United Airlines B737-900Back to Forum
Anonymous28 Jul 2014
The business class reservation was made online in December 2013 for the flight in June 2014 using united.com and is the return flight to UA1659 from a week earlier that has been previously reviewed.
I arrived at Cancun International Terminal 3 at 10.15am for the 12.20pm departure. I had tried to check-in 24 hours earlier using the online system but as I have a UK Passport and a temporary US work visa, the system always rejects me and tells me to see an Agent at the Airport. I did this and was quickly processed.
I then went upstairs to the Security Area. There is no priority security lane at this so it took about 20 minutes to complete the formalities which included removing all laptops, kindles etc. as well as shoes and belts.
Despite the fact that United has numerous flights every day departing Cancun, there are no Lounge facilities for United passengers. I therefore used my Priority Pass card and visited the Mera Business Lounge. There is self-service tea, coffee, water and soft drinks, and a bar service offering alcohol and snacks. As the airport was very busy on this Saturday morning the option of the sanctuary of a Lounge is a welcome distraction waiting for the flight to board. It was clean and there were several TV screens showing different sports.
No announcements are made in the Lounge but there are several screens in order to check on the flight. Once the ‘Go to Gate’ message was displayed, I made my way to the Gate which was about 5 minutes away.
United board their passengers by 'groups' and at Chicago they have separate lanes for each group. This does seem a very efficient way of boarding rather than a scrum via seat number. As we were travelling in Business, we were in Group 1 and commenced boarding and took our seats, 2E and 2F. The crew apologised that they could not serve any pre-flight drinks as they were still restocking the aircraft.
The United 737-900 Business Class has 5 rows and is configured 2-2. There are 31 rows of Economy seating in a 3-3 layout, though the first 9 rows are classed as Economy Plus. These seats offer a few more inches of legroom but nothing else. They are available to purchase at a supplement but are complimentary to members of the United loyalty programme depending on status.
Row 1 is preferable if you want to be first off the plane and there is nobody reclining into your space. However, there is less legroom and all carry-on items need to be stowed. Personally, I refer Row 2 due to the extra space to stretch my legs and the reclining seat in front is not a problem due to the space between the seats.
Be careful if you select the back row of Business Class as seats 5A and 5B have a lavatory behind it for the use of Economy passengers.
We pushed back on time and within a few minutes we were airborne.
Forty-five minutes went by before the Captain switched off the seat belt sign and only then did the flight crew begin to move around the cabin. It therefore took a further 25 minutes before we were asked what we would like for a pre-lunch drink and also what we would like to select for lunch. The choice of lunch was between a Chicken Pie and a Shrimp Salad. Both were served with tomato soup.
Hot towels were handed out and then the pre-lunch drinks were served with warm nuts. By this time, we had been in the air for 75 minutes so they were very welcome. On the positive side, they regularly came through the cabin serving the wine.
Warm rolls were served with lunch and after the crockery etc. was collected, warm cookies were served. The entire lunch was very tasty, especially the chicken pie.
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We arrived 20 minutes ahead of schedule and quickly disembarked though as we had arrived at Gate 1 in Terminal 5, we had a long walk to reach immigration. We queued for about 20 minutes before we were able to clear Immigration by which time our luggage had already arrived. As the flight had arrived early, we were really pleased to be able to exit the airport so quickly.
In summary, another very comfortable flight but the usual criticism with United applied. They were in no rush to start the service on the flight but once they did it was very good. Arriving early was another plus, along with the very comfortable business class seat.28 Jul 2014