At NerdWallet, we strive to help you make financial decisions with confidence. To do this, many or all of the products featured here are from our partners. However, this doesn’t influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own.
Note: NerdWallet strongly discourages traveling in the near future while the coronavirus continues to spread. Check the CDC and State Department websites for current guidance and travel restrictions. Please use the content of this article only to help inform future travel plans.
If you want luxury while jetting off across the country or across the world, you should know about business class. United Business fares include a long list of perks and benefits you don’t get with an economy ticket. Read more to learn how United Business class works and how to land a business class seat for your next travel adventure.
What is United Business?
United Business is a premium travel class from United Airlines. This class of service is available for flights between the United States and Latin America or the Caribbean, in addition to some transcontinental flights.
With a business class ticket, you’ll likely have a more comfortable and convenient experience from the check-in counter to baggage claim. Here are the details on what to expect and how to book a flight on United Business.
United Business airport experience
An upgraded experience starts the moment you walk into the airport, as Premier Access amenities are part of being a United Business passenger. Instead of heading to a long check-in line, you’ll go straight to the Premier Access line for the fastest check-in service. If you have any bags to check, you can check up to two standard bags at no additional charge.
Premier Access gets you through the security line swiftly, too — you’ll go through a fast-lane around economy passengers. You’ll also have a Group 1 boarding pass and be among the first to board.
Priority tags tell the baggage handlers to put your bags at the front on the line.
When you deplane on the other side, in addition to being at the front of the plane and getting off first, you’ll get your bags quickly. Premier Access designates that your bags should be among the first to show up at baggage claim.
United Business in-flight experience
In the air, you’ll get a far more luxurious experience in business class than in the back of the plane. Business class features larger, more comfortable seats. The leather chairs come with electrical outlets, in-arm storage space (perfect for books and laptops), a mobile device holder, and a bigger tray table area with room for drinks, your meal and doing a little work or watching a movie at the same time.
Some United flights, including the 767-300 configuration, feature a large section of lie-flat seats.
The routes between these cities offer premium transcontinental service:
- Los Angeles and New York or Newark.
- San Francisco and New York or Newark.
- Boston and San Francisco.
These seats turn into a fully flat bed with six feet of sleeping space and your own 15-inch entertainment video monitor.
Depending on the plane, you’ll get some level of private screening. That means you will be able to use a seatback screen or your personal device to watch shows on your own schedule. Business class also includes complimentary DIRECTV service in the air. Wi-Fi internet still costs extra, however.
Alcoholic beverages are included, as well as premium snacks and meal service, depending on the route. United works with a select group of expert chefs to create unique and enjoyable in-flight meals.
Overall, this is a great way to travel, but it doesn’t come cheap. Here are the ways you can make your way into United Business class for your upcoming trip.
Booking United Business class
Some of the best values for miles and points can come from a premium booking on United. You can book with cash or points, or upgrade your way into United Business.
- Paid fares: The easiest way to fly business class is to pay for a United Business ticket. This may be quite a bit more expensive than an economy fare, so it’s up to you to decide whether it’s worth the added cost.
- United MileagePlus awards: If you have enough miles in your MileagePlus account, you can log in to United to book an award flight in United Business class. While it uses more miles than economy, you often get the best value per mile when booking in a premium class of service.
- United Business upgrades: United MileagePlus elite members, some United credit card holders, and other regular United customers can get into a United Business seat with an upgrade. Some customers qualify for free upgrades because of their status with the airline.
If you’re looking to book an award seat with United, it helps to have a United credit card. Having one linked to your MileagePlus account gives you access to award seats not open to the general public.
Is United Business class worth it?
If you can afford the added luxury of business class, it is a much nicer travel experience. Saving time in lines, enjoying a few complimentary drinks in the air and reclining in a lie-flat seat are all good reasons to choose business class.
Of course, that premium seat comes with an added cost. For many people, that makes business class with any airline a no-go. But if you have the means, United Business class may be completely worthwhile.
How to maximize your rewards
You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2020, including those best for: