Review: United BusinessFirst Milan-Newark

Review: United BusinessFirst Milan-Newark

Since we were staying right across from the Milan Airport Terminal, we arrived the airport only about 90 minutes before departure. There really wasn’t any point in going to the lounge if you can just sleep in your hotel room.

Introduction: Living the Italian Dream
United Club Terminal E – Houston
United Airlines BusinessFirst MAF-IAH-PIT(DIVERSION)-EWR-FRA
Lufthansa Senator Lounge Frankfurt Airport
Villa La Perla Di Sonenga Panoramica, Menaggio, Italy
Focal Point: The Town of St. Moritz, Switzerland
Great Drives: The High Mt Passes to Switzerland
The Park Hyatt Milan
Focal Point: The Towns of Lake Como
Radisson Blu Rome
Focal Point: The Landmarks of Rome
Crowne Plaza Milan City Centre
Sheraton Milan-Malpensa
United Airlines BusinessFirst Milan (MXP) – Newark (EWR)

The only caveat to our decision to arrive late was that I still had to collect my tax refund for all the clothes I bought in Milan (United had lost my bag). This involved quite a bit of extra time because the forms need to be stamped first at customs before approaching a refund service (eg. Travel Blue). Lines at both were no less than 20 minutes long and I only realized how slow they were moving after I had my customs forms stamped. Everything that happened after was an absolute blur. I still don’t know how I was able to get a refund, go through security, and be the last one to board the aircraft.

Lesson learned: it’s always a good idea to arrive at the airport extra early for VAT refunds.

Anyway, the United’s service between Milan and Newark is operated by a Boeing 767-300ER, which is configured 2-1-2 in business class. By the time I made it on board (including my family), everyone had already settled into their seats and so I didn’t have time to take a picture of the cabin. I did however fly the same aircraft more recently so here are two pictures (The Saks 5th Ave bedding wasn’t in place back in 2015):

We began our push back within two minutes of my sitting down, and were airborne soon after. Today’s flight was clocked at 8 hours and 30 minutes and within 15 minutes of leaving Malpensa we were greeted with these views of Mt. Blanc and the Alps:

a high angle view of snow covered mountains
Mt. Blanc(the tallest mountain in Europe) and the Graian Alps
a high angle view of snow covered mountains
The Alps

About 90 minutes into the flight, lunch meal service began and it started off with the usual warm nuts with Diet Coke, and ended with the highlight of the meal: the ice cream sundae with lots of toppings. The main course and appetizer parts of the meal were extremely below average for United, and was very similar to the experiences I’ve reported here. It was interesting to see the appetizer plate look like the FA had piled veggies on a plate at a salad bar. 🙂

I slept through most of the flight after meal service ended. the  I skipped out on the meal service before landing because food tends to be mediocre during that course anyway. And before I knew it, we were landing in Newark. This was an end to a completely average flight on United with not so great food. Service was unmemorable and definitely not worth mentioning.

Bottom Line:

United provides a comfortable flat bed experience in BusinessFirst with decent entertainment and an average meal service. I can’t really complain about the experience given that I paid $1400 RT for this ticket, but if I were paying a hefty sum, I would prefer AA’s business class seat on any given day. I’m keeping my fingers crossed on Polaris being a huge improvement on this product. So far it hasn’t been because of the temporary elimination of ice cream sundaes. And the only reason I gave this flight an average rating might have been the ice cream sundae and the views of Mont Blanc of course 🙂

Where would you rank the current United BusinessFirst product? What about the meal service?





  1. John

    I’m confused. United did away with BusinessFirst in December 2016, replacing it with Polaris business. While none of the 767 aircraft have the new seats, the soft product is marketed as Polaris.

        1. Teja

          If you read I mention that “everyone had already settled into their seats and so I didn’t have time to take a picture of the cabin. I did however fly the same aircraft more recently so here are two pictures:”. Sorry for the confusion.

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