastic cup and not very cold. I was shocked to hear my selection of chicken wouldn’t be available (I was the last person before the pilots that were asked, since United takes orders based on status, even in first class). After a bit of haggling with the cabin crew they offered to get one more chicken meal from business class – apparently it was the same dish.

After takeoff meal service began quickly and was quite efficient. Lunch started with an amuse-bouche and champagne (almost cold, and served in a glass this time).

United Airlines Boeing 747 First Class Amuse-Bouche

United Airlines Boeing 747 First Class Amuse-Bouche

Next came a chilled appetizer consisting of smoked duck and farro salad, along with a selection of warm bread.

Chilled Appetizer

Chilled Appetizer – Smoked Duck And Farro Salad

My main was roasted chicken with garlic polenta and roasted vegetables. It was…. fine, though definitely not memorable.

Grilled Chicken With Garlic Polenta And Roasted Vegetables

Grilled Chicken With Garlic Polenta And Roasted Vegetables

There was also a soup course, which I’m pretty sure is all that differentiates the first class catering from business class. I finished the meal with the legendary United Airlines sundae, which was served in a paper cup…

United Airlines Boeing 747 First Class Sundae

United Airlines Boeing 747 First Class Sundae

The flight crew were fairly eager to close the window shades and offer turndown service once the meal service concluded, presumably so we would sleep and stop bothering them. United has some of the best bedding in the sky by Saks Fifth Avenue, and this first class seat transformed into a fully flat bed with plenty of room to stretch out and get comfortable.

United Airlines Boeing 747 First Class Saks Fifth Avenue Bedding

United Airlines Boeing 747 First Class Saks Fifth Avenue Bedding

United Airline Boeing 747 First Class Bed

United Airlines Boeing 747 First Class Bed

I slept for a good part of the flight, and woke up just in time for breakfast before our decent into Frankfurt.

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United Airlines Boeing 747 First Class Bottom Line

While certainly not groundbreaking, first class on the United Airlines Boeing 747 was enjoyable and exceeded my expectations. Though the crew were somewhat frantic during boarding, they actually warmed up throughout the flight and I had a good conversation with one of them about travel. Also, the first class seat is really comfortable, and the bedding is some of the best in the sky.

This aircraft has recently been retired, but first class can still be found on a select number of Boeing 777 and 767 aircraft, before it’s eventually phased out and replaced by the new Polaris Business Class, which I recently flew from San Francisco to Tokyo.

While it would be hard to recommend United over some other world-class airlines, such as ANA first class or Asiana first class, I did enjoy this flight and am happy to have flown the Queen before she was retired from the fleet this November.

Have you flown United first class? Tell us about your experience in the comment section below!

American Express Platinum Canada

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  • Earn 50,000 bonus points when you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months.

  • Get a $200 travel credit & airport lounge access worldwide.
  • $699 annual fee.

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About the Author:

Champagne taste on a beer budget has always been reminiscent of Tyler’s travel style. Raised in British Columbia, Tyler has an unquenchable thirst for more adventure, which is fueled by leveraging airline and hotel loyalty programs to travel the world in luxury and style. Want to learn how you can travel the world on points, like Tyler? Sign up for an American Express Platinum card and get 50,000 bonus points and a $200 travel credit towards your next dream vacation. (Offer subject to approval and when you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months).

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