Rear View: United’s rear facing Business seats
Earlier this week, I had the opportunity to fly in a United 767-300, International Configuration. It was a short domestic flight, but it was serviced by a 3-class International Configuration aircraft. The final destination after the domestic hop, I understand, was Zurich. I have travelled in large United twin-aisle planes domestically before. But they have always been 777s, with the old configuration or domestic 2-class 767s. This was a first for me. Another first for me was sitting in a rear facing seat. I have been in International Business class on other airlines before, including lie-flat seats, like the one United had on this 767. But, rear facing seats were a new experience for me.
The International Business Class seats on United’s fleet are a part of their ‘Dream Suites‘ offering. I think they are truly world class. They have ample width and pitch. Have great, comfortable seat cushions. Come with a nice, good sized pillow and most importantly, go 180 degree flat. Absolutely fabulous. I was sorry that my flight was so short. I could have slept all thru the night on it. Right now these seats are available on United’s 747 and 767 aircraft. They have just started outfitting their 777s with them. Only the International configuration, 3-class 767 and 777 have these seats. I hope they finish the 777s soon. I tend to fly more on them than the 767s. I would have loved to have this seat on my round trip last year from Washington Dulles (IAD) to Dubai (DXB). Those 12 plus hours would have been much more easier to pass.
The In-flight Entertainment (IFE) system was great too. Screens were 15.4 inches. Multiple channels with Movies, TV, Documentaries, Music, Audio books and games. There was even a jack to hook up your iPod/iPhone and display your video from there. The seats also had 110V standard electric sockets. No need for the EmPower adapter to power your laptop or mobile device. There were noise reduction headphones for each seat. Not as good as my Sony’s, but decent. I was torn between watching a movie or taking a nap on the flat bed. I chose to experience the bed.
The rear facing seats were different at first. I have heard other people complain that they felt sick during take-off. I had no issues. Actually got a very different and almost exhilarating view of the ground moving away from us as the plane took off. I took a picture of the take off view from the window, that I am posting here. I thought it was great to see the ground below rather than the sky while taking off. We did have the magazines fly out of the holding bin between the two seats. We realized that they had to be secured before take off. Every alternate row of the business class cabin were rear facing seats. I am glad I could pick one.
Worth the upgrade. This one was a complimentary upgrade for me, as a 1K Elite. But if I was flying international on an eight hour plus trip, I would gladly pay to upgrade (cash, miles or instrument) for this seat. I always doubted the value of paying to upgrade to a ‘regular’ business class seat. They do not go flat and sleeping is still a pain in the neck – literally. These seats are worth the price for the comfort.
Next time I want to try out the First Class Suites.