In the previous article, I wrote about the first part of my trip to France between Montreal and New-York. You will now discover the second part of the itinerary, namely the connection in New York and the flight to Paris on United in first class (Global First).
To learn more about how to set up the itinerary, I invite you to read this article.
New York – Paris on United Global First with Aeroplan
When I got off the flight from Montreal, around 10am, I found myself in Terminal A of Newark Airport (EWR). My next flight leaves at 6pm from Terminal C.
So I choose to go… to Terminal B! Why?
Newark Airport is a hub for United (and Star Alliance airlines in general). United offers several lounges in each terminal, with Terminal C being the largest. But these lounges have a rather bad reputation: often full, with poor quality food.
The Lufthansa lounge is located in Terminal B. And since Lufthansa flights leave New York at the end of the day, I knew I would be safe in this lounge… even though I would have to go through security in Terminal B (and then again in Terminal C at night).
As the flights in Terminal B mainly take off in the evening, I pass through security in less than 5 minutes and quickly find myself at the entrance of the Senator / Business Lounge of Lufthansa.
The entrance to the lounge is divided into two lounges: on the left, the Senator Lounge (reserved for elite Lufthansa and Star Alliance First Class passengers), and on the right, the Business Lounge (Business Class and Star Alliance Gold passengers).
After a check of my boarding pass, I am invited to go to the Senator lounge and choose to sit at a table to work. The traditional Lufthansa First Class rose is present on every table.
In this mid-morning, the proposed buffet is still for lunch, even if alcohol is also offered.
As I had expected, the lounge is deserted in this mid-morning. The 2-3 passengers present at my arrival have gradually left the place and I am now alone for several hours which will allow me to work quietly…
… and take a panoramic photo to give you an idea of the different spaces:
After 6 hours of working efficiently without any noise, it’s time for me to change terminals.
First “disappointment ” when I arrived at terminal C: first class passengers (Global First) do not have a dedicated access to the security lines. Only “Global Services” passengers – who are hand-picked from among United’s most loyal customers – AND traveling on Global First have access to a dedicated line…. empty.
You might as well say that at 4:30 pm, the security lines were full. It took me a good half hour to get through it before arriving at the United lounge.
Second disappointment – well, I thought so: the United show is a real fair. It’s a huge lounge but still seems undersized for all the passengers who have access to it. It is therefore almost impossible to sit down, there are queues to get a carrot or a piece of salad, all this in a deafening din. In short, it was a good thing I had isolated myself at the Lufthansa lounge for most of the day!
So I wouldn’t put any pictures online because at least twenty faces would have been on each one!
However, two things raise the level: the view on the tarmac.
The showers which, to my great surprise, were not occupied. So I was able to enjoy a good shower before boarding my night flight to Paris.
Out of this “hell”, I head for the boarding gate.
Third disappointment: there are certainly “zones” assigned to each passenger to board (1 to 5), but no priority boarding for First Class passengers. It is thus the crowd around the door.
Fortunately, United’s onboard staff raised the bar with quality service. When I arrive at the threshold of the plane, I am accompanied to my seat 2K circled in red:
And here it is in pictures:
It is a chair that transforms into a completely flat bed of 78 inches (1.98 meters) and 22 inches wide (56 cms). Very comfortable sizes for my size.
Here are some details:
There are controls for the television and the adjustment of the chair, electrical outlets, USB, ethernet, audio. With a storage compartment under my passport.
Two huge storage compartments are located on the side: you can put a bag, shoes: a real tote.
A small view of the business class behind us. 4 chairs lined up in the middle? I think only United can do that! This is more like Premium Economy on other airlines (however, here the seats are beds).
The flight attendant brings me the travel kit, which is special during the period of the Olympic Games (United being the official airline of the American Team).
I put the socks on right away!
The menu will then be distributed, accompanied by
a glass of champagne.
It is then time for us to take off, and for my great pleasure, I could observe Manhattan during all the first phase of the climb.
For those interested, here is the menu proposed tonight:
Wishing to sleep quickly, I choose the “executive” formula: all the menu served on the same tray rather than in 3 courses.
The quality was correct… without more. What I particularly appreciated was the speed of the service: 45 minutes after takeoff, I had finished my dinner.
So I tell the flight attendant that I want to take advantage of the “Turndown service”: while I go to the bathroom to brush my teeth, he will prepare my bed with a mattress topper and bring me an additional comforter.
All I have to do now is put my chair in the bed position. I take a picture of the place we fly over at the moment of falling asleep: I still have 5 good hours ahead of me.
And I might as well tell you…. that I slept very well. I simply woke up 4h20 later, on the other side of the Atlantic.
I had asked not to wake up for breakfast… finally I claimed it!
Aside from the pastries that looked like cardboard, the rest was refreshing.
The landing in Paris will be done a few moments later, under the rain.
Traveling in Global First, we are given an “Access 1” card that allows us to pass through customs very quickly! Fortunately, because with the reinforcement of the security controls following the attacks, the traditional line indicated more than 1 hour of waiting!
2 questions were asked to me on Facebook and Instagram which I will answer in detail here and which will summarize my feeling about this flight.
First question from Jean-Sébastien on Facebook:
Is all the time and trouble of having such a long stopover for an otherwise short flight really worth it?
As I explained when I booked my flight, I had two goals for this trip:
- Arrive rested in France, so travel in business or first class
- To let my readers discover a new cabin / company rather than taking Swiss again.
Add to that my obligation to work all day before leaving for France. That’s why I set up my itinerary this way, with a stopover all day in New-York.
Of course, it would have been possible to reduce the stopover considerably, but that would have cut into my work day, which was impossible for me. Or I could have taken a direct flight offered by Air Canada… but it’s an airline I already chose to take on the return flight to, again, show it off… and I refused to pay very high taxes twice!
So to answer the question: in my situation, yes it was worth it. But in other circumstances, I would advise my readers to take Swiss which offers a quality service without overcharging for award tickets offered on Aeroplan.
Second question from Meriem on Instagram:
Feedback? Not look top top the first with United…
It is clearly not a first class at the level of the Gulf airlines, or Lufthansa as I had the opportunity to test recently.
This is more like British Airways First Class which is often referred to as “the best business class”… which is saying something!
The seat was excellent and I have no complaints about the service. However, some details remind us that we are far from a real first class: the champagne served in a plastic cup, the food identical to business class – and rather passable – the non distinction of first class passengers both at the security checkpoints and during boarding.
So you’ll tell me, I pay for my ticket with miles (mostly obtained for free with a credit card bonus) and shouldn’t complain: it’s a
But put yourself in the shoes of my neighbors in First Class who, for the most part, paid more than $8,000 for this same flight. It is normal that they expect a certain exclusivity… that other companies offer (I think of Air France, Emirates, Singapore Airlines or Lufthansa).
In short, in this sense, indeed:“not top top the First with United“. But in my case, for a last minute trip, it fulfilled my conditions: landing at 7am in Paris, not paying a fortune in airport taxes, allowing me to arrive rested in France knowing that the following days were going to be rather difficult for me.
But I would definitely prefer to take other companies & routes in the future.