Route: Auckland - San Francisco
Airline: UA - United Airlines
Wifi : Available
Cabin Class: Premium Plus
Aircraft Type: Boeing 777-300 ER
Flight #: UA 916
With one of the most comprehensive global networks and outstanding reach across the United States, flying United Airlines from Auckland to San Francisco, gives you great access to North America and beyond.
I flew United on their daily non-stop flight from Auckland to San Francisco which is operated on a Boeing 777-300 ER.
United Airlines departs from Auckland International daily at 3.30pm for San Francisco.
Priority check-in and checked baggage:
Business Class (Polaris) and Premium Plus passengers on United Airlines enjoy priority check-in privileges, with a checked baggage allowance of 2 bags up to 32kg each.
Carry-on baggage allowance:
Hand luggage cannot exceed 22cm x 35cm x 56cm including handles and wheels.
Frequent Flyer Programme:
Mileage Plus and Star Alliance member.
United and Air New Zealand have a frequent flyer loyalty agreement as members of the Star Alliance. MileagePlus and Airpoints members have reciprocal benefits to earn and redeem on both airlines. Lounge access for United customers is provided by Air New Zealand’s International Lounge at Auckland Airport.
In San Francisco, premium travellers can access the Polaris Lounge at SFO.
With an on time departure on a cloudy day out of Auckland, at 3.30pm, the flight had a turbulent climb before settling at 37,000 feet, for a smooth cruise across the mighty Pacific. Flight time to San Francisco averages a touch under 12 hours, touching down early morning at 6.40am.
With a favourable jet stream, my flight arrived ahead of schedule just before 6am.
Launched in March, I was seated in the Premium Plus part of the cabin, ensconced between Business in the Economy cabins. There are three rows in Premium Plus, arranged in a 2-4-2 configuration.
The seats are resolutely designed to be more comfortable than those in Economy, with expanded recline and more leg and elbow room. Seat pitch is 38″ (97 cm), Standard seat recline is 6″ (15 cm) and Seat width is 18.5.” (47cm)
You’re provided with Saks Fifth Avenue bedding (a pillow and soft, woollen blanket) and slippers, and an amenity kit with socks, eye mask, ear plugs, dental kit and Sunday Riley hand cream and lip balm.
United have deployed a thoughtful touch – all unused items in the amenity kits are given to people in need. My seat also was equipped with a power outlet, USB port and noise-cancelling headphones.
As a Premium Plus passenger, I was well fed and watered, with meals thoughtfully served with real cutlery and crockery. I tucked into a chicken breast for dinner, followed up with Hokey Pokey Ice-cream, while a great range of premium wines, beers and spirits were generously offered.
After clocking up 6 hours of Trans-Pacific zzzs’, I chomped down on a great turkey roll as an overnight snack, before enjoying a tasty cheese omelette for brekky, just prior to touchdown.
In Premium Plus, the high-definition in-flight entertainment touch screens are 13 inches wide. They lock into the seat back for takeoff and landing but can swivel out for better viewing at other times.
United’s feature-rich, seatback entertainment system is generously loaded with content options, from blockbuster movies to fabulous podcasts. United Private Screening also allows you to view the latest Hollywood hits, trending TV shows, music video playlists from VEVO and so much more on your own device.
On further flights in North America, I also enjoyed watching DIRECTV, grazing from a full slate of 100 channels, at 35,000 feet.
US-based airlines often get a bad rap, but all of my experiences flying United Airlines this year have been seamless, punctual, friendly and enjoyable.