Flying in Style with United BusinessFirst

Prior to my honeymoon, I had only flown in first class (or as United Airlines now calls it, BusinessFirst) when my husband and I were given free upgrades. Because of frequent flyer status this has happened twice- once on the way from Newark to Orlando (a 2.5 hour flight) and once on the way home from Montego Bay to Newark (a 4 hour flight).

Nothing makes you say “I don’t belong here” faster than not knowing how to answer the flight attendant’s offer for a glass of wine because you don’t know if you need to pay for it. I know, we are so classy. Truth is, we never minded sitting in coach for a few reasons. First of all, the flights were usually pretty short, with the longest one clocking in somewhere around eight hours between Newark and Paris. Most were shorter than five hours. Many we slept through anyway. Secondly, we consider ourselves fairly fuss-free travelers. Shorter than average so leg room wasn’t an issue, happy to snack on Pringles and m&ms rather than be served a meal, and content to curl up together against the window in lieu of a lay-flat seat and on-demand entertainment. Finally, paying for first class seemed so frivolous when we looked at it and realized how many other things we could put that money toward.

But this was our honeymoon. And our honeymoon should be special, right? Plus, the flights between Sydney and San Francisco were long. So very long. Maybe that lay-flat seat would be worth it after all? We opted for a compromise of sorts. After paying the full price for two round trip economy tickets, we took all of our hard earned frequent flyer miles to the bank so that we could upgrade to BusinessFirst. It was an automatic upgrade for the two long haul flights, but the two shorter legs between Newark and San Francisco would be decided by a waiting list. Luckily, by the time we were five months from the wedding both upgrades were confirmed.


Do you know which city we were flying over when we snapped this photo?

Usually, as I said before, I don’t mind the flying in coach experience. I busy myself with some music and a good book. I munch on snacks. I take some ZQuil and I fall asleep. But “not minding” something and “enjoying” something are very, very different. I enjoyed my flights in BusinessFirst more than I ever thought a person could enjoy flying. I had a screen the size of a real television all to myself, and I watched a total of 14 movies over the course of the flights. I could put my feet up, put my head back, or even lay flat and roll into the fetal position without interrupting anyone else’s space. I was served a salad, an entrée, a dessert, a snack, and a breakfast, all on the same flight. And the food, surprisingly, was delicious for the most part. For the first time ever, I didn’t want my flight to land. I wanted to stay curled up in my comfy seat, watching movies and cuddling under a blanket, waiting for the next round of food to be delivered onto my tray table with a big smile and a kind word.

Flying in BusinessFirst is probably something we won’t do again for a long time because of the price- at least until we earn some more miles to upgrade with. But was it worth it? Hell, yes.

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