Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > Europe
Reload this Page >

Business Class on United--Tips for a business class virgin

Business Class on United--Tips for a business class virgin

Old Jan 23rd, 2006, 06:59 PM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 395
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Business Class on United--Tips for a business class virgin

So my two children (ages 6 & 2) are flying direct from LAX to LHR in 12 days. Though I've flown to Europe several times, including some with kids, this will be my first time battling the long-haul ALONE with my kids. As you can imagine I'm a little worried about the flight. Gratefully we are flying business class (thanks to my husband's firm). I have never once flown business. Can anyone tell me what I might expect (amenities, seats, etc.), especially business class on United. (We have three seats together in the middle.) I've got a good game plan for the kids, which includes new toys, comfort food, a portable DVD player and benadryl (to name just a few), but I would love to know what people's experiences have been on United in BC. Thanks!
samtraveler is offline  
Old Jan 23rd, 2006, 10:13 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 7
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
First, be prepared for possible glares from other BC passengers: children in BC are not "welcome." I've traveled extensively on United BC and know this for a fact! It sounds as if you are very prepared to keep your kids occupied and that is good: dvd player + several of their favorite movies, toys, etc. are all fine, the more variety, the better. Most likely they'll sleep some. United's BC is very comfortable, not a lot of amenities for kids so bring their own slippers, order special meals in advance, a favorite cuddle toy or "blankie." Maybe even consider a full-size pillow instead of their having to use the mini-pillows provided. You might want to check out the seats you have on seatguru.com - some seats are more equal than others! You wouldn't want to get seats that didn't recline as much as others. We have always been happy with United's BC, whether to Asia or Europe. My preference is the first BC cabin just behind First Class. Try to get the bulkhead seats, which are usually reserved for people with kids. This assures that there is nobody in front of you for the kids to inadvertently annoy! Good luck and have a nice flight. Once you fly BC it'll be hard to go back to coach.
traveluster is offline  
Old Jan 24th, 2006, 01:23 AM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 6,260
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I totally disagree with one thing which Traveluster told you and thst is that "children in BC are not 'welcome'" because IMO well-behaved children are just as 'welcome' as anyone else.

Also, there is no reason for you to get bulkhead seats so your children won't 'inadvertently annoy' others because if you have control of your well-behaved children they won't be doing anything annoying inadvertently or otherwise.
Intrepid1 is offline  
Old Jan 24th, 2006, 04:40 AM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 3,222
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
To answer your questions about seating and amenities, here is a picture of the BC seat:

http://www.united.com/page/article/0,6722,1935,00.html

It's not flat, but it does recline pretty far and I find it to be comfortable for sleeping.

Amenities:
-Separate check-in line
-Access to the Red Carpet Club
-Priority boarding
-Amenity kit (socks, lotion, toothbrush, eyeshade, earplugs, etc)
-Individual video screen with about nine entertainment channels (no video on demand)
-Fast-track immigration in London (at certain times, this can make a big difference)
-Food quality can vary; not as good as it used to be, but much better than you'll get in economy

United's business class product is not one of the newer ones and on my last trip I thought the seats were showing their age a bit (UA is promising an overhaul once it emerges from bankruptcy), but I've always found it to be fairly comfortable. If your frame of reference is economy, you probably won't have many complaints.
ms_go is online now  
Old Jan 24th, 2006, 05:18 AM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 6,282
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Please watch out for your children kicking the seats in front. IMO this is the main reason many people are not happy about sitting near children.
caroline_edinburgh is offline  
Old Jan 24th, 2006, 05:23 AM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 696
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I hve to agree on the looks you'll probably get with the two kids. I've gotten-and given them.
Figure out when sleep time is for your kids and try to stick with it. If your two year old needs to be walked around, walk the whole length of the plane.
Ask for help if needed. In my experience many flight attendants spend less time check with parents than with other passengers. Ask!
Finally, do explain to your kids that you'll be in the quiet section of the plane.
highledge is offline  
Old Jan 24th, 2006, 05:46 AM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,098
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
How do your kids react to phenobarbital?
RufusTFirefly is offline  
Old Jan 25th, 2006, 05:02 PM
  #8  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 395
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
ms_go, thanks for the run-down on amenities to expect, much appreciated.

Seatguru is great. I did use this site to book our tickets. Thanks!

I do appreciate the reality check on traveling in BC with kids. I trust the honest reflections on how other BCers might receive my two children riding in their precious BC is accurate. Duly noted. However regardless of whether or not it's true, I think it's a bit ridiculous. I wouldn't allow my children to kick the seat in front of them in economy any more or less than in BC. Give me a break! That just seems so snobby to me. My kids are usually very well-behaved, but nobody can expect perfection on such a long flight. And as far as I'm concerned any paying customer (even if it is your firm who is footing the bill!) is welcome in BC--I'm sure United would agree. Maybe I should bring lots of extra benadryl to offer fellow BCers who find my children offensive.
samtraveler is offline  
Old Jan 25th, 2006, 06:01 PM
  #9  
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 474
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Drugs all around!!
vedette is offline  
Old Jan 25th, 2006, 09:33 PM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 23,911
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Most people in business class need to work while flying. That's one reason why disturbances from children are annoying. I realize that no one can expect perfection on a long flight, but parents need to do their best to keep the little ones occupied and quiet--especially when other passengers are trying to sleep. I hope it all works out well for you.
Underhill is online now  
Old Jan 25th, 2006, 10:37 PM
  #11  
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 2,598
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Hi Samtraveler,

I've never flown United but have flown Air France business class to Europe the past few years and really didn't notice a lot of passengers "working" during the night flight. In fact, most of them put their sleep masks on after dinner and went to sleep. Others were watching their video screens (with headphones).
I've also flown coach to Europe and have seen families traveling with young children but do not recall any disturbance whatsoever.
It sounds as if you have a good plan to keep the children occupied and, of course, they'll sleep. I certainly hope some of the answers you've received are exaggerated. I hope there is no one churlish enough to "glare" at a woman with her childredn. You and your children have as much right to fly BC as anyone else.

