Review – United First Class – Vancouver to San Francisco – 737-800

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Our United flight from YVR to SFO was the first of five flights in our ANA error fare business class booking. For some reason, we always seem to book an itinerary with a super early flight out of YVR, and this one was no exception. We headed to the airport at 3am, where it was still pretty quiet.

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United Self check-in kiosks
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United check in signage
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Still quiet at YVR Airport

Vancouver (YVR) -> San Francisco (SFO)
Airline: United Airlines
Flight No: UA618
Aircraft: Boeing 737-800
Date: Monday, September 18, 2017
Scheduled Departure: 6:00 AM
Scheduled Arrival: 8:19 AM
Duration: 2 hrs 19 mins
Class: First

We checked in at one of the self-check kiosks, and proceeded to an agent who helped tag our bags. The bag drop was still closed after we were done, so we waited in a long line for about 15 minutes, until the line started moving.

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United Premier Access
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Checking in
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Line up waiting for bag drop

After passing through security, we spent some time at the Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge in the domestic area. We’ll be sharing a review of that soon. After checking out the lounge, we headed to gate 86 about 15 minutes before scheduled boarding.  Boarding had already begun for First Class and Elite members.

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UA618, one of the earliest flights out of YVR
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Gate 86

United’s First Class cabin on their 737-800 consists of 16 seats in a 2-2 configuration. The seats are recliner seats with 38 inches of pitch and 7.5 degrees recline. A partition and curtain separates the first class cabin from the economy cabin.

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United 737 first class cabin
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United 737 first class cabin
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Divider and curtains between first and economy class

We were seated in seats 3E and 3F. The seat width felt quite wide and there’s plenty of legroom to stretch out. The leather seats were comfortable but definitely showed a bit of age.

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Peterson sat in seat 3E, while I sat in the window seat 3F
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Seat pitch is great

A wrapped blanket was available on the seat as we arrived. The blanket was soft and good quality. I definitely needed it as I was planning to catch up on some sleep, and the cabin was a bit on the cold side.

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Soft blanket provided

Pre-departure beverages were served as we settled in. The choices were between orange juice and water. I opted for the orange juice, while Peterson just had a water.

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Pre-departure beverages served

There is a small personal TV screen attached to the seat in front, which seemed to be showing live television channels. The controls for the TV are on a panel beneath the center console. It’s not one of the detachable ones, but it’s simple enough to use from there. A small storage space is available beneath the console.

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Small personal TV screen

The tray table can be found beneath a flap on the armrest, and folds out to give a pretty large surface area. It seemed a little dirty and had a few stains, but was practical.

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Foldable tray table

We pushed back on time at 6am, and had a fast taxi to runway 08L, where we were cleared for takeoff immediately.

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Dimmed cabin
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Cruising towards San Francisco

Breakfast was served shortly into the flight. It consisted of fresh fruit, a blueberry muffin, and a coffee. It was a nice, light breakfast to start off the day!

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Fresh fruits, muffin, and coffee for breakfast
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I was excited for the start of the trip, but I was definitely super sleepy!
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Browsing live TV channels on the IFE
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Watching the air show on the IFE
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Beautiful landscape on our way down to SFO

Before we knew it, we were already making our approach into San Francisco. After landing, we had a 20 minute wait on the ramp as our gate was still occupied.

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Taxiing to the gate, past plenty of United aircraft

In Summary:

This was a short, straight-forward hop down to San Francisco, so there’s not a whole lot to comment on. The timing of the flight is early out of YVR, but is perfect for any onward connections from SFO. The seats, while showing some age, are perfectly comfortable and spacious enough for the 2 hour flight. Having the option to have a light breakfast is great, or you can simply skip the meal to catch up on some sleep.

Check out our video trip report of this flight on our YouTube channel!

For short domestic trips like this one, how do you choose to fly? Please let us know in the comments below. For regular trip reports, updates, and flight/hotel reviews, subscribe to our newsletter.

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Alvin is an aviation geek, enthusiast photographer, and software developer with a goal of exploring the world. He uses mileage programs to redeem premium flight travel, and shares his experiences here on OneMoreWeekToGo.

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