My original routing had me flying home from Shanghai via Beijing (flying an Air China A350-900 in Premium Economy) and San Francisco (on a United 777-300 in Polaris Business) on the way to Chicago (on a United 757-300 in domestic First class). The day before I was leaving, I saw that United was flying one of their newly reconfigured 777-200’s on the Beijing-Chicago nonstop which would get me home 9 hours earlier so a quick call to customer service and I was changed to the Beijing-Chicago nonstop. Unfortunately, that meant I would have to catch an earlier flight from Shanghai to Beijing which meant no A350 or Premium Economy for me. I settled for a $96 one-way flight on a China Eastern A321 but hey, I was getting an actual Polaris seat on the trans-Pacific flight without having to stop in SFO and I was getting home 9 hours earlier. Definitely a win-win! I will include links to the written and video reports for my United flights from Chicago-San Francisco (domestic first 757-300)and San Francisco-Beijing (Polaris 777-300) as well as my Air China flight from Beijing to Shanghai and my China Eastern flight from Shanghai to Beijing. I will also include links to my Shanghai destination reports as well. Happy reading!!
Aviation Geek Details:
- Airline and flight number: United flight UA850
- Route: Beijing-Chicago (O’Hare)
- Aircraft: Boeing 777-200ER
- Airplane (registration and year built): N796UA built in 1998.
- Miles flown: 6,571 miles
- Flight duration: 12 hours and 11 minutes
- Class of service and seat: Polaris Business Class, seat 3A
- My 693rd flight overall
- 245th flight on United Airlines/United Express
- 67th flight on a Boeing 777-200 and 83rd flight on a 777 series aircraft
- Flight Routing:
You can checkout the full flight report including pushback, taxi and take-off right here. A link for this flight video and all the other videos for this trip will be included at the end as well.
You can checkout the entire flight video including landing here.
- Experience/Total stars: 4.5 of 5 stars. Well done UA!
- Check-in: 4/5- Checkin was quick and courteous.
- Lounge: N/A-Didn’t visit the lounge on this leg.
- Boarding: 5 out of 5- Polaris customer were given priority and the process was organized.
- Seat: 4.5 out of 5- The new Polaris seats are a huge improvement over all of United’s prior Business class seats and I love the all aisle access. The only improvement I would suggest would be a bit more in-seat storage space and moving the location of the seat control because maybe I just have a fat as* but I kept hitting the controls unintentionally when I moved in my seat.
- In-Flight Entertainment: 4 out of 5- The selection is good but after a few long United flights in close succession, my options started to feel a bit limited.
- Meals: 4 of 5- The quantity and quality were good though the menu was not very original.
- Cabin Crew: 5 of 5- United crews can be hit or miss. The crew on my SFO-Beijing flight was a miss but this crew was a definite hit!
- Cabin ambiance: 4 of 5- The Polaris seats definitely improve the appearance and feel of the cabin but I think United should have finished the job and added the signature mood lighting. Feels kind of half-assed and cheap that they didn’t
- Cabin cleanliness: 5 of 5- United long-haul cabins always start off clean but as the flight progresses they usually get worse and worse. This crew thankfully kept the cabin and bathrooms nice and tidy.
- Price paid and value for money: 5 of 5- I got a pretty good deal, Chicago-Beijing roundtrip in actual Polaris for about three grand, can’t complain!
- Thumbs up: Newly reconfigured plane, departed and arrive early, nice crew, good meals and above all a comfortable sleep.
- Thumbs down: None really, it was an all around good flight!
Come explore Shanghai with me:
My United Airlines Chicago-San Franciso flight (Boeing 757-300, First Class):
My United Airlines San Francisco-Beijing Boeing 777-300 Polaris flight:
My Air China Beijing-Shanghai B787-9 Economy class flight:
My China Eastern Airbus A321 Shanghai-Beijing Economy class flight: