Airline Review - Spotlight On United Airlines

10 September 2015
Read Time: 4.7 mins

Easily one of the oldest carriers on the block, United Airlines currently services the most destinations out of any airline in the world, flying to 375 places with 712 aircraft. It is the only US airline that flies to Oslo, Hamburg and Berlin.

With more than 80 years in the sky, United has plenty of experience providing comfortable and efficient flights. Multiple cabin classes allow passengers to tailor their journey, including the choice of first-class seating on all domestic and international legs.

 United Airlines flies to 375 destinations around the world (Image: United Airlines)

Cabin Classes

Economy & Economy Plus

United's more modern Boeing Triple 7 aircraft brings enhanced passenger amenities and comfort, featuring seats with four-way adjustable headrests and a personal seat-back video screen for on-demand entertainment.

While Economy Class seats can be a bit tight when it comes to leg room, Economy Plus offers up to 12 centimetres of additional space. Economy Plus is available for an additional charge. For United Mileage Plus Premier, Platinum, Gold and Silver members, Economy Plus may be booked in advance at no extra charge.

Entertainment: Entertainment choices include up to 150 movies, almost 200 TV shows, many interactive games as well as a huge collection of music. Headphones are supplied at each seat and entertainment may be started, stopped and paused.

Food and Beverage: Travellers flying in Economy Class on long-haul flights are treated to complimentary meal and beverage services with in-flight snacks served mid-flight.

 Enjoy additional leg room in Economy Plus (Image: United Airlines)

Business First

United’s Business First offers an exclusive cabin and a long list of features and amenities. The comfortable seats transform into a fully lie-flat bed and are accompanied with a soft duvet and fluffy pillow.

Another bonus is the amenity kit, which is filled with premium skincare products and other travel necessities. The special treatment extends to airport services with a dedicated check-in line, priority boarding and deplaning, as well as access to the United Club or Star Alliance member lounges.

Entertainment: Each seat comes equipped with a large TV monitor for on-demand entertainment with over a hundred hours of movies, shows and music. Noise-cancelling headphones offer superior sound quality and are available at each seat.  Laptop power and USB ports also allow continuous use of personal electronic devices.

Food and Beverage: The pampering begins the moment you step on board. Enjoy a pre-departure drink as you get settled in for the flight. Menus include selections of international and local dishes, along with premium beers, fine wines and liquor. Dessert items include fresh fruit, cheese plates, liqueurs and signature desserts. Mid-flight snacks and a light meal before landing are also served.

 Large televisions and lie-flat beds are two highlights of Business First (Image: United Airlines)

Global First

Available on flights between Australia and the U.S., Global First on United’s Boeing Triple 7 aircraft is an intimate cabin featuring only eight seats. The advanced seat turns into a generously long lie-flat bed and is equipped with lumbar support and back stimulation features.

A thick duvet and comfortable pillow are available with turn-down service when you’re ready for a restful sleep.

Global First guests enjoy perks on the ground too from Premier access check-in, priority security lanes where available as well as priority boarding, deplaning and baggage. Complete lounge access is also available in United’s Global First Lounge, United Club and Star Alliance member lounges and United Arrivals Lounges.

Entertainment: On-demand programming is available on a large 15-inch screen, while noise-cancelling headsets enhance the listening pleasure. Over 150 hours of programming is available and includes everything from movies, shows and games to a huge music collection. There is also a laptop power point and USB port allowing passengers continued access to their own entertainment collection.

Food and Beverage: Enjoy a pre-departure beverage service, hot towels and a full menu consisting of a choice of starters, mains, desserts and snacks all individually prepared and individually served. There is also a wide variety of drinks including juices, sodas, premium beers, international wines, spirits and liqueurs.

 Global First provides a high level of comfort and intimacy while flying (Image: United Airlines)

United Airlines Baggage Allowance


Travellers are allowed one piece of hand luggage and one personal item such as a shoulder bag, laptop bag or similar. Coats, a diaper bag and reading materials are also allowed.

Liquids, gels and aerosols must be in containers no greater than 100ml or 3.4 ounces and packed in a clear, sealable bag.

Carry On Baggage


The baggage allowance is determined by the class ticketed, routing and frequent flyer status. Standard allowances are as follows:

  • Economy and Economy Plus - One bag up to 23 kilograms in weight
  • Business First - Two bags up to 32 kilograms each
  • Global First - Two bags up to 32 kilograms each

United Premier Gold, Platinum and 1K frequent flyer members are allowed an additional bag at no charge in the corresponding class of travel.

Checked Baggage

Bulky items

Many bulky items such as surfboards, bicycles and other sporting equipment are charged an additional fee due to size and weight. However, there are items that can be checked in lieu of a checked bag. Your Flight Centre Travel Expert will be able to advise on specific items at time of booking.

Bulky Items

Infant baggage

A diaper bag and approved car seat may be carried in the cabin in addition to the standard carry-on allowance. Additionally, one stroller or pram or one car seat may be checked for free.

If infants are travelling on a fare that is 10 per cent of an adult fare, the infant will receive a baggage allowance of one car seat, one stroller or pram and one additional bag not exceeding 23 kilograms with linear dimensions no greater than 157 centimetres.

A car seat or child seat must be certified for use in aircraft and motor vehicles.

Restricted or dangerous goods

Hazardous items and dangerous materials such as flammable liquids, gases and solids, explosives, corrosives, poisons, paints and other items are never permitted in checked luggage or carry-on baggage. For a complete list of goods that are prohibited from travelling, consult with your Flight Centre travel expert.

Some lithium batteries such as those used for wheelchair use may be permitted in the cabin but must be declared.



Online check-in is fast and simple. Passengers may check in for their flight starting 24 hours before departure. Boarding passes may be printed or sent to a personal mobile device where they can be saved.

Online check-in is available from the US and most international destinations. For online check-in, the first flight of the itinerary must be on a United operated flight and the booking must contain four or less segments with less than nine people.


Airport kiosks are available in US airports and many international airports. Kiosks allow passengers to print boarding passes, change seats and declare baggage amounts. Once checked in, simply proceed to the bag drop off counter where passports and documentation are checked.


Airport check-in counters in Australia are open for specified time periods, usually from three to four hours before flight departure. Counters at major US airports are open throughout the day. Dedicated lines for Business, First and Mileage Plus Gold, Platinum and 1K are available.

International check-in guide

At home

  • Know what time you need to leave the house to get to the airport
  • Pack your things, check out our baggage guide
  • Have your flight itinerary ready
  • Ensure you have your valid passport ready

Getting there

  • Be at the airport at least 120 minutes prior to scheduled departure time

At the airport

  • Proceed to check-in counter with passport and itinerary ready
  • Go through security
  • Continue through customs
  • Check the gate number and flight status
  • Sit down and get comfy!

United Club Lounge

There are numerous United Club lounges located throughout the world in addition to hundreds of Star Alliance lounges. United First and Business passengers as well as Mileage Plus Gold, Platinum and 1K members departing from Australia have use of Star Alliance member Air New Zealand lounges.

 A United Club lounge is a great spot to chill out before your flight (Image: United Airlines)

Mileage Plus Loyalty Program

The United Airlines Mileage Plus program rewards passengers who fly on United, United Express, Star Alliance and other partner airlines. Points can also be earned for car hire, hotel stays and more. Points may be used for rewards including flights, upgrades, lounge access or membership, hotel stays and car rentals.

Visit your local Flight Centre store or call 131 600 for more advice and the latest deals.

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