Trip Report: United Airlines first class San Francisco to San Diego

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01. Introduction
02. United Club San Diego
03. United Airlines first class San Diego to San Francisco
04. United Club San Francisco
05. ANA business class San Francisco to Tokyo
06. ANA arrivals lounge Tokyo
07. ANA economy class Tokyo to Hiroshima
08. ANA economy class Hiroshima to Tokyo
09. ANA business lounge Tokyo Narita
10. ANA business class Tokyo to San Francisco
11. United Airlines first class San Francisco to San Diego

UA 1453
San Francisco, CA (SFO) – San Diego, CA (SAN)
Friday September 27 2013
Aircraft: Boeing 737-800
Seat: 1B (First)

N17233 737-800

United Airlines N17233 737-800 illustration

There’s such an amazing difference between international business class on an Asian airline and domestic first class on a US airline – and not in a good way. Whenever I return to the US from Japan, I always tend to feel a bit of culture shock even though this is my home country (and I love it dearly). You see, Japan has an incredibly good service culture – so good, in fact, that you’ll get white-glove service from taxi drivers and gas station attendants. That’s no joke. Unfortunately, customer service is embarrassingly bad in most places here in the US. It seems we’ve lost the concept of being courteous and being polite, which comes down to a massive lack of respect for others. Japan and the US are miles apart in this regard.

Anyway, that leads me to the last segment of this trip: SFO-SAN in domestic first class on United Airlines. I don’t have much to say about this flight other than it was a rude awakening to both my wife and I that were were indeed back in the United States.

For nearly the entire flight, the lead flight attendant (a woman who appeared to be in her late 40’s) sat in the galley loudly describing to other flight attendants her plans of retiring and quitting the business for good. My wife and I were seated in 1A and B, and it became really annoying after a while to listen to her loud voice echo through the cabin. She wasn’t talking about anything rude or obscene, but it was really annoying to listen to her non-stop talking. A total lack of respect for others.

I know that it’s not realistic to expect much in domestic first class, but the experience is greatly soured by employees who just don’t care anymore. Luckily, our SAN-SFO flight a week prior had a much better (and more enthusiastic) crew.