The only thing that I wonder about is whether you might be better off with seats on the side rather than the middle, so the six-year-old could have a window.

Maybe you'll get lucky and sit near someone like Intrepid1 who believes that children are as welcome as anyone else.

Stop worrying and have a good trip.

Luisa
Luisah is offline  
Old Jan 26th, 2006, 06:11 AM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 4,173
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
samtraveler, there may be the odd business class passenger who would prefer not to sit near children, but as someone who logs a lot of miles sitting up front, my experience tells me that there are many who don't mind at all.

Sadly, age and workload aren't guarantees of good behaviour. Some of the most inconsiderate--if not boorish--passengers are adults, especially those who carry on loud and tedious converstaions across aisles or who are rude to the cabin staff.

Go with confidence. Safe travels.

Anselm
AnselmAdorne is online now  
Old Jan 26th, 2006, 07:16 AM
  #13  
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 460
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
There are many business class passenger who would prefer not to sit near children and a few who don't mind. Mostly people don't like loud talk, crying, objects being thrown, having there seats kicked, and running in the aisles. Prevent that from happening and you will not get hostile or disgusted looks.
Cato is offline  
Old Jan 26th, 2006, 10:46 AM
  #14  
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 6,282
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Cato has it spot on.

Sorry samtraveler, I should have added before that I realise that children are just as likely to kick the seats in any class & it is just as annoying. Sadly, in my experience, most children do kick the seat & most parents don't do anything about it.
caroline_edinburgh is offline  
Old Jan 27th, 2006, 04:58 PM
  #15  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 395
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Yes a window would be nice! Unfortunately BC on this flight is 2/3/2, so the only way we would be seated together is in the middle section sans window. Being seating together, w/o the separation of an aisle, is way more important than a window. And this way nobody else will be seated right next to us.

Kicking seats IS the most annoying thing on a flight--and you're right that many parents let this go unchecked. My children will not be doing any seat-kicking that is for certain!

Should I receive glares, well that's their problem I suppose! Thanks for all the encouragement. Keep your fingers crossed!
samtraveler is offline  
Old Jan 27th, 2006, 05:10 PM
  #16  
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 23,911
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Sitting in the section with 3 seats will give you two on the aisle--very useful when someone needs to get to the bathroom in a hurry!

Have you checked out the meals that United offers for children? The six-year-old might enjoy some of those.
Underhill is online now  
Old Jan 27th, 2006, 05:55 PM
  #17  
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 1,834
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
We flew business class to Europe with our kids who were 6 and 8. They did just fine. The biggest "issue" was getting them off the plane when we landed because they were sound asleep. I suggest you gate check a stroller for the 2 year old (the umbrella kind would be fine) so you can put the 2 year old in the stroller and you will only have to deal with the sleepy 6 year old until you can meet up with your husband in the airport.

We did get plenty of dirty looks during boarding, mostly from people who couldn't believe that we could afford 4 business class seats (or even if we could afford it, that we would spend such money on our children). Several (all Europeans) were curious enough to ask us finally as we got off the flight what we did for a living and how we could afford such extravagant travel. When you get stares, just think to yourself that these people are just jealous that they probably didn't fly business class until they were adults.

As for people working on a plane, most people I see with laptops are playing solitare or watching DVDs. I see few people who are actually working, particularly on the night flight to Europe.

Regarding kids kicking the back of the seat, very few kids do it intentionally. Until they are about 9 or 10 years old, their legs don't reach the floor of the plane. Imagine having your legs dangle for an entire flight. Those little legs get restless. An adult's legs would too if the adult couldn't touch the floor.

To the OP- please don't worry. Just remember, you'll will likely never see the other passengers again. Also, most of the other business class passengers haven't paid for their flights. Their employers pay. You and your children have just as much of a right to be there as they do.
padams421 is offline  
Old Jan 27th, 2006, 06:27 PM
  #18  
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 3,222
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I'm not sure I can kick the back of the seat in front when seated in a United b/c seat - and I'm considerably taller than a six year old. I know that if I want to get into a bag that I've stowed under the seat in front, I have to unbuckle my seatbelt and actually get out of my seat to do so. Pitch is 55"; standard economy seat is 31".

It sounds like you're well prepared; your kids will be fine. Mine has been in b/c a few times with no issues. The worst thing that will probably happen is that your six year old will become spoiled by the experience and expect to do it again. I know I've created a monster - every time we fly, my daughter asks what cabin we're sitting in. Hasn't quite sunk in that this is a rare treat...
ms_go is online now  
Old Jan 27th, 2006, 06:36 PM
  #19  
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 1,151
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I am with MsGo, your kids' feet can't reach the seat in front of them. I've flown United Business plenty of times and never glared at people with children. I might glare at the children if I'm headed back to economy! Don't worry. Your kids have as much a right to be there as anyone else.
Catbert is offline  
Old Jan 27th, 2006, 08:47 PM
  #20  
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 23,911
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Sorry, but on my last 4 trips I had a seatmate who was glued to his computer from the time he boarded until the time he had to stow it for landing.
Underhill is online now  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Do Not Sell My Personal Information -