What’s the first thing that pops into your head when you think of United A319 first class? Is it ugly brown seats that look (and smell) at least 20 years old? Or, perhaps maybe it’s tiny video screens that flicker on and off completely at random for the entire duration of the flight?
Shockingly enough, you’d be wrong. Although you totally nailed the part about the seats, there aren’t any video screens in first class on the United Airlines A319. Not yet anyway – United promises that they are coming, but it’s going to be a few years until we see them. At least.
Anyway, this is a first class product that is getting on in years, and it’s not exactly something I’d recommend trying. That didn’t stop me from going out of my way to try it though. I’m a glutton for punishment I guess.
San Francisco, CA – San Diego, CA (SAN)
Friday, January 21, 2022
Duration: 1 hour 31 minutes
Seat: 3A (United First)
Table of Contents
My full review of United A319 first class from San Francisco to San Diego
Talk about going from one extreme to the other. After arriving into San Francisco in American Airlines Flagship Business Class, my connection flight home to San Diego was in United A319 first class.
Only because I’ve never tried it before, and I thought that it might be neat to do a review of it. It’s not like I booked the flight because I knew it would be luxurious or anything. I was just curious, that’s all.
What terminal does United Airlines use at SFO?
United airlines occupies Terminal 3 at the San Francisco International Airport. Within that terminal, there are three individual concourses (E, F, and G). The nice thing about flying United out of SFO is that you’ll have full access to the international gates in Concourse G. Which, if I’m being honest, it’s a much nicer place to hang out between flights than concourses E or F.
The boarding process for flight number 353 to San Diego
Flights between San Francisco and San Diego are always full, and hovering around the gate area about 20 minutes before departure, it was obvious that this flight was going to be no different.
It was standing room only, which kind of made me feel a little better knowing that I’d have a big seat up in first class (with some extra room to stretch out). For the record, United officially refers to their domestic first class product as “United First.”
My first impressions of United A319 first class
The nice thing about walking onto an airplane with extremely low expectations is that you’re unlikely to be completely disappointed.
United Airlines domestic first class has never excited me, so before even stepping foot through the boarding door, I already knew that this was going to be a lackluster experience (at best). And I could already sense the brown fake leather seats and the lack of video screens. Expecting something as plush as United 787-8 business class would be irresponsible!
It's often cheaper to pay for a flight with miles than it is to pay with cash!
- I usually purchase miles to pay for long haul business class on United and Star Alliance partners. It's generally cheaper that way.
- Its a great way to top off your account balance if you're just short of the amount required for an award trip or upgrade.
- You can buy miles for yourself or another MileagePlus member.
The departure process out of SFO
Having started the day at 3 AM in New York City, I was feeling more than a little relieved when we pushed back from the gate right on time. Nothing is worse than a delayed flight on the last leg home, and I’m happy to report that United was on top of their game here in SFO this afternoon.
Not only that, the weather here in San Francisco was perfect, which isn’t something you’re not always going to get flying in and out of this city. The fog can be a real mofo sometimes.
What is in-flight entertainment like in first class on the United Airlines A319?
The good news is that United Airlines does offer video entertainment in first class on the A319. The bad news is that you’re going to have to use your own device to view it. Which, in the grand scheme of things, isn’t all that bad. United streaming entertainment product is really decent, and I’m thankful that they even offer it in the first place.
It should be noted that United Airlines has recently unveiled an all new interior for their entire fleet of aircraft. These interiors feature video screens at every seat, and I presume that these A319 first class seats will get video screens at some point. I’ll be sure to review this again once that happens.
What kind of food do they serve in United first class on shorter flights?
If you’re flying United first class from San Francisco to San Diego (or another flight of similar length), don’t expect any real food. All we got on this flight was a bag or two of snacks, along with unlimited drinks. Which, if I’m being completely honest, was perfectly fine. I certainly don’t need to be served lobster Thermidor on a one hour flight from the Bay Area to San Diego.
Are United A319 first class seats comfortable?
Ha! It’s all relative I guess. Yes, these old United A319 first class seats are significantly more comfortable than the economy seats in the back. However, compared to other domestic first class seats (such as Alaska Airlines 737 MAX 9 first class), these fall far short. They’re just too upright in my opinion.
And as you might expect, there’s no chance of me adding this to my list of the best domestic first class. Sorry United. Although not terrible, your A319’s still suck.
The arrival into San Diego
At the time of this writing, my flight log tells me that I’ve flown from San Francisco to San Diego exactly 23 times so far. This is a route that I’m very familiar with. I’m not a pilot, but I’m pretty sure that I could steer an airplane between SFO and SAN with my eyes closed.
