I’m on a roll now! I’ve been flying a lot of domestic US first class recently (mostly stuff I’ve never reviewed before) and I just added another one to my list: United Airlines A320 first class. I know. I’m surprised I haven’t flown it before either.
The good news is that the first class experience on the United A320 is fantastically similar to what you would get on other domestically-configured aircraft in the United fleet. The bad news is that… It’s fantastically similar.
Anyway, the following is what I experienced on a 1 hour and 19 minute flight from San Diego to San Francisco. Please attempt to reel in your excitement before proceeding.
San Diego, CA (SAN) – San Francisco, CA (SFO)
Tuesday, July 19, 2022
Duration: 1 hour 19 minutes
Seat: 3A (First Class)
Table of Contents
My full review of United A320 first class from San Diego to San Francisco
If you read my United A319 first class review, this is going to seem awfully similar. The seats on the A320 are exactly the same, and my thoughts on seat comfort and in-flight service won’t be much different. Gee…I really know how to sell an airline review, don’t I?
Arrival at Terminal 2 West at the San Diego International Airport
In an effort to show you images that are different from what you saw in my recent United 737-900 first class review, I decided to enter the airport from the arrivals level (as opposed to the departures level). I mean, there’s only so many unique angles of the entrance to this airport, and it’s getting harder and harder for me to do it differently every time.
The boarding process for flight number 1107 to San Francisco
The thing that I don’t like about flying from San Diego to San Francisco in the early morning is the higher probability of delays. SFO is notoriously foggy all year round, and you almost have to expect a delayed flight. Thankfully, they started the boarding process right on time, and I was feeling good about getting to San Francisco exactly when they said I would (according to my itinerary).
My first impressions of United A320 first class
Of all the current domestic first class configurations in the United fleet at the moment, I prefer the Airbus aircraft. The older 737s have a completely different seat design, which are really showing their age. Be sure to read my review of United 737-800 first class to see what I mean. It ain’t pretty.
The first class seats on the A320 and A319 are basic – but similar to what you’ll see in first class on the 737 MAX 9 (and that’s a good thing). For now anyway. There’s an all-new United domestic first class product coming soon, which I’m very much looking forward to.
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 out of San Diego
It was really looking like it was going to be an on-time departure from San Diego this morning. We pushed back a couple minutes early, and I was feeling really good about having a nice (comfortably lengthy) layover at SFO.
Just as re-reached the threshold to runway 27, the Captain pulled us over into the bullpen and informed us that we would be sitting in this spot for 45 minutes (at least). ****! Apparently there was runway maintenance going on at SFO. Why they didn’t tell us this before we boarded the plane I have no idea.
I have a hunch that most people like to see video screens at every seat in an airline review. Especially a first class review! I get it. However, since I’ve already told you what you can expect in this review, you were no doubt prepared for the lack of video screens in these seats. That said, first class in-flight entertainment on the United A320 is still decent with the complementary streaming Wi-Fi.
It’s also worth noting that text messaging is free. If you want to browse the actual Internet, that will come at an additional cost ($8 for MileagePlus members, $10 for everyone else).
United Airlines (just like all the other US airlines) serves hot meals in first class on flights 2 1/2 hours in length and longer. Since this flight from San Diego to San Francisco today clocked in at just 1 hour and 19 minutes, all we got were snacks. Actually, all we got was drinks. We were supposed to get snacks, but the flight attendant never came by with a snack basket. The hell?
Yeah, but how comfortable are the seats?
I don’t really have much to say about seat comfort here in United A320 first class other than what I’ve already said in other recent reviews. In summary, these seats are absolutely fine for short hops like this from SAN to SFO. I’d sure hate to do a 5 hour transcontinental flight one of these bad boys though. Reclining the seat does absolutely nothing to increase comfort.
The worst part about the experience is that no body part will be spared from potential suffering. Even your eyes might even get extremely tired if you’re watching movies and TV shows on your phone for the entire duration of the flight.
The arrival into San Francisco
Arriving into the San Francisco International Airport from the south is always a simple process. There’s no twisting and turning, and it’s pretty much a straight shot right into runway 28R. Honestly, I can’t think of another time in my life that I’ve landed on any other runway at SFO. No matter what the weather is like, arrivals have always been on the 28’s.
Pros and cons of United Airlines A320 first class
I’m not going to lie. First class on the United Airlines A320 was so similar to my other domestic United first class experiences that I essentially wrote this review on auto pilot. I really felt like I was repeating myself on so much of this – which, thinking back on it, is both a good thing and a bad thing. This pros and cons list will explain why:
- If you’re the kind of person who hates surprises (assuming you’re familiar with other United airlines first class products), A320 first class is your jam. It’s not all that different from what you would experience on any other domestically configured aircraft in the UA fleet.
- There are only three rows of first class on the United A320, so you won’t have to wait long for drinks and snacks if you’re seated in the last row.
- As a person who has a fear of rubbing elbows with complete strangers, I really like the wide armrests between the seats.
- The seats are extremely basic. Not only that, they are showing their age with lots of scuffs and scrapes.
- Leg room is fairly tight by domestic US first class standards. If you’re in the window seat, there’s no way in hell that you’re going to be able to squeeze by the person in the aisle seat to get up and use the lavatory. Unless you know that person very well, that is.
- Although the first class seats on the A320 are wide with decent leg room, I can’t say that they are all that much more comfortable than the economy class seats. Both are equally firm with limited recline.
- The seats are ugly. This is a completely subjective con, I know, but I’m just telling you how I see it.