The sun was just starting to set as we made the final approach in San Diego, which made it all that much better. Arriving into America’s finest city just as the sun goes down is always an amazing thing to see.
Pros and cons of United Airlines A319 first class
Whether or not first class on the United A319 is worth it is completely subjective. If the price is right, it’s certainly a more relaxing and comfortable way to fly compared to economy class. However, in my opinion, it’s totally not worth it if the price makes you flinch – even a little. To help you decide whether or not it’s right for you, here’s a quick list of the pros and cons:
- The first class cabin on the A319 is very intimate. There are only 3 rows of seats in a 2-2 configuration, which means that it’s a fairly quiet environment.
- Fewer passengers also means better (more attentive) service from the cabin crew.
- No, the seats themselves aren’t the most comfortable domestic first class seats that I’ve ever sat in, but they are leaps and bounds better than the economy seats. Even if only for the extra little bit of recline.
- The seats are slightly better than the first class seats of some other United aircraft. For example, anyone familiar with United 737-900/ER first class will immediately recognize how much better the A319 first class seats are.
- Make no mistake about it, the seats have some years on them, and they are scuffed and scratched up just as much as the front seats of the last 20 year old car you were in.
- The lack of video screens at every seat is notable. Yes, streaming video entertainment is available, but you’re going to have to use your own device for that.
- The seats aren’t all that much more comfortable than economy seats if I’m being honest. Therefore, it might be wise to save your money and fly economy instead. Better yet, United 737 MAX 9 Economy Plus (premium economy) features almost the same amount of leg room for a much lower price).
- The fact that the seats are so old means that there’s a much higher probability that the electrical outlets won’t work. I didn’t even try the ones in my row, but they looked a little crusty.
Hey Sanspotter, I was wondering – how long do you post something new on your website?
Hi Bob – my current publishing schedule is at least one (but sometimes two) posts a week.
To be fair, I bet that those first class seats are more comfy than Delta’s A220 first class and AA’s Oasis first class and they look as comfy as what Delta has on their 757s, 737-900s, A319s, A320s, and A321CEOs.
I haven’t yet had the opportunity to try the DL A220 first class seats, but if they are anything like the seats on the A321(CEO), then yeah – these UA seats are a little more squishy for sure. Squishy is a good thing!
Expect DL’s A220 seats to be similar to AA Oasis and Air Canada new donestic business, since those are the Collins MiQ seats like what AA and Air Canada have. the Delta A321 seats, United’s new first class seats, and AA’s older A319 seats (the AA narrowbodies with IFE) are designed by Zodiac ( now Safran), and Alaska Airlines has Recaros
This was a pretty good review, but I preferred the A320 F review due to the snark. I actually wouldn’t mind snarkier reviews on SANspotter.com!
As for UA’s A319 first class product, it looks ok, but not worth the money on short 1/2-hour flights. I agree that Economy Plus is much better bang for the buck, as I’ve found the seats to be sufficiently spacious, and from my experience, the service is (slightly) better and more personalized than regular Y.
I do agree with that you said in your DL A321 F review though, about First Class being much more fun than Economy!
Haha don’t tempt me. I feel like I really need to reign in my snark sometimes, because it’s so natural of for me to find humor / sarcasm in pretty much everything. My airline reviews would be totally off the rails if I didn’t try to keep in all in.
Hopefully United will get it in gear and start updating these planes with the newest domestic first class product! I’m very much looking forward to putting together those reviews.
Haha, ok, I won’t tempt you! To be honest there’s nothing wrong with finding humor in everything, but I get what you mean about your reviews being off the rails, and I guess a little restraint is a good thing.
And yeah, hopefully United starts retrofitting their narrowbodies with the new interior soon! According to the United fleet site, only the 737 MAX 8’s and a handful (less than half) of the MAX 9’s currently have it.
On a happier note, the entire UA widebody fleet (except for the 764’s*) now (finally) has Polaris. Hopefully it won’t take as long to install the new Signature interior!
*Those are currently being retrofitted.
I appreciate your reviews man. Taking a trip at the end of the year for a long vacation and I’m getting picky about my flights as opposed to when I was Younger LoL. i also checked out your YT videos.
Thanks Patrick – glad you’re enjoying the content! Getting pickier is a natural part of aging – I shudder thinking about the kinds of flights I used to get excited about in my younger years. Haha!
Hey SANspotter, did you hear that United finished retrofitting one of their A319s to the new design? Woohoo! It’s only one plane, but it’s a start!
Yeah, and it’s about time too! I’m really looking forward to trying it out. Eventually…
Yeah! At the glacial pace United is going… It’ll seem like forever until all of their narrowbody regional planes are retrofitted! Give ’em like 10 more years…